24 Hour Comics Day at Studio Kokaachi October 06 2015
We did something scary and are proud of it. While it was fun to invite a diverse bunch of artist-storytellers over to our new studio to spend straight 24 hours making comics, we weren't sure how it will all turn out in the end. But we swallowed our self-doubt; having a bunch of interesting people to hang out with was great itself.
The event was splendid and a LOT of comics were made. Here our good friend and comics creator Roshan tells all about #24HCDkochi. Thanks, Rosh!
(The following post was originally published by Roshan on Facebook. Used with permission.)
Alright... a little info
This year I took the challenge. Studio Kokaachi had registered the venue and had decided to pre-open their new studio space+comic library with this fun event. It was so wonderful an event that it would be a crime if I did not share the experience. While this note shares the 24 hours we spend making comics through my eyes, this actually is a thank you note for Studio Kokaachi for making this happen and all the creators and visitors who came in and inspired me in different ways. It was a great experience that I can look back to and remember whenever I get stuck with a comic project; I could tell myself: "Dude, you've finished 24 pages in a day...this can't be tougher now!"
Oh, well, I forgot to mention.. I did finish 24 pages in 23 hours and 57 minutes !
Me, Starting Page 1
The fastest comic I ever did is the 9 pages of "Anti Social Networking" - in less than 20 hours, which got published in the Mixtape series by Studio Kokaachi about 4 years back. I couldn’t manage to finish any of my own stories after that. I was so busy doing comics and illustrations for my clients that when I looked back I realized I had shelved too many half-made comics. 24 hour comics was a life saver and the ticking clock did set the necessary push that always helps creators overcome mental blocks.
The Welcome Board
We reached Studio Kokaachi’s beautiful new office space on the second floor, facing the Central Park in Panampilly Nagar, Cochin by 10 in the morning. There were five of us who came from different cities ready to take up the challenge.
Sharon and myself from Cochin, Sandhya from Chennai and Vishnu and Sattik from Bangalore. Pratheek, Tina and Aravind - the three-men army of Studio Kokaachi - had already set up the place to start the event. A couple of other creators joined us over Skype, who couldn't make it to Cochin and were taking the challenge from their homes. We started the 24 Hour Comic Day at 12 PM. I was planning to do the comic digitally like two other artists and the rest of the team went traditional with inks and paper.
Inside Studio Kokaachi
I had no story. Well, let me re-quote.. I had no story that fits 24 pages. My stories always end in less than 6-7 pages and they are mostly silent comics. Then I had this slice of life story in my head from a real life experience that involved writing a lot of dialogue and I knew I was pretty slow when I write. Everyone has their own way of making comics and mine is thumbnailing directly without bothering to write a script. Luckily, I was carrying a 4 year old sketchbook with me. So I started turning the pages to get into the mood and chanced upon this drawing I had made a while back and suddenly remembered an interesting but very unstructured story I had in mind while I was doing it. "This is it", I thought, thumbnailing page 1.
The drawing I found in my sketchbook
It was a quick decision and I finished thumbnails of 4 pages in an hour. "This is it and this is going awesome", I thought again and suddenly hit a block on page 7 and all of a sudden I realized the story is going to end on page 13 or 14. I just walked around the studio to see what wonderful stuff others are doing. Sharon was pretty chilled, scribbling on a paper. It looked like she was solving a physics problem; arrows connecting sentences and maps and what not! She was still in the planning phase. And Sattik was outside on the balcony, deep in thoughts - planning! I should've done planning before I went to thumbnails! I made a mental note for next year and took a peek at Sandhya's laptop screen.
Sharon (red), Sandhya (with the laptop) and Sarah busy with their comics
A small heart attack! She was doing page 2, full color and beautifully detailed! I knew Chennai girls were bold, but 24-full-color-pages-in-24-hours-bold?! I moved on to Vishnu's table and he was going all traditional with inks and brushes and left me drooling over the line quality for a bit before I realized he's already on page 10 or something - not thumbnails but finished pages! I got back to page 8 thumbs and it was already 2.00 PM.
Suddenly the cop walked in. Oh, don't worry he wasn't in his uniform. Gokul - a vigilante/ protector of the law/cop during day and comic creator/cartoonist/fantastic storyteller during the night - just walked in and took his laptop and pen tablet out, ready to join the challenge. We are six people doing 24 Hour Comics now and visitors started coming in. Some of them wanted to make comics of their own and joined the party and Pratheek had paper and a place to sit for all. Fahad and Sunaina started making comics sitting in the balcony and Sarah and Sethuraman (the youngest people to join the event) were sitting on the floor drawing.
Gokul Walks in... with a bag of cutlets
We also had some very young kids all inspired by the happenings and drawing pictures on paper and the chalk-board wall that Pratheek and Tina had brilliantly planned inside the studio. Everything was going great and I had finished 11 pages of thumbnails before 6.00 P.M and had hit another block with the story again.
Fortunately, Sandhya decided to take a short break and come to my table. I started narrating the story to her and there's always a flow that comes naturally while telling a story to someone than sitting and thinking about it. Might be something remained in our genes from the cave-dwelling-story-telling-grand-grandpa's time. I kept on making stuff up and by the end of it, I had told her 24 pages of the story. Now it was just a matter of thumbnailing 10 more pages and inking 24 pages in next 18 hours.
Lilo Helping me tie my hair right before we start the event and I have that " I don't have a story yet" face!
My wife had made fantastic coffee and after that it was a mad rush. 3:49 AM and I was ready to start inking 25 pages of the comic. Yes, that's right, 25! I had an extra page just in case someone didn't understand the surprise ending. (I didn't have to ink this page on the final though.) It was nap time. Took a 25 minute power nap and I was back on the chair. Inking digital was so much fun and it was going really fast so I took a break to have a chat with Gokul. I was amazed by his stories and his way of seeing beautiful stories in every small event happening around him.
24 Pages done, showing as thumbnails in my Cintiq
We decided to skip breakfast so that we can save time and go for a heavy lunch later. By 11.57 AM, I had inked page 24 and got up. Vishnu had finished 24 as well. Others seemed more focused on finishing a story than hitting the 24 page mark and it was great. We had so many finished stories by the end of the event and it was wonderful. Comics everywhere!
All pages finished, sleepy and "now what?!" phase
We went for a heavy lunch to make up for skipping breakfast and went home. Everybody was sleepy and happy and slept 15 straight hours.
The Breakfast get together before saying goodbye till we meet next time.
Next morning, we gathered - everyone except Sharon and Gokul who had to leave right after the event - in Fort Cochin for Breakfast. We exchanged a few sketches and chatted a lot about art, comics, copyrights, publishing and I learned a lot of stuff that I didn't know before. This was the best comic-experience I had since the blast we had at Bangalore Comic Con a couple of years ago.
Like I mentioned earlier, this is a thank you note... Especially to Team Kokaachi for all their efforts in making this happen and organizing everything so beautifully. To all the creators for inspiring me to do better with what I do by showing me what wonderful work they have done. To Lilia, for the coffee, for waking me up from my 25 minute nap and for the love...not necessarily in that order. To Sudhith and Ananya for dropping by and lightening the mood and helping me click some wonderful pics to go with this note. To everyone who visited the event and encouraged us...and to Dash for moral support, running around in the studio and those unexpected barks that woke me up every time I went too sleepy.
Creators with team Studio Kokaachi
I will do this next year again and that time I am going to do some planning before thumbnails. Here are some pages from my comic. I am thinking of coloring it sometime and if it looks good, pitching it to Studio Kokaachi and see if they would like to publish it. If everything goes good, the book is coming!!!
Till then, Adios!
A few pages from the comic I did. (Not in order..)