As some of you know I have been plugging away at a new black and white comic zine about Anxiety. I haven't been posting a lot of the illustrations I have been working on for this on facebook or twitter, so I figured it was time I update you.
After completing my very first zine (also about anxiety), ANXIOUS, I was ready to keep drawing and keep improving. I guess art is like that, as soon as you finish something you are overcome with hatred for it and just want to create something BETTER. I am extremely proud of ANXIOUS, but I see all of the things I would do differently every time I read it.
Here are some of the things I will be doing better for zine #2
For ANXIOUS I wanted to hand write all of the text, because I thought it was important to have my fingerprints on everything. I never get to see everyone's interesting writing anymore because we're all frantically typing away, and I thought it would be more personal if I wrote everything with my tablet pen. Unfortunately I was doing everything in photoshop, and the words came out a bit blurry and sad. AND wonky. Very wonky. I have a tendency to write on an extreme slant when using my tablet, and it took a lot of editing to make the text in ANXIOUS at all legible. It really limited how much text was in the zine, because I couldn't write huge paragraphs without it being unreadable.
SO for zine #2 I experimented with a number of handwriting fonts, but it all felt too impersonal and cold, and when I looked at it all I could see was the writing of someone else explaining my very personal experiences. Luckily my friend Cal swooped in and showed me how to convert my writing to a font that I could type out, which I knew was possible but never knew was SO EASY. I used Myscriptfont.com and it worked perfectly.
Because of my new brianneburnell font, I am able to have a lot more text in the zine, and it doesn't take a zillion years to get it in there. This means MORE COMICS less full page illustrations. The Americano comic in ANXIOUS was my favourite page and I decided zine #2 should have a lot more content like that. The pizza comic below shows the new font, and one of the many comics.
Zine #2 will be 32 pages, while ANXIOUS was only 20. Maybe I had just seen all of the images so often that flipping through ANXIOUS felt really short, or maybe it was really short. All I know is when I got to the end I felt like it was over too soon. There were also some things I couldn't explain fully in ANXIOUS because of the page limitations I had originally set, so that left it with a lot of one page comics/illustrations. Zine #2 will have more double page comics and at least one 3-page comic.
Everyone who knows me knows I have always, and will always, find the humour in having anxiety. You can't survive it if you don't laugh at yourself and your life. Plus laughing is good for you. ANXIOUS had some really sad pages that I found really hard to draw. And after I did draw them I wanted to curl up in bed forever. I know that people do really connect with the sad, personal stuff, and I do love connecting with people, but I don't like portraying my life that way because a lot of times it is really awesome and crazy and silly and not sad. Zine #2 will have more humour because I think my experience with anxiety is funnier than I portrayed in ANXIOUS. There will still be some sad stuff though.
I was still majorly experimenting when I worked on ANXIOUS, and although I am still experimenting now (and forever) I think I have found a style that I can use consistently throughout zine #2. It also helps that everything is black and white in zine #2 and I don't have to worry about making cohesive colour choices throughout.
ALSO, I would like to mention two artists who have really inspired me with this zine.
Firstly, Hyperbole and a Half, which I have always loved, published the best book ever. I begged Eric to buy it for me for Christmas, and then read the whole thing in one sitting. It is the funniest book ever, and Allie is really great at explaining things in comic form, the funny and the sad. She also colour coded the pages, which you can see on the side of the pages, so each story is a different colour which made it really easy to find each story.
Secondly, OYSTERFACE. I ordered this super intricate black and white zine on Etsy, and it came all the from Australia and went straight into my heart. The artist, Ben Constantine, is seriously talented. This zine definitely showed me that black and white doesn't have to be blocky and boring, it can be so intricate and beautiful! I turn to this zine when I miss working with colour and need to be inspired again. You can read the entire thing here.
I am aiming to have this zine complete in the next 2 weeks. I have 15 of the 32 pages remaining. I am currently stuck on one specific illustration and it is driving me crazy! Anyway, thanks for reading my long-winded update and I hope now you want to go make cool things.