Number nine, number nine, number nine...

As the title suggests, there are only NINE days left until SPX. Keeping up with my promise I made yesterday, here is the next blog post in our countdown to Bethesda!

The series Kyle O'Connell and I have been working on for, wow...a whole year now, has continued to grow. We are just finishing up Half Asleep Volume 3 of what will be an 8-part series. In case you haven't had a chance to check it out, here's the synopsis: It's about this girl named Ivy Lassette who at the age of 11 is the youngest student enrolled at the elite college, Ebony-Alerca. Ivy’s studies focus on Hypnology, an experimental discipline that teaches students how to access and inhabit their dream worlds with the same conscious control they experience in waking reality. Ivy’s world-renown and highly demanding professor also happens to be her mother, Dr. Michelle Lassette. Follow Ivy and Dr. Lassette as they navigate the layers of existence attempting to understand the world, each other, and themselves.

Volume 1 is available in my Store for purchase, and Volume 2 will be joining it shortly however we sold out of Volume 2 SO FAST that I was never able to take the "Coming Soon" sign down from the page (a blessing and a curse, I know). But if you are making the trek out to SPX, you'll be able to get all THREE volumes from me in person and even a little drawing if you want.

You read correctly, Volume 3 will be debuting at SPX in a mere 9 days. Volume 3 has been a whirlwind and quite possibly was the fast volume to create yet. It is 44 pages of comics and begins with a spectacular dream sequence. I don't want to talk too much about what happens within the pages of volume 3 but I do want to talk a little bit about process.

Volume 3 began on July 14th. Well technically, it began much earlier than that as Kyle had completed the script for volume 3 on March 30th. With some minor rewrites it was ready to begin thumbnailing around May 30th (exact date is not noted). BUT penciling for this volume, I can confidently say, began on July 14th. I just got back from teaching a summer workshop in Vermont and then hit the drawing board running with my eyes on the SPX prize.

I pencil extremely loose and listen to a LOT of dance music while I'm doing it. Part of this I feel is that it keeps me moving, keeps me from getting bored and keeps my lines from "dying" on the page. If I labor over something too hard, it often loses its life.

On August 1st, I finished penciling, wiped down my table, and set up all my inking supplies. Part of what made this volume move so quickly was I had my spectacular intern at my disposal this summer. All the "x"s you see on these pages, she would go through and cover those areas with solid black. We call this process "spotting blacks." It saved me a lot of time to have someone else helping me out. Not only did she spot my blacks, but she also had measured and ruled out all my pages ahead of time (for penciling) which let me just get down to work. I hate measuring and she did a great job! It was win-win!

Our star character getting in trouble but also a close up on the areas that Corianne would fill in later.

A trick I use when I have to make a large crowd scene or big group of background characters is that I like to fill in my crowds with people I know. Friends have called this my "treasure hunt style" and I think that y'all enjoy it. It's nice to be looking at a friend's comic book and say "hey wait! that's me!" plus I view it as adding in another layer of care and investment on my end. It also helps me from making everyone look exactly the same. Keeps me thinking about diversity.

Once all the inking is done, I move on to the watercolor pages. This volume has 9 full watercolor pages and a little something extra I'm not going to mention. I'm not going to lie to you, dear readers, I'm a fast, FAST cartoonist. I pencil roughly 3-5 pages a day and ink 2-3 pages a day--this is at a pretty leisurely pace. Watercolor pages S L O W M E D O W N. I can do, at MOST, 2 watercolor pages a day. That is if I get up at 6am, am starting painting by 6:30am and stay up till about 11pm or 11:30pm. That is an insane day. So more often than not I'm working on the covers at the same time as the watercolors since watercolor, in its unique form, needs time to dry or you get a big ol' mess.

I'm going to save talking about our unique covers for another post. Hope you've enjoyed this long and detailed process post about Volume 3 of Half Asleep. See you tomorrow!

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