The people of the Ponju “Piggy Farm” online community of webcomic artists, writers and fans (of which I’m a member) has recently started a comic book anthology project. The end product is a book the size of most American graphic novels you’d see in Borders nowadays, but maybe thicker. Instead of one long comic book story, it’ll contain a collection of short comics each created by a different team of people who are members of the community. That includes me.
For the past few days, I was heavily preoccupied with my contribution to the project: a short comic about a violinist busker who lives in the Victorian-era Melbourne. Well, that’s the plan, at least. I’m still working out the details. Nothing is set in stone yet so the setting and the way the story flows might still change.
Now, I don’t want to spoil the story for you so I wouldn’t be saying anymore about the story. I can show you some of the sketch studies I’ve been doing though (click thumbnails to view the larger image):
I don’t own a violin and I’ve never played a violin. So, I had to spend quite some time looking for violin and violinist photo references. At first, I had a hard time drawing a decent looking violin. Eventually, I figured out a technique to help me draw a passable violin from any angle easily. By passable, I mean that the violin wouldn’t look wrong even in the eyes of somebody who is not a violinist.
I’ve shown this sketch to friends of mine who play the violin and they said that, apart from the violin being a bit on the small side, it looks quite believable as a violin. But, to get some more knowledge about violins, I visited the local music shop to hold it my hands and get a feel for it. And now, I’ve also been listening to a lot of violin and fiddle music.
I’ve numbered the images so that I can reference them easily here. Okay, #1 shows what the heroine of the story will look like. It’s not the final design but it’ll be something like that. #3 (yes, #3, since I drew that first) is my first try at drawing a dress for her. It wasn’t based off any reference material I have so it’s historically inaccurate. I’ve just thrown things in there that I like such as the low neckline, the outer corset and the leather arm braces. But, no, I’m not going with this design, even though my brother loves this one.
#2 was the next design I came up with based on some old photos in the books I have in my collection. I wasn’t too happy with it so I continued to look for other dresses to base the design from. #5 (yeah, I drew this before #4) was based off actual Victorian-era photos but it looks so stiff. So, “un-fun”. Like a strict teacher’s uniform, somebody told me.
That leaves design #4 which I’m actually favouring for the final dress design. This dress was based on clothes worn in towns around Melbourne during the 1800s so it should be appropriate for the ear and setting. I’m thinking of embellishing it some more with ribbons or scarves so that when she dances, there’d be something that I can draw the swishes around her to imply motion.
Anyway, this is why I haven’t been able to blog a lot lately.