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Jukebox process

Thumbnails

Inks

Base colors

Lighting + shading + magic ^_^

I’ve been making very slow progress on Jukebox over the past few weeks. I’ve lived with this story for over 2 years. I cannot wait to release it next year! While sharing some of my work with my graduate students at CCA, I realized it’s helpful to show the process of comics work. It’s very labor intensive but ultimately incredibly rewarding. Each panel is a chance to learn how to convey story with composition, expression, body language and pacing.

I wrote the story in a detailed outline, roughly 4 pages, in mid 2018. Then I worked on a thumbnail manuscript. I finished that in 5 months, in December 2018. Using that manuscript, I drew clean inked lines for the finished book. I completed inks in February of this year. Now along with Elizabeth Kramer and a team of flatters, we’re working on colors. I aim to finish the book by summer but with current events it may be longer.

For most of my life I was conflicted about my choice to pursue a path in the arts. Growing up I valued non-art careers far more. As our current mess unfolds, I realize that the arts are equally important and necessary. Books, movies, music are not only a lovely way to escape – they allow us to feel connected, and they’re important to our shared mental health. That’s one of my takeaways from this time – to value my own work.

I appreciate the opportunity to continue to make stories for that reason. Plus, work is where I find comfort and joy. I hope you are finding places of comfort and joy, as well.

Be safe and healthy, all.

 

the jukebox journey

Jukebox idea, 2014

Jukebox pitch, 2016

I spent last fall thumbnailing my next graphic novel, Jukebox. It’s a story about two cousins, Tannaz and Shaheen, who find a jukebox that takes them back in time. The thumbnail manuscript is where a cartoonist lays out the story taking into account page layout, panels, page turns and flow. I wrote the book with my hubbahubba, Nick Giordano. Over the past few weeks we received early feedback and I’m wrapping up revisions. Next week I will start drawing final art for the book. It’s roughly 200 pages.

Each milestone in a long and arduous project deserves a celebration. I’m pretty terrible at taking the time to mark these moments because of my work demands. But… finishing the thumbnail manuscript was a feat. I approached it differently than Pashmina which began with a full script. I abandoned the full script for Jukebox and went straight to thumbnails, stopping to write when needed. This approach integrated the visuals and text concurrently and took five months, compared to Pashmina, which was over a year. In those five months I lived inside the story. I talked about the characters like friends I was trying to understand. It’s my absolute favorite part of the process.

Working on the final art is fun and labor intensive. I’m looking forward to using color to communicate pieces of the story visually, approaching the line work in a way that allows for focal points and nuance and drawing my favorite city, San Francisco.

I will continue to share sales, occasional art and events (I will be in LA, St Louis, New York, and PA this year) but mostly I will be quietly working on Jukebox. I will share snippets when I can and it will hit the shelves in 2021. Jukebox is very dear to my heart. Writing a book with the love of my life has been wonderful and challenging. I’m a pretty intense person to work with! The truth is that Nick contributes to all my projects but this book is our joint love letter to music, family and connection. The wait will be long but worthwhile.

For now I’m sharing these early images. Nick and I started talking about our idea in 2014 and I roughly sketched it. The next drawing was used to pitch the book immediately after finishing Pashmina in 2016. Neither will appear in the finished book but I love them both. Making a book is a looong journey and I’m in the middle. Finishing the manuscript is an important milestone. Based on my other committments and schedule, I should finish drawing  it by years end but it will leave little room for anything else. So, I will stop to celebrate this milestone… and then get back to work!

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

 

so many things!

Signing in Cambridge, MA

Speaking at Cambridge library

Signs colored by students in Chicago

Excited Chicago school kids

Chicago middle schoolers

A favorite drawing request: unicorn

A lovely welcome in Austin

Happy readers in Takoma Park, MD

Takoma Park, MD library

One of my favorite photos – a young girl reading PASHMINA. I think my heart will always swell at the sight of someone reading a book I made… it’s been my lifelong dream!

I’m home from my mini tour, which I realized midway wasn’t very mini. I visited eight cities in the span of a few weeks and had the wonderful opportunity to speak to school kids in each town. It was equal parts exhausting and exhilarating. I met kids, teachers, librarians and booksellers who were excited about books, art and comics. I feel incredibly grateful for each opportunity. The road is hard – and especially so when due to illness I had to cancel a few signings – but it was worth the wear and tear to meet readers.

More than that though, I felt love. Whether it was family and friends who hosted me (since I paid for a good portion of the tour from my own funds, I called in a lot of favors), folks who came to signings, kids who told me their rooms were full of my art (!!), or simply conversations I had in cars and planes where we shared our growing concern for our country – I felt a thread of love and understanding. THAT is what motivates me to keep going, keep hustling and keep creating.

On that note I am excited to share that my second graphic novel, JUKEBOX has been announced! I am writing it with my hubbahubba, Nick Giordano. There’s an exclusive interview and a little art on syfy!

I also was notified that PASHMINA was reviewed by the New York Times! The review will appear this Sunday November 12th! An excerpt: “Chanani masterfully turns the complex immigrant narrative into a magical and captivating work of art.”

And lastly, I must share my upcoming events!

I will be in Santa Clara tomorrow, November 8th, at Illusive Comics for a signing.

Next weekend, November 16-19th, I will be at the Miami Book Fair (which is bigger than San Diego Comicon – which is slightly terrifying).

The weekend of Thanksgiving, November 25-26th, I will be participating in my ONLY holiday show with SF Etsy at Pier 35.

I hope to see you at one of these events! And thank you to everyone who’s purchased, read, shared, and reviewed PASHMINA. Your support on this journey allows me to keep going <3

the flow

An artist career is one that cannot be charted or replicated – it has its own flow. As I sat down to draw today I remembered deciding years ago to reduce my daily drawings to weekly. I was nervous that it would impact my income and that I would lose the audience I had worked so hard to build. Stopping was necessary though – I needed to complete Pashmina.

I went from producing a finished illustration 4-5 times a week to once a week. I posted older images to keep connecting with people, but as Pashmina took my focus I reduced those posts as well. Now I find myself unconcerned with this irregularity. My career has flowed into new territory.

No longer do I attempt to create daily illustrations – often times I sacrificed the quality of the image for quantity. Pashmina is done and I’ve begun thumbnailing my second book, Jukebox. It demands my focus as well. I may not be creating illustrations every day, but I am creating daily. The opportunity to create longer narratives – to make books – is one I’ve dreamt of since I was little. Both disciplines are worthwhile – but for now, my heart is in comics. I will be traveling throughout the year to promote Pashmina – in April I’ll be at the Cleveland Museum of Art and in Juneau for the Alaska Mini Con. The opportunities to create illustrations in addition to my other projects and travel will be minimal.

But somedays, like today, I miss my daily drawings. So I stop. I draw. And I continue to follow the flow.

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