“God is Speaking to You”, page 1 in progress

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I have begun working on a five page story about my conversion to Hindusim. This particular story is very important to me and I have been intimidated by my responsibility to the subject matter so I have put it off. Then, one evening the first images and the themes and concepts that run throughout the piece came to me. Above you see my initial ballpoint sketch for the first page. On the right is me with a Yantra imposed over my face and on the left is Lord Ganesha, also with a Yantra over his face. Though I had not laid it out as such at this point you can see on the bottom right that I had known right from the start that this page would contain two strong vertical panels.

This second sketch  really captured the spirit of the story, and is unusual for me in that this second iteration is fairly similar to the first sketch. The Ohm symbol has appeared over my third eye.

I discussed the entire layout of the story with Tom Hart because I felt that though the sketches and ideas were solid, the storytelling and flow were off. I created a small thumbnail ashcan in which I laid out roughs demonstrating the new placement of panels

The above was my first attempt to work up the final page. This was when I realized that the self-portrait was not going to work under the Yantra rendered this way (plus, Tom said it looked like She Hulk) so I scrapped this page and went with the more graphic representation below. The crazy ink lines all around the drawing were done as a demo for one of my students.

This is the final pencil drawing that will ultimately be inked–so yes, this is nowhere near finished. The one major dilemma I had in this piece was that my self-portrait needed to work under the Yantra. I had also decided by this point that Lord Ganesha’s Yantra would be incorporated into the drawing as if it were painted on him rather than imposed over him. Additionally I wanted Lord Ganesha to be drawn in a far more visceral and realistic way than myself, taking him out of the ethereal and stating to the reader just how real these Deities are to me… far more real than my own sense of self. It is also interesting to note that all of the finished drawings have been created in Gainesville Florida at The Sequential Artist’s Workshop where I teach and have access to studio space.

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