Here it is: the very beginning. 

To a point, it’s impossible to look back at old work and not see the faults of inexperience, but this one still touches close enough to my heart that I’m not bothered to really take a deep gander into the pantones and thick lines. This was my second ever attempt at a cityscape and my first attempt at trying to bring the city I love to life in small displaced images. I can’t even fathom how much time I sunk into every little building and wire, trying to make sure that it all looked as real as I could manage. If I was to re-create it now I might make different choices, but for where I was at the time, it all makes perfect sense in hindsight.

The original first panel was to look quite a bit different as I remember. It was inspired from a photo that Jen took when circling for a landing at Midway. Not quite over the lake but from the skies above the Southside, just vast buildings and focusing the center around millennium park. While I loved the shot, I originally was drawing it in Photoshop long before switching to Manga Studio. This was before I knew my final resolution and size and when forced to scale it up, it became muddy and pixelated. So after a week of hard work, I started fresh with the approach from 90 taken by myself one summer morning and in Manga Studio. (If I ever find the file I will try and include it here.)

My favorite illustration program came highly recommended to me by Michael Lunsford of Supernormal Step, who is an inspiration for me to this day. He answered a lot of my starting questions and was a big help in to getting to work and actually try telling my stories. You should definitely check out his stuff. He is a wonderful fellow and a beast of an artist. It updates 3 times a week!

As for the other panels, I took 4 of the five but one is stock and heavily referenced from them to the point of almost copies. Remembering when it was just so hard for me at the start, to try and imagine what something would look like from real life taking on space in the blank page. This practice lead to me appreciating reference and gathering resources, which I am forever thankful for. It’s still quite hard, but every day it gets easier.

To think! This was just my second time using a tablet for “serious” illustration, the first being page 4. which I do not have quite as many warm feelings towards.

As a not so small note: That bit at the bottom still rings true, without these people and their encouragement I would have never gotten past the simple scripting stages of the book. Each and every one has been a driving force in the progression of this into bigger and grander scales. Either in writing, inspiration, critique, or art advice, they are my very dear friends and I am going to be in their debt as long as I continue to create… and I repaid them by putting their names on the internet.

Wisest choice? Eh.

As always! Thank you for reading.