Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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Have you signed up for this year's Mpls. 24-hour Comic Day event?

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Executive summary

Nutshell: Take no more than 24 hours to draw 24 pages of comics.

It's a dare and a creative exercise. It won't be your best comic, but it will be among your longest comics.

You are not supposed to think of an idea beforehand.

Some bring a randomizer tool to ensure the idea will be thought up that day. (For example: Pick seven random words from a dictionary -- put them all in your comic's plot.)

You can prepare your materials beforehand. You can line boxes onto your paper and such.

Wet Paint of St. Paul will have a store there for the first few hours, so you can fill in materials you forgot to bring.

Consider working smaller than you usually do. 24 pages is a lot of ground to cover in 24 hours.

Minneapolis version is at MCBA and starts a 9 a.m. Saturday morning. Come a little early to get there before the starting bell.

Spending 24 hours in one place can be difficult. Bring snacks, beverages, personal entertainment/distraction devices, a cushion for sitting, a toothbrush.

Bring snacks for others, if you wish. There'll be a table or two to hold community snack items.

MCBA has a wifi network. It's better than nothing, but there are ever-more computers showing up at the event, and that seems to slow down the wifi.

There are not many outlets. If you are bringing lots of electronic companions, consider bringing a power strip.

Many people finish by the 17-hour mark (2 or 3 in the morning) and go home. That's okay. Many people quit before finishing. That's okay, too.

We're all in the room together, but except for pizza time, it's not really a chit-chatty, loud-music social event. Words of encouragement, however are always welcome.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kevin Cannon's Tips for Surviving Twenty-Four Hour Comic Day

You wanna finish your 24 pages? Read this. Kevin Cannon's very sensible production suggestions.

Obviously there's no one way to draw, but here are one man's tips:

- Have your paper ready and, if possible, pre-ruled.

- Come prepared with drawing materials.

- Come with a list of things you want to buy from the Wet Paint booth (it's only open for a few hours). At the same time, let Tim (the owner) know what kinds of materials you want him to stock for cartoonists.

- Bring a lamp and extension cord for direct light.

- Pace yourself. You have to carve out time for meals and bathroom breaks.

- Try doing a page every fifty minutes. That gives you 240 minutes to rest and recoup and eat.

- If you're chatty, you're shooting yourself in the foot. Don't be surprised when you end up with only 20-30 minutes to draw each page.

- Some people like to pencil the whole book and THEN ink. I HIGHLY discourage this. Try to COMPLETE a full page every hour. This lets you accurately budget your time.

- Do as little penciling as possible. Nobody's going to win an Eisner with these books, so why not jump into the inks right away?

- Bring comfort items: extra clothes, an iPod, a cushion, etc. Better to bring too much stuff on your first time.

- On the flipside, don't bring a bunch of unnecessary crap. Things are going to be tight this year and space -- especially table space -- will be at a premium.

- Wait until you get home to erase.

You will get distraught and tired and want to quit. Some tips on surviving the full 24:

- Split the day into chunks. I like to think of the day as 3 8-hour shifts.

- Set goals for yourself. "When I finish 12 pages I'm going to gorge on cookies and walk around the block."

- Listen to your body, it's going to tell you when you should eat and drink. Avoid caffeine if you can help it.

- If you're a coffee addict, only drink coffee in the mornings. That is, drink up Saturday morning, but then not again until Sunday at dawn. This will keep you on an even keel and it will give you a reason to push hard during the wee hours.

- Imagine people who are not as fortunate as you. When it's four a.m. and you want to die, think about some guy out there who's working the third shift at a dirty, poorly-lit machine shop. Drawing comics doesn't seem so bad now, does it?

- Keep an eye on someone who's better than you. Watch their progress and use their success for inspiration. Ask for tips. Tell them how much you like their comic.

- Keep an eye on someone who's worse than you. Man, wouldn't it be embarrassing if THAT person finished the full twenty-four hours and YOU wimped out? Yep, time to keep drawing.

- Don't drink alcohol. You'll feel sluggish the rest of the event. Limit your drug intake to stimulants.

- Bring a lamp and extension cord. Bright, direct light will keep your rods and cones all fired up and give you more energy.

- Change your environment when you feel restless. This could mean physically moving your spot, putting on some headphones, or even putting on a clean shirt.

- Document your progress. Take photos, give interviews, blog.

- Tell your family and friends to check the 24-hour comic day blog (the one you're reading right now). You'll be more apt to keep working if you know that your Aunt in Dubuque is going to check the blog before she goes to church on Sunday morning.

I started drawing "Far Arden" as a series of 24-hour drawing marathons. After my fifth straight monthly marathon I woke up to a numb drawing hand. The numbness extended from my fingers to my elbow and lasted for two days. I was freaked out at first, but then angry. Angry atmyself because this situation was completely avoidable:

- Keep your drawing hand and arm loose. Catch yourself if you're gripping your pen too hard.
- Put padding on your drawing tool. I bought some colorful elementary school foam pencil holders at OfficeMax. They look retarded but feel great.

- Shake out your arm once an hour. Stretch your fingers, flex your elbow, massage your meaty palms, etc.

- Eat often and eat healthy. That crap-filled candy bar you ate at Hour 2? It's going to start tearing at your stomach lining during Hour 17.

- Drink lots of water. More water than soda, anyway.

- Help out your immune system by downing some echinacea. Do this by taking a multi-vitamin or drinking a "Green Machine" Naked Juice.

- Keep it fresh: bring a toothbrush/paste, deodorant, clean socks, whatever.

- Take a walk in the fresh air. Get your heart-rate up once in a while.

- No sleepy, no drivey.

And a relevant question from last year's blog posting:

diana green said...

A question for Zen Master Cannon:
I did this last year at MCAD, but only finished 11 pages in 14 hours. This is partially because I was a wuss, and partially because I was working full size on 11 x 17 Bristol.
What size do folks usually work on the Challenge? Does it matter?
Sep 20, 2009 6:10:00 PM

kevin said...

Diana -- People work at all sizes (I've seen quarter-page size all the way up to huge sheets of bristol). But more often than not, the large sheets end up being a burden, or at least result in small page counts. I HIGHLY recommend working small, like half-page size. Try a page or two at home and see what you can comfortably finish in 50 minutes. --Kevin
Sep 20, 2009 9:34:00 PM

Friday, September 9, 2011

Facebook event page for 2011

Add your name to the attendees on the Mpls 24-hour Comic Day page on Facebook.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Poster/logo design for Mpls. 24-hour Comic Day

Carlos Merino has designed the logo for this year's 24-hour Comic Day. Carlos has captured the unstoppable, inevitable passing of time that all 24-hour Comic Day participants at -- oh, say 2:30 a.m.