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So I haven’t announced this widely, because I much prefer drawing to communicating with the outside world, but one: I was going to release book 1 (the first 70 pages of the 500ish page novel) in October, but then I bumped up the due date to November, because holy shit this is a lot of work for someone who’s on state insurance. I mean, I literally can’t afford to put in the hours on this to make my October date. C’est la vie.

Water Study: Pastel Pencil and gouache on Black Paper by Dannika Rose

Water Study:  by Dannika Rose

Luckily, I’ve pulled on my sister, Dannika Rose Sullivan to help me with the coloring.

It’s pretty lucky that I have two really talented siblings, because it would be pretty hard to find someone so skilled that has the kind of taste I can trust. She’s also a portrait artist, so eventually, I think I’ll be able to hand off a lot of the “acting” to her. Particularly with Kaya, I think, as her face is well suited to Dannika’s habits.

Dannika is primarily a traditional artist, so she’s playing a little bit of catch-up on the technical side, which isn’t a huge deal. She’s got a good eye, so a weird tool just slows her down. Doesn’t really ultimately change the output. She’ll get faster.

Notes to Dannika on Panel

In the meantime, I’m learning how to communicate with another artist. You might notice some of my unfinished pages have some weird notes on them. I think those are only going to get more in depth. So that’ll probably be fun for you all.

When I’m drawing on my own, I can usually feel out what my intention was for a page, even if it’s been a long time since I worked on it. After all, I’ve been walking in these characters’ shoes for almost two years.

Heck, I still haven’t let Dannika read the full script. Should really do that… the second half is just such a mess… I kinda don’t want anyone to read it yet. I’ll just let her see the outline. Reading the script might give her the idea that it’s going to be something really melodramatic and awful. Ugh. It needs more layers. Real people don’t like life to be extreme. They work hard to keep things normal as long as possible. Act 4’s a little too much “PVRIS” and not enough “Yep I’m the Toaster“.


What I mean to say is this. I need to be a better director. Take this panel. The first image here is Dannika’s coloring, and the second is the edits I made.

Now don’t get me wrong, Dan did a stellar job. I’m guessing a lot of you didn’t actually see the difference between the two at first. I particularly love the shine she put on his shoulder. Very slick. Exactly like what you’d expect from someone who loves drawing water (we definitely have that in common.)

I messed up a little bit when I gave this to her. The only note I gave her was to play closer to “fear” than to anger. I should have told her a few things:

One, that both the first and second sneering muscles are actually active. I know that when that triangularis muscle is active on Jesse, and he’s avoiding eye-contact, nine times out of ten he’s repressing… well the second sneering muscle will probably be active too. We’ll just say that.

More importantly, I should have told her the real purpose of the panel. This is Jesse failing to control himself. The point is, above everything else, that his hands are shaking. It’s not played up as much as it could be. I could have focused in on his hands again. I’m using repetition to establish this instead of framing it like that though, because tragedy is a close up, and I’m not about that. Gets too intense.

Also, I might start trying to use slight shifts in line weight to differentiate between Jesse’s ears and his hair. You can see she missed the left ear. Which I totally get, because the lines on that ear weren’t entirely closed. I would have recognized that, but that’s only because I’ve drawn his stick out ears hundreds of times now.

Now that I’m looking at this I kinda want to… no. NO. Bad. No more edits. This page is good enough. There are still 18 more to go before you can release this. Get those in a workable state, self, if you want to go tweaking minor things like that. We’ve got like, all of act one to make sure the audience knows when and how much his hands shake. That’s more than enough time for something simple like that.

Self, if you want to redo something, figure out a better way to do these panels. These are dumb.

I only did it this way because I was scared I was laying it on a bit thick, pushing Jesse around all the time. But now I don’t really care. It is what it is. Got to establish the norm for Jesse. The Norm McSnakearm, that is. Ha.

Oh… that’s me-time, isn’t it? The guy with the snake arm, his name is Norm McSnakearm.

Yeah, I need this panel sequence to be a little more threatening. My posing game was weak on this page.

There, I did it. I posted an update. I probably makes no sense, and that’s fine.