Let’s start off with a bit of a sneak peak. Who are these two?
Ok, the BIG NEWS that I need to share with everyone is that as of last Friday, I have finished off the interior art for THE ARROW OF TIME. The image above is a sneak peek of the inks for the last page that was left to do. This is kind of a super big deal (at least for me) and I’m excited that I’ve finally reached this goal.
(this maybe happened when I finished off the last page…)
To think that it’s taken me five and a half years to complete this book is kind of crazy. But at the same time, it’s awesome that from here on out, the story is completed and everything connects and comes to an end. There will be no delays in posting new pages and everything should just keep rolling.
All in all, over the five and half years it took to finish off THE ARROW OF TIME, I worked on a bunch of other On the Verge stories, including: SHADOWS, THE JUMPER, THE INTERVIEW, TALL TALES & VISITATIONS, SWARM, LIFE ON THE EDGE and MISSING as well as GONE, CODA, THE NIGHTLY SHOW INTERVIEW, three stories that got incorporated into THE ARROW OF TIME. All told, I’ve completed 457 pages of art, plus covers and pinups and other comics like THE SISTERS, ANDREW JACKSON IN SPACE #1 and UNLAWFUL GOOD. So it’s been a pretty successful five years or so and I’m happy with that output.
So what’s next?
Well this is the big question. I’ve learned A TON from working on this project and I’m going to be applying that as I move forward.
- The very first thing that I’ll be doing is focusing on smaller stories. This is one of the tips that I’ve seen from Moebius (after I started work on THE ARROW OF TIME mind you) and I think it’s awesome advice:
#15 At the beginning of an artist’s career, he should principally involve himself in the creation of very high quality short stories. He has a better chance (than with long format stories) of successfully completing them, while maintaining a high standard of quality. It will also be easier to place them in a book or sell them to a publisher.
So smaller stories it is. And to me, smaller stories means a little bit shorter, a little more planned out and little tighter (as in having dialogue and stuff worked out before I start drawing).
But why do this moving forward? Well to be honest, THE ARROW OF TIME is a big story and it was designed to be that from the very beginning. But because it’s a big story, it took quite a bit of time to work through and develop, not to mention draw, colour and letter. I wanted a big sprawling story but it also grew in the telling and that just added to the time required to finish it.
After five and half years, I have a pretty good idea of how many pages I can draw in a given year and it’s somewhere between 100-150 (realistically). So the idea is to really focus on smaller stories that are somewhere in that range so that I can complete a full story in a shorter amount of time. My hope is that this will really help keep the momentum going and I’ll be able to really churn out full stories. Looking back, I would really have several months where I could focus my energies on comics and I could do two or maybe three chapters before life got in the way and I wasn’t able to do as much. So knowing that, I’m going to try to apply this knowledge going forward.
- The next big thing that I’ll be changing is to not colour pages. Honestly, this shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone who’s been following along during this whole process as the colouring part just sucked the life out things. I’d be pumping out finished pages and then have to break to colour them all and it just killed the momentum. I mean I really really like how the finished pages of THE ARROW OF TIME look, but the actual time it took to colour those pages was just too much in the end. To be honest, I can get more story and pages done if I don’t colour them and that’s the most important thing to me right now. Plus, I’ve really been focusing on black & white inked work and I really do like how my art has evolved over the past year and I want to keep focusing on that. So outside of covers and pinups, colour is out for now. We’ll see how that goes.
- This leads me to the next thing on my “to do” list: ANDREW JACKSON IN SPACE #2. As you all know, I worked on the first issue last year and it’s been a wait to get to the second issue. Brian got me the script back around the end of January and it’s been sitting there waiting for me since then. Now with THE ARROW OF TIME pretty much wrapped up, I’m going to dig in and start drawing. So this kind of what I’ll being doing within the week hopefully.
- I have also been developing a completely new comic story for the past couple of years and I plan on really investing some time in character design and stuff before I get to work on actually drawing the story. The script is a good ways along at this point and my goal is to really finalize the script over the next month or two so that when I get all the designs done, I can really just sit down and draw the whole thing, start-to-finish. I’ll have lots more to share and I’ll be devoting time over the next little bit to getting some art done. I’m super excited to get going on this one because it’s been on the back burner for a while now, and I’m hoping you guys like it. Stay tuned!
- The third thing that currently on my plate is getting some covers drawn and designed for THE ARROW OF TIME. Now that I’ve got all of the story and interior art done, I really want to focus on what to actually do with this thing. I mean it’s great that it’s done, but now what, right? Anyway, I’m thinking of releasing each chapter as an individual issue and eventually collecting everything into a final “graphic novel” (or two). So to get that process started, I need to do some covers. This is not a new idea for me – I actually had notes from a couple of years ago that pretty much fleshed out what I wanted to do, I’m just finally getting around to it. Anyway, keep an eye out for some #lunchtimedrawing over the next little bit as I develop these.
All this being said, don’t worry, I have tons more OTV stories to tell and I’ve got a bunch roughed out already. I just really need to set aside some time to figure which I want to do next. I mean I have some time while THE ARROW OF TIME runs, but I’d still like to get to some of the other story ideas that I’ve come up with and have something ready to go once the current story ends.
The other thing to share with everyone is that I completely overhauled and updated my main jsnsmith.com website at the start of the year. This was no small update and it’s something that I’d been slowly working on for about 6 months. I was really waiting until I was done with THE ARROW OF TIME before I mentioned anything here because I have a bit of a larger plan at work.
One of the things that I have realized over the past couple of years – and really since I started working on “other” comics besides OTV (UNLAWFUL GOOD, ANDREW JACKSON and THE SISTERS) – is that this site (my OTV site) really wasn’t the place for that other stuff. Now I have talked about and shared some of that work here, but it never really “fit” since it wasn’t OTV related. Plus, now that I’m doing quite a bit of comics work, it made sense to really address that on my main jsnsmith.com site since I didn’t really feature much of my comics work there.
Now back when I was starting this OTV project, one of the bits of wisdom that was shared was to go out and get your own domain name for your comic. I never did this – even though I always kind of meant to. I didn’t because I wasn’t sure how long I’d be doing OTV, if it would work out and it just seemed like an investment that wasn’t worth it at the time.
Anyway, this has actually turned into a good thing at this point! Now that I’ll have multiple stories, I’ll be able to house them all on my main site and then direct people to the right content from there. It probably makes the most sense long-term.
Moving forward, my plan is to post all OTV related content here on this OTV site (just like I always have). But over on my main site (jsnsmith.com), I’m going to post everything that I do, including all my OTV stuff. So if I have other comics projects or design work or tutorials, it’s the place to go. In fact, I’ve already started this. So if you’re just here for OTV, then no worries as I’ll continue posting the content here and you can read along like you always have. But, if you like me and my art and want to follow the new stuff that I’m developing, then head on over to jsnsmith.com and follow along on my blog there.
And that’s it. So I’ve got a lot in the works as I always seem to do but I feel like I’m making some good progress. THE ARROW OF TIME is really rolling along with the pages that are currently posting and it just keeps going. So while I may in fact be done with the story (a good thing for everyone reading), I still have lots of OTV stuff on the go.
Thanks for sticking with me for five and a half years and let’s see what the next bunch of years brings.