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Demonology 101: A Long Time Ago, on an Internet Far, Far Away...

First of all, someone kindly alerted me to this: Lookit! My artwork is on GoogleMaps! How kickass and awesome is that? It was nifty enough to have a mural for a while (it's now replaced by a mural for Darwyn Cooke's Hunter GN), so this is extra gravy.

I'm a bit exhausted at the moment as I just came back from eating my second turkey (all prententions of wannabe vegetarianism goes out the window around Thanksgiving), but I have a million things to do this week, so I have to post this now or not for a while. Now it is, then. I think I've mentioned a couple times that this past summer it was ten years since I started drawing comics, or rather, ten years since I started drawing my old online comic Demonology 101.

I'd wanted to do something to celebrate that fact (and to celebrate that hey, after 10 years of doing this comic thing, I'm still doing it, much to my astonishment), but I don't have time to do anything special, so let's settle for the silliness that follows. Basically, while on semi-vacation last week, I redrew some of the early artwork from D101. For a couple reasons: 1) I was bored and 2) I wanted to hold up two identical pieces of artwork and compare them, and feel that my improvement as an artist would speak for itself, and tell me that I was on the right track. That I was supposed to do comics. And keep doing them. I dunno, I just needed to hear it at that particular moment, for whatever reason.

Yes, obviously 2001 was not 10 years ago, but Episode 3 was what I had on hand. I was digging through boxes of old sketchbooks (stored in my parents' garage, of course) and came across these original pages. So they were on hand and easy to access. That's my excuse. :) All the new artwork was drawn at the same size as the original pages, although the old pages were sized down, and I didn't feel like squashing the new artwork down that small. So the new panels are slightly bigger.

So as I said, all the old artwork is from Episode 3 of D101, which was the episode which introduced Lacey & Eli, and set up some kind of convoluted plot about their mother trying to cause chaos in a tradition-dependent demon hierarchy by offing the last two Jenner kids (Gabe & Isaac). And at some point Mackenzie dresses up as Merle from Escaflowne, and Mal is Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Anyway, here we go! Oh man, so much fun.

Fun fact: Lacey is reading a Y&M magazine. Is that magazine still around?

I tried to stay as close to the original compositions as possible. Unfortunately, they simply aren't that interesting. I always tried hard with D101, always to the best of what I was capable at the time, but I was never particularly good at the art thing during the years I was drawing it.

During Word on the Street, a guy came by to talk to me, and mentioned that he'd been reading D101 when he was out of country going to school, and this section (when the characters are running around a poorly drawn, demon-infested Royal Ontario Museum) made him homesick for Canada. I was very touched by that.

It was interesting for me to go back and look at this last section of Episode 3, because I think that's when I really started thinking about comics as an art form, and what I could do within that art form and between panels in order to convey the story. I hadn't thought much about it before that, and each page was just "this person says this, this other person says that," so the artwork was secondary to the dialogue, and simply a way to move the characters around. I'm pretty much all self taught when it comes to comics, and I wish it hadn't been that way. It's hard to struggle through pages and pages of comics and not know what you're doing, and to KNOW that you don't know what you're doing. It was always hard to look around online and see other people's work and how much better it was, but to lack the understanding of the art form so that I couldn't understand WHY it was better. Now I'm getting to the point where I can look at others' work and see the machine behind it, and almost grasp why it's better than my work. Almost.

Anyway, the whole thing was an interesting experiment. I really enjoyed doing it, and I'm very encouraged by the improvement I see in my work. I just needed it told to me at that particular moment. Lots more to learn (lots and lots! A lifetime worth!), but to see inches of improvement ... it's heartening, and keeps you going. :)