Needless to say, when Laura asked me if I would like to take a stab at an artists' writing blog tour, I was all too eager! I have to admit that writing has become a very strange step in the process of me creating work, and is often intertwined with drawing.
What am I working on?
Unfortunately, a couple of the things I'm working on are pretty hush hush. Man oh man, I wish we could talk about some of the things that are going down in Jon Town, but alas, rules are rules. I'm going to take a step back from what I am working on currently to talk about a project that I did some work on in the spring, MEZMER.
MEZMER is a science fiction story that borrows a lot from manga and anime that I was into in high school. It alternates between action sequences where the denizens of MEZMER show their strength, grand speeches where characters express their intentions unabated, and displays of friendship.
How does your writing process work?
First, when I sat down to write a space epic, I wanted it to be character driven. Before I even wrote one work of MEZMER, I figured out who the principle players were going to be, and what their defining traits were going to be. Once that was done, the MEZMER writing took the form of a series of free-writing exercises.
I would let images form in my head of things that the characters would do, and what they would say, and some details of how the world would react around them. These chunks of writing become sequences in MEZMER that can vary from 4 to 24 pages. When I've written a sequence that I like, and one that I feel fits in the larger narrative of MEZMER, I would work it into thumbnail form.
On the other side of this process are the great speeches. One of the goals that I'm striving for with this project is the idea that I should not limit myself to one type of story-telling. Some sequences in MEZMER are not as linear as simply illustrating them as they happen. The great speeches are used to give insight into a character, but also to extrapolate on events and relationships that happen around that story. There are many events that I want to see happen along the MEZMER timeline, but they are not sequences that I want to draw, necessarily. For example, (and I know this is going to sound like gobbledy) in MEZMER, one of the main characters is the son of the empress of the galaxy. I wanted the empress to get in contact with a group of peace-keepers called the Moon Elders. Since I had no interest in drawing a straight-up phone conversation, I simply let the writing continue to exist as prose.
Why do I write what I do?
My main point of inspiration for MEZMER is the genre of Japanese special effect television called Tokusatsu. Think Power Rangers and Godzilla. Some of the underlying themes that reoccur in Tokusatsu are the ideas, "where does strength come from? what does it mean to be strong? must we live though hardship to achieve happiness?" I've found these questions really resonates with me at this point in my life. One of the bigger life epiphanies that I've had in the past year is that life is not a linear set of events, but an unbelievable tangle of responsibilities, perceptions, and relationships.
I use MEZMER as a medium to explore the idea of strength, and how people use it not only in a physical show of power, but how people also use it to decipher the great labyrinth of life, move on past loss and grief, and maintain connections. Someone once said after reading MEZMER that it felt like two action figures being banged together, and that's fine too.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I would like to think that MEZMER delineates itself from other sci-fi work through the disjointed and varied nature of the narrative. I've found the approach of switching up how I present narrative to be refreshing as a creator, but it also feels more apropos to the multi-sensory experience of life.
One writing troupe that I come to again and again is that I make the reader really work to figure out who is the villain. MEZMER is not populated with many innocents, and I enjoy leaving the reader to figure out which character has, at least, the most alligned moral compass.
PHEW! Well, that's all from me for now! New week, check out these, wonderful creators that I look up to, and what they are currently working on! Stephanie Zuppo is a senior at the Center for Cartton Studies that I have had that extreme pleasure of having in classroom! She's a beautiful draftsman. Adrienne Nunez is a designer and cartoonist living in Massachusetts, who has taught me more about eBooks than anyone else!