Kraken Went A-Courtin’ – Artist’s Notes and Highlights

This is my first comic ever. It has been a dream of mine to work in comics ever since I was handed two (A Wonder Woman and a Thor, who knows where they are now) by a nice man at a hotel when I was a child. He said something to the effect of “there’s nothing for a kid to do in this town… here.” and has no idea the profound effect he had on my life. The magic of storytelling with images entrapped me instantly, and I’ve been a huge fan of the medium ever since.

I honestly never expected to actually follow through on this dream. It seems like one of those things that /other people/ get to do, but that was too far away from me. So when my writer-wife decided to write me a script, I jumped at the opportunity. It was a lot of work, and it was scary, and I loved every single moment of it. I learned so much doing this first Olive Peaseblossom, and I can not wait to bring their next adventure to life for you.

I hope you enjoyed our comic. Here are my highlights.

Page 1 — I have a story to tell you!

The frame is a reference to Tharg’s Future-Shocks, from the publication 2000AD, a silly twist-ending sci fi story publication. They are cute, funny, and short: all in all a perfect model for a first project. I modeled the logo on the logo for those, and it was a pretty big triumph of Adobe Illustrator wrangling. I’d never used it before, so it was quite a trick to get it like I wanted. I’ve found that I really love playing with letter forms, and honestly, the lettering in general was such an absolute pleasure for me.

The comic itself is all being told by Olive, so I tried to make decisions that made the story feel more intimate. Olive is literally popping out of panel one, their cigarette smoke wafting off and becoming the first school of fish. They’re right there with you, telling you this ridiculous story.

My very first panic was about this establishing shot. Skeletons. An underwater. fight. with an army. of skeletons. Who did El think I was?? All in all I think I pulled it off. The ocean scenes definitely took the longest to paint, here.

I imagine the skeletons as being ridiculous creatures. Dancing and batting at their opponents like cats, all in all being a nuisance, but how smart could they really be? They were the first thing I designed for the comic, before I decided on anything else, and they really set the tone of the comic from my perspective.

Page 2 — Smash here for BOOMS!

Olive is in their element here. Causing — er, I mean solving problems. Solving them, yes.

The lettering on this page was, again, pretty ambitious, but I really love both the story title, and the Kraboom! I had designed these by hand before I decided to flip over to using Adobe Illustrator. They were a lot messier than these, but the rough shapes were the same, so it was a fun challenge to make Illustrator do the things I had done with my pen, but more legibly.

Exclamation points for sound effects are largely out of fashion, so deciding to put one on the Kraboom! was something I went back and forth on a lot. I went with it because in the end, I wanted it to feel more ridiculous. Olive is telling us this story, after all.

Page 3 — The Twist

I.. might not draw tentacles again for a very long time. these took forever to do.

Page 4 — Adventures in Gift Shopping

El was certain that this would be the sequence that I freaked out about when she handed me the script. (It was not. It was the skeletons.) I felt pretty calm about these, and really enjoyed designing the different locations for Olive’s adventures. I love that Olive dressed up to steal from the Earl of Chronograb. Did they need to do that? no. They’re just extra.

The humor beat of the Kraken not moving in these three panels was my addition. Having nothing but her patterns shift, and the ocean go on around them as Olive looks more and more harried was delightful, and figuring out how to make a Kraken look bored was a fun challenge.

Page 5 — The Happy Ending

My biggest hurrah moment in this comic is the three panel reaction series as Olive figures out what they’re going to do. I wanted to slow the reader down, and let them see Olive on the back foot for a moment as they figure out what their plan needs to be, so I snuck an extra panel into that sequence.

And as always, the Kraken’s facial expressions were a joy to figure out. Even if my hand fell off trying to draw in all of those suckers.

Seriously, why do Krakens have so many arms?

Kraken Went A-Courtin’ was drawn in Krita, and Lettered in Adobe Illustrator.

Next up: Olive Peaseblossom in Hive City Hootenanny