But you can't start creating a comic until you
have something you want to write about.
First consider, do you want to write a script
that's purely entertainment, or do you have some serious thoughts, and
or, knowledge you want to share with the world? Maybe you want to blend
your preaching with your entertainment. Whatever your goal, you always
have to start with...
I can't exactly recall when, but in the early half of 2008 an old lady
came into the shop where I was working. She showed me a birthday card
that she had bought and was planning on giving to her granddaughter.
She then went on to tell me a poem that she had written, which she intended
to put inside the card. I told her it reminded me of Lewis Carroll's
"Jabberwocky." Then to my surprise she began reciting the
Jabberwocky. I thought about how my generation relates so much to Alice
in Wonderland, and despite the book being over 100 years old, I had
not thought about it as being something that older people would enjoy,
and it really shocked me to hear this surreal poem coming from her lips.
I imagined her as a little girl, some 70 years beforehand, and I realized
that the poem was just as fresh today as it had been back then. It was
as timeless and youthful as the lady herself. To quote Mark Twain, "Age
is mind over Matter, if you don't mind, it doesn't matter." - By
the way, this doesn't mean I have a thing for 80 year old women. I'm
a happily married man. :)
Around the same time that this happened I had
been putting together a mix of rock music, and thinking about what rock
music actually was. Or whether it made any difference if you added a,
“roll” after it or added words like “grunge,”
“glam” or “psychedelic” before it, and although
I was very aware of all the changes that it had been through over the
years, I came to the conclusion that in the end, it all meant the same
thing. A rock song from 1955 had the same spirit and energy as a rock
song from 2008. Rock’n’roll, no matter where, when or how,
is about youth and energy, and that spirit can be with you no matter
how old you are. And so I created Anny, a 60 year old lady, who has
been trapped inside a teenage girls body ever since the dawn of rock’n’roll.
She’s my way of representing that energy in a visual manifestation…
with weird hair.
I went back to an old idea I had doodled
in a sketchbook, about a vampire girl who thought that drinking blood
was gross, but decided I would attach an obsession with rock'n'roll
to her. She then suddenly stopped moaning about drinking blood. Her
predicament now, was that she loved humans so much that she just couldn’t
bring herself round to hurting them. It was humans, after all, that
had written all her favourite songs. I wanted her to look cute and youthful,
but not soft. The first thing that came to mind was Sonic the Hedgehog,
so the spikes were born. She also needed a look that was simple and
iconic, so I looked to the biggest cartoon icon in history and based
her features and colours on Mickey Mouse. The two circular pigtails
were inspired by his ears.
When I put together Annyseed's world I just went with feelings,
I thought about fictional worlds that I would like to visit and spend
some time in. Ones that were fun and pleasant, but had a little threat
too. I drew inspiration from Jim Henson's "Labyrinth" and
"Fraggle Rock," Jeff Smith's "Bone," Tor Jansson’s
"Moomins" J.K Rowling's "Harry Potter," and Lewis
Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" to name a few of the more
prominent ones. Nothing should ever be directly taken from someone else’s
work by the way, that’s a real shit thing to do. It’s all
about emotional value, not content. Taking content is stealing.
I wanted the Annyseed world to be real in some respect, a place that
a reader could jump in and walk around. So I decided to make 3D models
of the main locations for personal reference. That way, the Annyseed
universe would have a tangible quality, like the "Simpsons"
as appose to say, "Ren and Stimpy," which has a more surreal,
constantly changing environment. Springfield does shift around a little,
but the locations themselves are quite solid.
I lay on the sofa and told my wife, Tasha,
everything I wanted to put into it, in a stream of consciousness. Doing
this helps me brainstorm, because Tash really gets into it too and gives
me 2 new ideas for every one I throw at her. Thanks hun. Credit where
credits due.- She came up with loads of the Puzzlechin stuff.
I think it took about half an hour to come up with the story's main
backbone. This is always very loose at first, but I then put together
a chain of events which helps me come up with more details. This usually
takes a good few days, then after that it’s the script and page
Writing the script
Is where you get to do half your acting as a
comic creator, the other half is drawing the characters movements and
facial expressions. I write the script by playing out the scenes in
my head and imagining what the characters would say and how they would
react to what needs to happen in the scene, for the scene to move forward.
For example - Coldsteem needs to remind Charlotte that he wants to speak
to her in his office. Not finding an appropriate time to do this, he
has to speak to her whilst she is with her friends. So he approaches
her fairly awkwardly. Now, Coldsteem is going to be a little embarrassed
about this, and so is Charlotte, so they are going to be quite abrupt
and to the point with each other. We don’t want her friends to
notice all this tension however, for plot reasons, so we have to distract
them a little. So now they become more concerned with Coldsteems looks,
or whether or not he has caught them smoking or not. By thinking about
what needs to happen you roll the story along, and by thinking about
how characters would react to this you are keeping their acting genuine
enough to be believable.