Webcomic is coming!

Some readers of my blog may have noticed a cosmetic change recently.  When I launched this blog in 2012, my color theme was white and light gray.  I knew those colors would go well with my black-and-white drawings.  I recently modified the color theme to  black and dark gray.  The makeover ties this main website with my new webcomic site, DeanDreams.com, for which I intentionally chose the darker shades.

The new webcomic deals with the shadowy night-realm of dreams, where the distinctions with which we so rigidly craft ourselves during the day melt away, and we are confronted by versions of ourselves that we would normally deny.  The new color theme reflects this melting-together.  I am reminded of this old post, in which I wrote:

Darkness blurs distinctions, connects everything together.  The boundaries that exist in the light disappear in the dark.  People fear the dark, because they fear losing themselves, losing the identity they have so carefully defined.  They fear the aspects of themselves that lurk outside the light’s reach.  Darkness is related to intuition, creativity and madness.

With the webcomic, I am influenced by Fellini Satyricon in Fellini’s decision to emphasize the fragmentary nature of Petronius’ novel.  Scenes shift with no logical transition, and imagery and dialogue appear in disconnected flashes.  As in a dream.  In the microscopic view, this style appears as a jumble.  In the larger view, the disparate elements collage together into a subtle but coherent narrative.  It takes intuition to put the pieces together.

Individual dreams, and individual fragments within a dream, likewise make up a larger narrative than might be initially apparent.  Characters and themes re-appear night after night, because they are engaged in an epic presentation.  After keeping a dream journal for several weeks, I began to see the larger view.  After a few years, the messages are very clear.  My webcomics reflect this dream-metastructure.  The individual installments add up, like many raindrops, to a vivid ocean of meaning.

Here is a photo of my Dream Diary, 300 pages of dreams and counting!  It has already been a great resource for stand-alone images.  Now it will become my primary resource for my webcomic!

Dream Diary

I sketched as a way to work out how I will draw myself, as I am the most frequent character who will appear in the comic (although, “other people” in dreams are nearly always aspects of one’s own psyche as well).  Here is me with a flower girl, an archetype that will show up again and again….

Dream sketch

I worked out the page size and grid system I want to use.  I’ll be able to sub-divide this template into various configurations.  Some people size panels in a more spontaneous way, but I find that method distracting.  With a consistent panel system in place, the structure functions almost subliminally, and readers focus more on the story than the layout.

comics grid

Sketching webcomic

Inking webcomic

Lettering webcomic

1.  Penciling (above)

2.  Lettering (left)

3.  Inking (right)

4.  Adding Tone (below)

The first page of my webcomic is now complete and scheduled to go live Friday, March 14, 2014!  Check it out right here at deanjohnsonartstudio.com or on deandreams.com.  I will also distribute each installment through my various social media….

So what is the future of the webcomic?  I plan to continue expanding the series, page by page.  I was surprised by how long it took me to complete one page.  Then again, I have been fortunate in 2014 to have many paid commissions, and those projects have been my  #1 priority.  When I am between paid projects, I can easily see cranking out a webcomic page per day.  Eventually, I would like to release a print edition of the comic, but obviously not until I have many pages complete….

I welcome your feedback when the page goes live.  More than that, I welcome your sincere participation in this journey into self….