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Journals by alexandrasalas


Journals by Mist-Howler

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Submitted on
February 18, 2013


20,869 (1 today)
106 (who?)
  • Mood: Love
Part 1, The Next Three Years Of My Life:…

Part 2, Sell That Damn Book, Danny:…

Part 3, I Was Not Ready For This:…

Part 4, Objective: Character and Story Building:…



The first thing I had to do was create a sample. What would the pages look like? What is a Killbook?

In the story, before Gabriel breaks out of Level-9, he is introduced to an "Agent-O, a character that gives Gabriel the documents needed to begin this revenge quest. Inside of the documents are bios and information on all of the characters Gabriel will meet/team-up with/or kill.

Well, I didn't just want to show boring documents, I wanted to add life to it. So I came up with the idea of presenting it as Gabriel's scrapbook, as if he was putting it together for a publisher to then design a book out of it.

It would be sloppy, messy, unorganized. Blood would be here or there, little notes by Gabriel and so forth. I did a few rough versions of what I wanted it to feel like. Tried new approaches, different design schemes.

But the idea that stuck with me the most was purely: a pissed off bounty hunter, buying a bunch of art supplies, and sitting at home making his own little book.

That's where the voice and personality came in. The book was no longer just documents, it was turning into a world building device.

I pitched the idea to Stephan, asking: "What if you could discover all of the X-Men before you read Issue 1? You get a behind the scenes look at WHAT they can do, WHO they are, and HOW they were created. That way, fans have their favorites and get giddy the moment that character is shown or mentioned."

The goal was not to create a glorified tease book. Give the audience enough of a reason to enjoy and get into the world, and allow them full coverage on every character there is.

I then pulled myself away from the computer.

How do I go about that? I now have 43 characters or so, some painted, some sketched, some roughed, some written. I didn't know all of their back stories yet, nor did I know where they were headed in the universe.

I started creating outlines, and let me tell you, those were a life saver.

First, a Table of Contents. I had to have SOME path that I was following, otherwise this would get messy. Once I was confident with that, I then had to determine who WOULD and who WOULDN'T be in the book. I had to cut some good characters, but those will be saved for later. The ones that I did spare, they then went through the rendering process.

I go at designing characters a different way, and I find it to be a lot more helpful. I used to write who I wanted to see first, but then that became too forced.

I'd go for a lot of walks, listen to music and just zone the hell out. I always trust my gut, so I would just ask myself "What do you want to see?"

Well, I love sharks. I love robots. I love zombies. I love samurais. I love sci-fi, cyberpunk, fantasy and action. I love girls.

Then the characters started forming from simple ideas. Mostly visual thoughts. I still remember where I came up with Hex. Was walking down Lincoln, in Santa Monica, listening to the Thin Red Line soundtrack, and it just hit me. "A man with a glass body, with the universe trapped inside. I think that'd be cool."

When I had a good enough thought of what I wanted to draw, once again, having no backstory for them, I then went to the drawing board.

After months of rendering out these characters, I began developing the story while doing so. Adding simple details added great background history.

For example, The Father, a redneck mercenary/bounty hunter, had a string of ears around his neck. I just thought it'd be gross/goofy, but when I wrote the backstory it became part of his quest to becoming who he was, and those that damned him. Also plays an important role in the series, and a very violent 'flashback'.

Or Abaddon's lust for a religious cult of assassins.

Abel's hip-hop fame and success story.

Noa's crossed out police department logo on her armor, as she's gone renegade.

Tons of little things I designed on them, allowed me to venture more into the history of who these people were. And once I had that, I wrote them up one by one.

Now, this played an even larger part in the actual book, as each one of these 40-sum characters had a two page spread, explaining and showing who they were. And now with a full backstory, and art, I knew my character like the back of my hand and was able to add even more details, faux advertisements, weapon bios, character sheets, and more to those pages.

At this point, I was feeling very confident with what I had. But then one day, it hit me pretty hard.

What if this entire thing is just a big dumb idea? What if people don't like this? What if the approach is wrong? I've never done this before, what am I doing?  

And that's where the stress and self doubt came in. And I still had two years to go.

(Cont. Part 6:…
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MrPryminista Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013  Professional Artist
Looking forward to part 6!
Elias-Shamir Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Wow man, all this stuff really makes me wish I would have found out about your stuff sooner so I could have gotten myself a copy of LMS, heh.

Keep it going!
DanLuVisiArt Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Reprints coming soon :)
Elias-Shamir Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Nice! You're the man(like you didn't know)!
HellionAngel Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013
I would like to inform you that I nearly killed myself on chocolate milk as I read the line about a pissed off bounty hunter going for art supplies, because all I could think of was Gabriel calmly contemplating the merits of yellow versus pink post-its, a trail of blood spatters following him down the aisle and the unlucky bastard who drew the short straw and has been elected to clean that shit up while he's still there.

Dude, I'm incredibly impressed with what you've done from a small idea and how hard you worked at it. I can't even imagine the sheer amount of hours that went into putting together a story and characters and a world and trying to make it a good one. I've never really managed to get past the idea stage and into the actual bones of figuring out how to make it work.

Especially with the ADD thing, considering that is a royal pain in my fucking ass every now and then. So, while I don't know how you deal with it, I have some idea and that gets some serious respect from me. (I know that's part one, but I just burned through all five sections and therefore, my comments are in one nifty little post with as minimal amounts of rambling as I can manage.)

Looking forward to seeing the rest of it.
DemiTheChipmunk Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You have given me so much inspiration. It is so great to see someone who is actually being successful with something they love. It really gives inspiration out there to those who just can't see the light. Thank you and keep up the amazing work!
Hax09 Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow ! Reading your journal has become an after work routine for me. Thank you for posting this. I always find myself more intrigued by the behind-the-scenes story. I'll never look at your art the same way again without thinking back to the struggles you went through creating it all. Please keep it coming. The self doubt chapter is one everyone wants to read. Mainly for the solution you used to overcome it. :D
YanareKu Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Man, all the blood, sweat, tears, and worries pouring into this book. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

I can only hope to follow in your footsteps one day. The road sounds hard, but also like the end result is extremely gratifying: you created a whole universe and got to share it with countless people who want to enjoy it with you.
HazardousArts Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013  Professional Artist
Loving this story man :)
fca182 Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013
This is like my new life bible now.
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