The Main Character

A shaky sketch of a woman wearing a miniskirt and with a short straight bobl

I mentioned when I put up my first character sketch post that I’d drawn some comics in the past. My main influences regarding comics are European comics, mainly things like the sort of stuff that appeared in Heavy Metal when I was a kid. I’m especially fond of Enki Bilal and Guido Crepax. Later, I was heavily influenced by the alternative American comics that came out in the eighties, Los Bros, Bagge, Clowes among others. There are quite a few others I admire from George Herriman to R. Crumb. One characteristic that many of the things I like have in common is that they are created by a single person, or by two close collaborators, as opposed to being a commercial, corporate product.

The downside of this particular art form is that it is extremely time-consuming. One person is doing what would be the jobs of five or six people if it were a superhero comic produced by one of the two big comic book publishers. So, I haven’t drawn any stories in a long time because, when I think of the amount of work it will take to draw even a short one, I change my mind.

Plotting has always been my weak spot when writing, whether we’re talking about comics or prose. So, when I had an idea for a story, complete with a promising seeming plot, I thought to myself that I should try to make something of this. Since it’s something of a dystopian futuristic story, I decided that a visual medium like comics would be better than prose.

Strangely, I’m getting hung up on the characters, which is usually my strong point. Usually, when I write things, I have engaging interesting characters – that do nothing. When I draw, they often look interesting, too. Now, I finally have a damned plot, and I’m struggling to figure out what the characters are like. One, I have, but she’s a secondary character. The big obstacle is that I can’t figure out what my main character looks like. I keep making sketches, hoping that something will strike me. I feel like I need to take a walk around a university campus and look at eighteen year old girls. Maybe I’ll do that today. I hope no one thinks I’m a creep.

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