I made the shortlist for Lilla Rogers Studio Global Talent Search! Fifty great artists got to create a new work, a page out of a graphic novel which was such a cool challenge! I used to make comics when I was younger but what would I like to do now? Those questions and more answered this week. The top pic is my entry but keep scrolling to see how the magic went down!
How it went down: We were given the props below as the inspiration so when you see the 50 different entries, you'll also see a lot of stories with similar characters and this is why. The gallery will be open for public voting Wednesday, July 25th to Monday, July 30th closing for voting at 9am PDT / 12 noon EDT / 5pm BST on Monday, July 30th).
My first drawings and ideas start below. I let the rest of the story sort of fill in as I made the drawings. I tell myself all sorts of stories as I draw. Is this normal? Who cares?!
My first idea for a story was about Mary Jones, a lover of green green moss and her dream to go to Johns Hopkins University. The two people in the picture then naturally became Mary and John. No love affair, purely dreams born of passion for moss and Victorian era professionality.
I did of course think about a love story featuring the male protagonist as Julias Von Shtickler and gifts of perfume, moccassins and sweet meats (spelled here as "Sweet Meets" which prompted me to play with words a little.
I thought about Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things, a book I'd read a few years ago basically about a girl who is interested in science and grows up to study moss in Philadelphia. Then I thought about Elizabeth Gilbert and listened to her talk about the story. Then I listened to a few episodes of her podcast about creativity and writing. Then I drew my characters playing music and painting, Then I painted this moth chart and played some more with ideas of how I can flesh out and fit all of this story onto one page in 9 days in technicolor.
I thought more about the props and the story I wanted to tell. How could I make a story about moss interesting? I had to think out of the box. Literally. Even though most graphic novels are set in boxes. Did they have to be? I started to look at images and found an old photo from when Buffalo lived wild all across the American planes. I loved the arc. I loved the idea of setting the story in the Old West since I am working in New Mexico this summer! So now I have a story about a girl who lived in the Old West who loved either moss or moths. And there were going to be buffalo. And music and painting.
My final story was an organic flow playing with words and characters. I thought about how fun it would be to do a graphic novel collection about Women in Science who made a difference. I found out about Margaretta Hare Morris a woman who became America's first woman entomologist respected by the likes of Charles Darwin. She also lived in Philadelphia her whole life (as did Liz Gilbert's moss lover) but she never left PA. So I bent her story to mine and made it about a girl who had grown up on a ranch, loved moths but was misunderstood. Not only does the name Margaretta Hare Moss alliterate well with the words "moss" and "moth" but conceptually tackled the idea of the hairbrush prop with her middle name.
It gave me the chance to draw all kinds of things I loved: animals hiding in plain site, starry nights of discovery, old times lettering. I got to try my hand at breaking some rules and creating a page that flowed organically. I wanted to tell a story of big dreams, passion and perseverance in the colors of the landscape I love. With a bit more time, I might clean up some places and create spaces where the eye could rest more. I'd play more with the lettering, make it a bit less packed in, but all in all what an experience to have made this in a week!
Don't forget to vote for your favorite 5 here, and thank you in advance if one of them is me!