Developing hobo city
Writing and drawing a graphic novel is a long and involved process. Its similar to the creative process of a movie or a play because it requires a script. A movie script is like a hyper condensed novel, it has dialogue and narration pared down to fit the length of the scenes, and all physical description becomes skeletal information to be interpreted by directors, producers and designers when it comes to creating the sets and filming the actors. A graphic novel has the same kind of skeleton, but time is measured in still compositions laid out in sequence, dialogue takes up space; and the actors, their costumes, their expressions, and the setting they’re in all comes from the imagination of one artist.
In the case of Hobo City, the script for Volume 1 has taken about a year to complete, along with the full panel layout representing the 106 pages of art that will follow in the production phase. Prior to writing the script there were rougher stages of notes, outlines, and storyboards to work out the scenes that would be included, as well as the story arc of the world in general that will eventually fill out a series of volumes. However, the process didn’t start just one or two years ago. Some of the characters were originally created over 20 years prior, and the art of worldbuilding around a few core characters happened sporadically, as I dreamed up strange scenarios meant for one-off performance art pieces, claymation battles, half baked novel chapters, and earlier attempts at making comics. Some of these characters have been reinvented several times, becoming more mature as I continue to turn them over in my mind.
During the period of writing the script I never stopped drawing, so as to keep my chops and simultaneously develop the updated visual style intended for this new iteration of the Hobo City world. Here is a selection of some recent character development tests. Follow @hobo_city on Instagram for my ongoing sketchbook practice.