One of the best pieces of advice that I’ve ever seen for writers is this quote by Joe Chiappetta. Chiappetta is a graphic novelist with a style that is loose and a little messy. He is also extremely prolific. Being willing to take chances has paid off for him.
I’ll admit that I hesitated to sign up for the graphic novel course that I’m currently taking. I want to write them. I do NOT want to illustrate them and this class requires us to do some drawing. Still, what could it hurt to try?
The idea that I’m playing with isn’t for a full-blown graphic novel but single or double panel comics. The focus is on creativity and cats. I’m calling it The Mews. Obviously, if I’m going to pull this off, I have to draw a cat.
Both of my cats are black and I thought this would be pretty clever. Nothing is harder to photograph than a black cat. When I wrote for Young Equestrian, I thought horses were hard to photograph because nine photos out of ten are a horse making a ridiculous face. Then I started trying to photograph my black cat. Black cats absorb light like nothing else so all you get in the photo is a cat-shaped, black blob.
A creative muse is also an unpredictable, difficult thing. What better way to portray a muse than with a black cat?
But cleverness can be its own punishment. Because now I have to draw my ink black cat. For my first attempt, I inked Sleeping Mews 1. Not half bad. I like the way the white ink stands out against the black. But what if it isn’t the best way to do it? After all, my Mews will often have open eyes.
For my second attempt, I decided to give my muse bright green eyes and add detail with grey vs white. I was unimpressed with the overall effect you see in Hiding Mews 1. I probably should have quit with my first drawing!
What if I duplicated Hiding Mews with white ink? That led to Hiding Mews 2. I like that a little better, but I still don’t like the eyes. And I got the shape of the face wrong. Newton, this particular muse, is a 15 pound male with a square head.
Discouraged, I went back to the sleeping cat. Maybe I could use grey ink and detail with black lines. Thus I created Sleeping Mews 2. Nope.
I’m not sure what Chiappetti would say about my various attempts. Of them all, I like Sleeping Mews 1 the best. But I’m glad I tried several other approaches. I can’t defend the one that I end up using if I haven’t tried anything else.
Now, to figure out how to capture cat eyes.