Monday, October 22, 2012


I survived 24 Hour Comics Day - my first ever. And I am really not completely sure how I handled it so well mentally. I was never really tired for the whole 24 hours (tried to sleep, but couldn't), had only 1/6 cup of coffee (I do not drink coffee), and finished my 24 pages in 22 hours, well before the deadline. Saint Yaktopher must have been smiling upon me. The more I read about other artists' struggles, the more weirded out I am. Uhhhhh. How did I do this?

But. There are some things that I think helped fuel my success.

1) A cooler full of food. Nutritious food. I brought yogurt, trail mix, snow peas, goldfish crackers, cranberry juice, a Bolthouse Farms protein shake, green tea, string cheese, apples, and bananas. A few fellow artists said that their main downfall, besides inherited sleepiness, was the Taco Bell they brought. That must have been unpleasant. I basically kept shoving snacks into my face the whole time and so I never got hungry.

2) Arrange your sleep schedule beforehand, if you can. The day before, I took an extra afternoon nap and went to bed as late as I could so I could wake up at noon or later to feel charged by the 6 p.m. start time. Of course, this is easier to do if you're an unemployed slob like me. I also "fasted" and didn't draw for the 3 days beforehand, just to build up my mojo.

3) A page an hour. That's what you need to do. suggests sketching for 15 minutes and drawing for 30 minutes out of every hour, leaving the other 15 minutes for breaks, meals, proofing, stretching, and attempting to shake off those RMIs. Seriously do not fuss about details or making it look completely realistic and amazing. You are not Jack Kirby... and even if Jack Kirby was participating in 24HCD, his work might not look like Jack Kirby. It's not wussing out to use a single broad Micron pen and do it in just black and white on 8.5x11" copy paper. Having a clock in sight is a really helpful reminder, too; try to keep just ahead of that hour mark. If you can squeeze a page into 30 minutes, that's even better. See #6.

4) A support person. My husband helped me set up and came to visit me around 2 a.m., and again at 11 a.m. to see me through to the end. He was able to come back with stuff I needed or had forgotten, and kept up my morale.

5) Headphones and enough MP3s to easily last the whole time and then some. It's even better if this is on a smartphone. (I don't have a smartphone, so I borrowed one.) I had easy access to Google images, which saved my bacon on at least a dozen occasions. You wouldn't know it because apparently I cannot draw lions to save my life, despite references. But like I said... details. No fussy-fussy.

6) Know when to employ artistic tricks that will save you time. A full page spread can break up the story and create an illusion of elapsed time - a breath of fresh air. Also, busting out of frames periodically will save you from doing backgrounds. Silhouettes are another big help. This all, too, displays your prowess with the comic form.

Hugh the elephant wants to be a pirate.
Breaking the 4th wall let me be creative and tongue-in-cheek in telling the story.
It was a lot of fun.

So that's about it for now. I hope to post the whole thing on my site as soon as I can withstand scanning, cropping, and color-correcting 24 pages... and submit it to the 24 Hour Comics collection at Ohio State University! What an awesome event.

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