So I did the 24 Hour Comic Challenge this past Saturday and Sunday. Wow, what a fun and demanding time! I’ve done some endurance art before, but never a 24 Hour Comic. That is, I’d never made a 24 page comic in 24 hours, a la Scott McLeod’s stipulations. The event was held at Ultimate Comics in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where I met some great people. Food and beverages were supplied and we comic enthusiasts brought nothing but our materials and ideas. And I did it! 20 hours later (I finished early) I had a 24 page comic in hand. Above is one panel from one of the pages. I’ll post the rest in the near future.
I was completely drained and beat afterward, but I took a dog walk and had a moment to reflect on the experience. Mainly I thought about how artistic endeavors, in fact most endeavors, can be likened to running an experiment. By that I mean that when you set out to do something there is nearly always the dynamic of success or failure in play. To ensure success one must assess the situation, and understand, or set the parameters for action. Going into the 24 Hour Comic Challenge I had a few rules for myself. It would be black and white (this was a stipulation set down by the event itself), it would be silent (I didn’t want to waste time mucking around with word bubbles, plus my handwriting is…interesting), I’d work in toned markers for ease of rendering, and it would be composed of nearly all splash pages holding a maximum of four panels. I’ve found that the higher the panel count, the more dense a page is, meaning the longer the page takes to create.
Ostensibly you have an hour a page but there are all sorts of other factors to consider including breaks, mistakes and zoning out in the 11th hour. Working in the wide, splash format meant that I was effectively working on two pages at a time and I’d have around two hours for each two-page section, giving me greater flexibility for completion.
When setting out to run an experiment (ie make a piece of art/tell a story) it’s important to remember to set limits for yourself. The freedom of doing anything at all can be crippling. Don’t be afraid to build those walls of idea containment, and you’ll find liberation that way. But the real take-away with this is that the 24 Hour Comic Challenge is a very freeing experience. You learn to just power forward and not worry about the small things that can irk you when you have lots of time to throw around.