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photo: The gang of artists

Working diligently with the city of Somerville, Hub Comics created an excellent work environment. I finished 20 pages of “Blank Spot”, my most focused 24 Hour Comic Book in over two years.

This was a huge improvement over last year's attempt, when I was too unfocused to produce. Back then, I lived in Union Square for a few months. The fun parts of my new neighborhood were still too distracting. Today, after living here for over a year, my attitude was more "been there, done that". Being immune to the distractions allowed me to concentrate on the job at hand. I never left Hub Comics. With the exception of stretching, bathroom breaks and the occasional conversation, I stayed in my seat and drew.

Art Materials

Another element was my new comfort with traditional media tools. Since last year, I taught "Art of the Comic Book" and drew 2 short comic book stories ("School Fight!" and Lucky Seven") with ink on paper. Ditching my complicated digital art process, "Blank Spot" was rendered as:

  • 7.5" x 10.75" live area on 9" x 12" sketch paper
  • Speedball Super Black India Ink
  • Short-handle round #4 sable brush
  • Ruling pen (borders)
  • Speedball nib #512 (straight lines, details)
  • Speedball C6 and B5 (lettering)
  • Ames Lettering Guide (setting 3.5 default)

Some of my local colleagues think using an Ames Guide for a 24-hour comic is a bit much. Perhaps they're right, but I really wanted to test my new C6 nibs. Using straight lines, solid blacks and the Ames guide probably stopped me from completing 24 pages. The process did, however, create an extremely readable 20 pages. Of this, I'm extremely proud.

I strongly recommend drawing on thick bristol paper instead of thin sketchbook paper. The physical act of erasing the pencils almost ripped every one of my pages!

photo: David Marshall working on pages 7 and 8

Me on pages 7 and 8. Photo by James Wellborn

Samantha Distraction

Faced with the possibility of watching me draw for 24 hours, my girlfriend decided to visit her friend Rebekah instead. I asked them to burst into Hub Comics on Saturday night. Like a pair of Lady GaGas, they'd taunt us by wearing next-to-nothing and stinking of alcohol saying "Wish we were having as much fun as you boys are! Oh well, ta-tahhh...!" Sadly, they found better things to do than acting out my "Last Temptation of Christ" scenario. The first part of the story is loosely based on this crushing defeat.

Blank Spot: The Story PDF Story | Landing Page

Following the rules, I walked in without a plan. I also swore not to look anything up, trying to keep the pen moving and work from my inner "House of Ideas". But what happens when that house has been ransacked, condemned or abandoned?

The first result is a page of me talking to readers who couldn't possibly care less about my though process. Thankfully, this time-tested stall tactic is only on the first page. The rest of the story moves along at a pretty good clip. I'm especially proud of the "real vs. drawing" banter, my childhood "blanket snakes" nightmare, the Ditkoverse path to Ball Nut Avenue (Sammy's name for any path to Somerville's Ball Square) and the Planet of Kung Fu Fighting (Sam's favorite song on my iPod).

With four pages left, I didn't get the chance to finish the story. There's no connection to the story title or the coffee cup on page one. If my schedule allows, I'd like to create a second finished version -- 4 pages in 4 consecutive hours, once again without a plan.

The Ohio State University Cartoon Library & Museum PDF Submission Form | Official Website

The official repository for the hard copy archives of 24 Hour Comics Day. The archives are currently unprocessed; they hope to make the collection available on their website soon.

Conclusion: What Did We Learn Today?

  • Focus is good
  • Union Square Somerville is a great neighborhood
  • Working with traditional drawing tools was faster than using the digital tools
  • C6 lettering nibs are terrific
  • Thicker paper is essential
  • Lady and Lady GaGa would've wrecked the event
  • Sam was the inspiration for 7 out of 20 pages (I knew that kid would earn his keep someday!)
  • Turn in your comic!

Thanks for reading. Goodnight and good luck.


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