THE BLOG
06/01/2011 12:12 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Sink or Swim

Sink or swim. That's what many of us face.

When your entire department is laid off like mine, you can either try to get another job in the same field and probably experience the same out-sourcing or redundancy issues, or you can change fields and try something different. And I mean totally different.

As a middle-aged woman with a professional background in copy-editing and project management, as well as a life-long personal interest in painting, animation, and illustration, I decided to create my first comic book. Why the hell not? With the growing popularity of eBooks, mobile devices, and self-publishing software -- there is nothing stopping anyone from just sitting down and accomplishing this heroic task on his or her own. All it takes is a compelling story, planning, and endless drawing. So that's what I did and here's how I did it:

  1. PLANNING: Using an Excel spreadsheet, I dropped in my story, translated from the scribbles of a moleskin journal. Why Excel? Because I could easily add or subtract the number of panels, panel descriptions, and character dialog according to visual and comprehension needs. Since I wanted this comic book to be smartphone friendly, I really had to plan because the dimensions of a phone are so small. I also knew that the average mobile comic was between 150-190 panels.

  2. DRAWING: I created the illustrations using Adobe Flash. Why Flash?

    A) Because of its great exporting ability. I can export an entire 150 panel comic in PNG or JPEG format in seconds.

    B) I could later use that file to create web animation if needed.

  3. EXPORT: After exporting the contents into PNGs, I converted to web-ready JPEGS. Why not directly to JPEGs? Quality. For whatever reason, the color and images were crisper.

  4. ePUB: The JPEGs were imported into an InDesign template. Then the document was exported using the digital epub format. There was a small bit of coding, but it was easy thanks to Sigal (a free text editor) and an online walk-through by www.lynda.com.

  5. PUBLISH: VOILA! Ready to upload to Barnes & Noble!! And Barnes & Noble will even supply the ISBN.

Nova Jackson: Ejects! is the first episode of an ongoing series about a girl, her ship, and her cranky friend Jib Stone. If you like strong female characters, science fiction, and cats -- then this comic book is for you.

2011-06-01-NovaJackson.jpg

2011-06-01-JibStone.jpg

Barnes & Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Nova-Jackson/Jodi-Chamberlain/e/2940012408921/?itm=1&USRI=jodi+chamberlain

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/KqohDiXSTAg
Note: special thanks to DobloFlo and The Brooklyn Label for giving me permission to use their music.