Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Fright Before Christmas

I thought I'd share the behind-the-scenes for another of my comic/picture books that is a perfect gift for the season!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away...  I started working on a warped version of The Night Before Christmas...

The text of the original story says, "And Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap, had just settle our brains for a long winter nap..." AAAAAHHH! Who would settle their brains... except maybe Frankenstein's Monster, right?

So I reinterpreted the text with the story taking place in the Monsters' world - and Our Santa accidentally stumbling into Their Santa - because the Monster world must have it's own Santa. And the books always show Santa riding off into a full moon - so Their Santa MUST be a werewolf!!

Seriously, the whole story makes MUCH more sense when you re-read it and keep this in mind. Monster Santa.

These next two pieces were from my first version of the story as a picture book. They're colored pencils on black paper.

When I redid it last year, I was still thinking of it as a picture book - I redrew it with full page images and was thinking of using color. Limited to red, green, and purple.

 But then I started thinking of it more as a comic. A mini-graphic novel. Probably because I was in Comic School at the time... The story broke up into more action. Some dialog. Multiple panels...

I kept redrawing and my classmates would suggest things (or question my sanity and sense of humor...)

Once I finally started drawing the actual artwork, I decided to stick with all black and white and to use ballpoint pen as I was doing with my journal comics.

 These are the thumbnails for four pages from the original (picture book) version - the brains being "settled" and the eight tiny reindeer scenes...

 and the following images show the same scenes as they were redrawn and rendered for the comic...

 The blue pencil sketch for Brains...

 and the ballpoint pen (inked) final page...

And this is the tiny reindeer scene (inked)...

Which I redrew to make it clearer that there were TWO sleds, hence TWO Santas! Agh - why was that such a hard concept for people? And the Big Sled was obviously the monster sled - it's a HEARSE! And those large, clawed footprints...?

I had intended to hand-letter the whole comic...

That intention did not last long. I found font that would look like Frank had written the whole story himself. And I only lettered the special titles and the dialog balloons.

I had a lot of fun drawing the Monster Santa (who treats Our Santa like a toy - stuffing him into a stocking). And his sleigh is just SO COOL!

For the cover, I looked at really old versions of the original book - most were called "A Visit from Saint Nicholas." I also played with the idea of die-cutting castle-shaped slip-covers!!!! Ooooooo!

When I came to my senses, I decided to try and mimic the old-time, "classic" feel of one of the original covers - in the background of the next picture...

I imitated the lettering and had to make up (guess) what some of the letters would look like. I turned most of the holly, into bats. And St. Nicholas was exposed to the full moon.

You can see the progression for the drawing from the inspiration and the image just starting to be inked to the image above, with all the lettering finished, to the image below - completed.

I scanned the art as well as some old paper and a book cloth spine, layered them together in Photoshop, and colorized it with an antique, watercolor-y feel.

For the inside title page, I re-purposed the cover art and added Frank's hand and pen writing the story...

Which continues onto the first page of the book, where Frank finishes writing the events that occurred. 

Which no one would believe. Really. Who would ever believe a tiny human Santa would get lost on Christmas Eve...?

And that's my book!

Someday, I'd like to get it published (for "real"), slightly larger and with a hard, antique-looking cover, book cloth spine, and embossed cover images. Ah, lovely.

For now - you can get your copy of The Fright Before Christmas at my Etsy shop:   Put a note in with your order that you read my blog post and I'll include some really cute little stickers with scenes from the book!

And because I love you - and you read all the way to the end of this post! - here is a 15% off coupon you can use in my shop. Just enter the code: XMAS2017 where prompted in the Etsy shopping cart. Or you can click this link and it should do all the work for you:

The coupon is good for all purchases from my Etsy shop over $10 and will expire on Dec. 31, 2017.

You can use it to buy Fright, We Will Never Leave You, or any of the other awesome comics, Zentangle books, or card packs (fit in stockings!!)

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