Sunday, October 21, 2007

That's Brad!

I just noticed that I managed to capture Brad in the snapshot I took of myself two posts below. Look past my left shoulder. That's Brad in the background. He's the owner of Austin Books and Comics who I've mentioned several times throughout this blog.


Well, I finished. But I guess that may depend on your definition of finished.

Let me first apologize for the lack of webcam. I was really disappointed about that. It would have been fun to see me wigging out at 3am.

The wireless internet was working when I first got there. Well, mostly working. I was seeing low signal strength and my connection was dropped a couple of times. When more people showed up and started connecting, the connection dropped for good.

If you logged on to check me out and didn't find me, that's why. Sorry.

So... the effort was much more difficult than I anticipated. Between 1:00-5:00 AM I had a really tough time. I was feeling horribly tired and I was also feeling light headed and dizzy. I'm not sure why that was. I've pulled all-nighters for one reason or another plenty of times. I've never had a sick feeling like that before.

Ask Danny (who showed up at 4am to help keep my spirits up). At about 5:00 AM I almost vomited. I went outside and dry heaved. But I did feel a little better after that.

In addition to feeling horribly tired and nauseous, I was also feeling a lot of pain in my back and neck. My muscles were so stiff and sore.

It was really tough to keep going at midnight when I was so miserable and realizing that I was only half way finished. What kept me going was the thought of Jill and the kids, who were looking forward to a finished comic. Especially after their visit at 7pm when they read the first 8 pages.

The story was, of course, about Anna and Grant. After reading the first 8 pages, which ended with the appearance of the dragon, they were very excited to read the rest of the story. I told Anna she would have magic and Grant would be a knight.

So not to disappoint, I managed to struggle through one hour at a time.

I'll post the full comic when I get it back. Participants are required to turn their work in to be scanned and submitted. I'll get the original back after Brad scans it.

The story is basically about Anna and Grant getting lost in a maze that suddenly appears at the comic book store. The maze leads them to a village where they meet a man and woman who tell Anna that she must become the Magical Princess and Grant must become the Valiant Knight and together they must defeat the Evil Dragon.

Of course, they do. They then attempt to leave the maze and find their parents. But they discover that they are still in the maze. It's a perfect setup for issue #2. :)

My drawings are awful. I can't draw people. The comic is filled with ridiculous drawings of Anna, Grant, and other people who look like deformed aliens. Even my dragon looks ridiculous; it looks more like a cross between a seagull and a bat than a dragon.

While working on page 2 I had a mini nervous breakdown. My drawings were taking forever... and they were awful. I realized I was never going to finish. I started panicking; I was sweating, nervous, and cussing to myself.

By page 4, I accepted the fact that my drawings were going to suck and I decided that I wanted to end up with a full 24 page story, even if the drawings sucked.

I got into a mode where I was doing a page an hour. After 10 pages, my drawings were so lame that I was finishing a page in about 40 minutes and then resting before starting the next page. After about 18 pages I was two hours ahead of schedule and my drawings were even more lame.

I finished ahead of schedule at about 9am. Jill showed up with the kids shortly after I finished. We left at about 9:30.

Most people ink over their raw pencil drawings. I never got to inking. So the whole comic is raw pencil sketches only. I could have used my remaining 3 hours to start inking, but it would not have been enough time to ink all 24 pages. I decided I preferred no ink to partial ink. With no ink, it looks like I just went with that style. If I inked it partially, it would have looked like I didn't finish.

I did ink the lines around each frame, to give the comic a little organization. But I didn't ink any of my drawings.

I have a few more comments, but I'll make those in separate posts.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I'm here

Not counting the organizer, I was the first one to show up. We got here at about 11:00 AM. Jill and the kids dropped me off. I have the webcam set up. Here's a picture of me.

Do I look as "Why am I doing this!?" as I feel?

The wireless internet connection appears to be working, although it did drop out once for about 30 seconds.

I'm going to go eat my breakfast tacos and then get my pencils all lined up.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Screen name

It has been brought to my attention that I have invited people to check me out via video chat during the event without divulging my screen name. Sorry.

My Yahoo Messenger screen name is: sdzurenko

I have previously chatted with two parties while both simultaneously viewed my video. So I think anyone who drops me a chat message will be able to view me. I'm not sure if audio will work. The last time I tried doing video chat with someone, we couldn't get the audio to work.

The Thumb

Last Saturday night at Octoberfest, Danny and I were dueling on one of those air filled attractions where you face your opponent standing on pedestals and pound each other with padded staffs. Danny did most of the pounding.

On one of my many falls, I hyper-extended my thumb. It was pretty sore for a couple days. It's mostly ok now. It only hurts when I do things like.... oh, I don't know...


The last two days at work, I haven't been able to write more than a few lines before my thumb just starts killing me. I have to write in this awkward fashion where I hold the pencil between my index finger and middle finger without using my thumb at all.

That should make for an interesting 24 hours.

24 Pages

I stopped by the art store this afternoon. I picked up various drawing supplies. I found a sketch pad that I liked. 14"x17" sheets. The pad contains 24 sheets of paper.

The comic must be a minimum of 24 pages. I only bought one pad.

Was that too bold? Or just plain stupid?

Should I get a second pad, just in case?

Finally, some information!

I finally received an email from Austin Books and Comics (ABC) with some real information about the event. Here are a couple key bits of interest:


Visitors are allowed at any time. However, after regular museum hours visitors must have their names on the gate guard's visitors list. I have submitted the following list:

Danny Lufkin
Patricia Hoover
Jill Douglass
Anna Dzurenko
Grant Dzurenko

If you are not on that last but would like to be, please let me know.

Wireless Internet

Wireless internet access will be available. I plan to have my laptop with me with the webcam pointed at me. I'll be using Yahoo Messenger. I also have iChat, which supports AOL Instant Messenger, but Yahoo seems to have better video support.

You can drop me a chat message at any time and check me out on the video. Feel free to send me short messages, but don't expect me to have lots of spare time to chat at length.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Trying not to plan ahead

It's really hard not to plan ahead. The idea of the 24 Hour Comic is not only to draw it in 24 hours, but to also come up with the story and write the story in 24 hours. That's really the hard part. Anyone who can draw can draw 24 pages in 24 hours. But to also come up with a half-way interesting story in that time... that's an all-together different challenge.

I find myself thinking about ideas throughout my days. I have to keep stopping myself.

I don't know yet exactly what my story will be, but I do have some general ideas.

Grant asked if I would make a comic for him. I told him yes, I would make a comic for him and Anna. So right there, that starts to narrow my options. It has to be a G or PG comic. (Which is probably fine since I don't draw naked women very well.) It also needs to be something which Anna and Grant will find interesting.

I've also had the thought that I'd like to involve dragons. I like dragons. Anna likes dragons. Grant likes dragons. Who doesn't like dragons!?

So there you have it. It's going to be somewhat oriented towards kids and it will have at least one dragon. Is that considered planning the story ahead? I don't think so. I don't have any of the basic story line.

I also find myself catching things throughout the day that I might be able to use in my story. Either Grant or Anna will say something and I'll suddenly think "Oh, I can use that."

I don't want to plan my story ahead of time. I want to face the challenge honestly. It's just that it's so prevalent on my mind that it's hard not to think of some ideas on some level.

Random Ideas

Many of my fans have been wondering where I went. I'm still here and still preparing for the big day, less than a week away. I was out of town on business all week, which kept me a bit busy.

I haven't received any further information from Austin Books and Comics (ABC) about the event. I just sent an email to Brad (the owner of ABC) with some questions. I am hoping to keep a webcam going for the entire event, so all my fans can check on me at any time. But I don't know if we'll have access to the internet.

I do know that the event will be held at the Laguna Gloria location of the Austin Museum of Arts. I've never been there, but it looks cool.

For my local fans, the event starts at noon on Saturday and ends at noon on Sunday. You are welcome to swing by and visit during the museum's normal business hours, which appear to be 11-4 daily. I'll let you know if there will be special visiting hours for the 24 Hour Comic event.

Ok, so a few random ideas...

I plan to buy large format drawing paper. So that I can draw the outline of a regular 8.5x11 inch page in the center and use the outer edges for sketching ideas and making story notes. At the end, I'll just cut out the center.

I need to start making a list of things to bring. Here's a start:

laptop computer
earphones for music
a pair of my shop ear protection - for drowning out all other sounds
pencil sharpener
food and drink

I'm not sure what type of pencil and pen to use. I need to swing by an art store and try to remember what I used to use when I actually did art.

As for coloring. I probably won't get that far, but I wanted to plan for it just in case. I thought it would be kind of cool to do coloring in crayon. Pastels would also be cool. Kind of minimalist, at least compared to real inking.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


So I’ve been thinking about exhaustion. More specifically how exhausted I’m expecting to become during the event.

I made a painting for my sister a few years ago as a wedding gift. It was a 4’x5’ countryside scene from a photo Jill and I took on our honeymoon in Spain. It took me two weekends to finish the painting. Each day I pretty much worked for 16 hours non-stop. (See, I decided at the last minute to do the painting and was pretty much forced to finish it in two weekends.)

I think those 4 days were the most exhausting days in my life, including the days I’ve run marathons. After spending 16 hours standing in front of the canvas, creating, I was wiped out. In every sense. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. It was a unique feeling.

I was physically exhausted from standing over the canvas for so long. I was mentally exhausted from the detailed and technical process of painting. I was emotionally exhausted from the feeling and care that I poured into the creation.

Anyway, not to wax philosophic, but I’m expecting the same sort of exhaustion from the 24 Hour Comic event. Actually, I’m expecting it to be much worse. I think the creation will be far more demanding and, of course, required to be finished in less time.

I was thinking that maybe the physical exhaustion won’t be too bad, as I’ll be sitting for the whole day. But as anyone who sits at a desk all day or has driven long road trips will surely attest to, even sitting in one spot, in one position, for 24 hours can be exhausting in its own right.

I’m definitely expecting complete mental and emotional exhaustion.

It’s going to be tough.