Grey is… Recap: sketching and lining Chapter 71

August 9th, 11:31

It feels good to sketch pages again

A tricky panel:


August 13th, 07:52

While I feel the fallen rocks and ground-like look makes the line “we all lost the truth” and the feeling behind the resolution head stronger for the reader, while I was sketching I decided to try with paper tears and falling and I might go with that when I finalize the page. I think the paper imagery fits the narration more, and the loss of the truth was gradual, silent and slow when it comes to Black losing his memories.

I think the stone imagery fits some other boy with heavy– arguably heavier trauma.


August 14th, 11:57

It’s funny how just by adding one line to make the shoulder wider, transforms a scribble from Black’s body shape to White’s.

I had to draw many poses to find the one I wanted.


August 16th, 09:46

first, I’m happy with this face but it’ll be covered with smoke so here.

also the first hint in this book about (Redacted till ch74 is out)

Visual progress:


August 21st, 11:38

Sketching a chapter takes the longest but is the most fun.
I finished sketching ch71 yesterday and I went over it to edit what is there to edit now that all the details are clear.


August 23rd, 12:11

that tricky panel coming along nicely.


August 25th, 21:44

boy we’ve come along way since Black first talked about his mind. he and me both. Ch3 vs ch71


August 28th, 20:27

I enjoy lining so much but right now, I don’t like my lines and I struggle so much with toning
I want to find a look that has minimal toning and one where I’m happy with my lines too


August 31st, 22:12

First chapter in the book is done ☑️
A clear night with 22°c

with shuffle being a paid actor setting the mood, with the cutest companion.

Grey is… Recap: thumbnailing Chapter 71

It felt pointless. However, there is nothing of substance to that feeling so, I carry on.

July 23rd at 19:43

A week passed by and I’ve been on/off working on the mind/memory map/walkthough Black is going to build up in the first chapter of the book. It’s based off the timeline that is shown in the first page of volume 7.

Back then people asked me if this is the canon timeline and I said yes. It is the canon timeline for what’s been presented so far back then, from every reliable and unreliable source.
Black is gonna sit down and make a timeline of his events.
And even though I had the “Draft” in volume 7, I still took my time to build it myself because there were many ideas on how Black would compile and present the things in this timeline.

I finished it today.

And while I was working on it, with Black’s point of view throughout, I suddenly disconnected from his head and I just felt that it’s precious how hard he tries whenever he puts his mind to something, and how hard he tries throughout this book.

And then I remembered how White feels when he sees all this effort from Black, something that will be shown at a late stage in the book, I had to doodle it (right).

Today I also sketched the outfits for the first chapter. Which will show a flashback from the scene that volume 9 ended at, a morning scene of the boys which will continue in the 2nd chapter of the book, and a third outfit for Black who is alone compiling all the data his had on that board.

I thought I’m finally free from drawing and keep reminding myself of White’s cast coz yes he removes it this book, but no, I have to now learn, and keep drawing him doing exercises for this hand.
Volume 7 continues to give :[


July 23rd at 18:36

The beginning of ch71 is a real challenge.

the chapter already moved from 22 pages to 24 upon starting to storyboard.

I knew Black would be sewing a zipper in the first scene of the book, and I planned to use it for the “parents split” part, but for the other hand, I wanted it to be holding the two parts of fabric on either side of the zipper while he thinks about trying to save the house.

However, for “the secrecy” to be visually illustrated with that zipper covering half his mouth (left) was an unintentional twist that just happened when I drew and I love it.


July 29th at 06:17

I just realized that having been struggling with storyboarding 6 pages for a week when I used to storyboard 5 pages daily, isn’t because I’m rusty (even though I might be), but more so because it’s a White type of chapter, even though the focus is Black.
It’s one of those intricate, layered and monologue-heavy chapters. One that has visual metaphors and has to tell the whole of Black’s journey in a few pages.

Not to mention… White is usually just sitting… writing or lying in bed while such chapters unfold, whereas with Black, he’s working, moving and also reacting to what he’s doing while he’s sharing all about his life. Ever the active baby.

This page took a while to figure out and I’m still going back and forth about it.

called this layer group “Head Split”.

It fits the whole (redacted till ch73 is out)


August 2nd at 13:16

I was just sitting with my mother and she was showing me this IG account that makes custom furniture, something that I’m interested in. She was showing me on her phone with a big space between us so I wanted to read the account name to find it on my phone and it was “treefabrications” or something…

I stopped at fabrications because it just occurred to me that fabric is actually part of that word, and Black works with fabric.
There should be a way to make a visual to that word. One with patterns or decorations.
It fits the theme of covering up or changing the truth.
The problem is that I don’t want revisit these sets of pages that took over 2 weeks to finish.
I want to search for the word in all of the chapters I’ve written so far so that I can use it somewhere else and not in this chapter.
Getting excited about words from a second language is my jam.

at 16:56

Why is the hardest chapter to storyboard!
man I’m so happy Black hasn’t been a brain boy from the start of the story. I would’ve totally sucked at presenting everything in a clear way.

August 5th at 08:14

every page has at least 2 different layouts now.

going with the first one (it came second in the process of creation).
it’s taking much time to finish pages but I’m very much enjoying.

at 22:47

Today I spent the evening at my (messy) out-home studio pumped to start working on the second part of the chapter. but I instantly hit another wall of a chapter.

It’s a tricky chapter yes. and I am telling so much in so little space, but just now while I was brushing my teeth I realized what’s my problem, and I rushed to my OneNote app to check when I wrote that chapter because I know I started writing this book long time ago and picked it back up June of this year.

I don’t have an exact date but the earlier I could find is July22nd, 2022, so I realized now why I’ve been struggling:
When I write, I see all the visuals so I come to the storyboarding stage with the chapter already drawn in my head and I just pour it on paper.
this chapter was written at least a year ago, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t feeling it back then.

I was excited for the idea of a Recap book since forever but, it’s hard to explain how it feels heart-wise when writing.
And I either wrote that chapter back then half-heartedly, without putting my heart into it, or the heart I wrote it with has vanished by the changes and the passing of time.
Thankfully, it’s an easy fix; I just have to sit down with all the heart that I can have and read the chapter with 100% focus to see it all unfold visually as if I’m writing it for the first time, and then head to the canvas.
It seems that I totally forgot that much of the early stages of this work happens in my brain and heart before putting pen to paper.

August 7th at 09:07

I think I will have to rearrange that dark panel. it might be (redacted till ch74 is out).
Just testing the broken cars brush to which best fit the accident.

In regards to the accident, (redacted till ch74 is out).
the text is not in its final placement but I think I can do better with these cars, maybe throw a gravestone in there too. But I also think the above 2 panels are interesting enough it’s good to just have a simple visual for the 3rd panel in the page.
All that written above, is an inside look on all the things that happen in my head when I thumbnail.

August 8th at 11:31

ch71 thumbnailing: DONE

Grey is… REcap – Pre-Ch71: Love and Fear


❖ Note: Because I documented on thoughts on a private channel on discord, it’s like a chat so I formatted like a list.

July 10th at 18:28

  • I think I finished the layout for the whole book.
  • as of right now, the last chapter is 78. so 71-78 and there’s a mini/half chapter midway.
  • I was kinda upset and hopeless about it today in the afternoon, but an hour later, Im back on the desk and it’s arranged itself.
  • nothing is set on stone, but at least I have all the ideas I planned arranged in a nice timeline.
  • a scene from far in the future made its way to this book too surprisingly
  • again, it’s not the final thing, not even a final rough draft.
  • I just know how to start walking now that everything is compartmentalized in front of my eyes.
  • If I feel some chapters got longer or I remembered something that I strangely missed after all this time preparing, I’ll just divide a chapter or add one.
  • 79 does looks like a better number to end the book at.
  • maybe Ill do a beach chapter and reward myself with…
  • what exactly?
  • actual need to master anatomy coz people would be in little and skinny clothing?
  • they can all go skiing
  • or break dancing
  • …. Jad.

July 14th at 14:09

  • I finished writing ch74, we’re at 126 pages at the moment
  • After almost a month of getting back to writing actual manga scenes, and I specify this because I write and sketch and think every day, but sitting down to work on a book is different, and this book specifically needs a lot of mental gymnastics
  • so the thing I realized is that I never noticed the relation between sleep/naps and writing a book in my life.
  • I did notice around 2017-2018 that my migraines lessen a lot when I finish a book
  • but this is the first time I realize how many naps I need in a day when I’m writing.
  • I already had a nap around 11 am and I’m almost falling completely asleep on my desk now as I’m writing this and for the past 30 minutes while I was updating Grey is… over at Global Comix website
  • it just occurred to me that the mental exhaustion I get from writing visually needs a lot of sleep for me to function throughout the day
  • this is the first book I write as a whole in one setting. not chapter by chapter, but thinking of it all as a whole and from one chapter to another without drawing a single line
  • I’m even adding any drawing/visual ideas to the scripts
  • something as tiny as a [panel of Black’s eye close-up] to a whole description of what to show on the spread
  • when I write visually, I write as I watch the scene play in my mind
  • usually by the time I finish writing a chapter, I still have all that I viewed in my head intact
  • but going from one chapter to the next instantly
  • right now
  • I’m kinda afraid that I’ll forget some of the visuals I’ve seen and planned while writing
  • when you draw you dont think, so I might come up with a different arrangement for panels months from now when I start storyboarding and I quite like what I see when I see it so.
  • for example, after writing that Jad/Black scene in the ********* ******
  • I felt emotional throughout the day
  • like when you watch an anime episode of a series you love and had the most heart-triggering turn of events
  • I’ve been like this throughout writing ch7*
  • and throughout planning this book
  • every scene I write notes for, I feel it extremely and from one to the another
  • I’m also afraid I’d forget the feelings for each with time and I don’t want that
  • coz the feelings I feel while writing and sketching every chapter is the most important
  • I pray that the feelings I’m feeling now while writing the whole book stay attached to the book while writing and more so upon release
  • for those feeling to reach you all.
  • I do believe in the piece of soul that is delivered from a creator to the viewer through their creation.

July 14th at 17:18

  • waking up from the nap, I remembered something else sleep-related that is new though.
  • maybe not entirely new because I always said that “ideas come to me from the floor” so it’s only natural that my brain goes “IDEAS” once I put my head down to sleep, however the intensity is very heightened these days
  • every time I drift in snooze world I can physically feel my brain pumping out ideas and I fall asleep anyway but I feel exhausted still while sleeping. a strange thing to explain.
  • what kinda saddens me now, something that I’m not really facing, is that I’m not motivated to draw.
  • yes, my engines are running wild with all new content, something that I felt died in me, but I still feel like there’s a barrier between me and my art station.
  • today I was playing Crisis Core when a scary idea came to me. that I might not be able to find the motivation to draw any more?
  • creating wasn’t the problem to begin with. I took a time off and away not because I wasn’t connected to the story but rather, I see no purpose or point in sharing it.
  • what if I’ll be satisfied and rewarded by just what I’m doing now… writing down the story?
  • what if I end up just drawing the scenes I imagined in their prettiness in my head? but not the whole thing.
  • I still love creating manga and I will.
  • but my problem with the idea of printing the books. the idea of finding a new printer a new proofreader and having no emotional connection with any of the people that has been with me next to Grey is…
  • all that is just too much
  • It’s not fair to the rest of the readers, just like it’s not fair to the story or even to myself who has done so much in the past for the current me that is writing this.
  • but when something dies in you… at times it feels like nothing can resurrect it.
  • Im on top of the world when Im writing and creating.. but once I land, back on the ground… it feels scary and the effort to put into it feels pointless.

Grey is… REcap – Journal 1

• Where I stood

It’s no secret that the past 3 years have been life-changing for a lot of people, and I had my fair share of twists and turns throughout.
After my father’s death, I pushed myself to finish volume 9 for the readers, because I hate leaving things hanging, and because my father actually asked about it on what I now know was his death bed. A thing that we read about often in stories and is as enough of a motivation as you would imagine.

I started planning for this REcap volume while I was printing volume 9.

But after all the printing, promotion and shipping was over… there was nothing.
There was a ton in my head and between my notes.
I was getting ideas for the book on/off randomly.

But all that had happened, and with one final nail in the coffin on that night when I felt as if my back has been bent too far for too long that I couldn’t stand straight again, I hung my boots for a month or so, then later I took the break.

• When I started

 Every day in June, at a time when the weather was not cold but definitely not hot yet, I would sit on the table in our backyard with all the garden cats passing by, and dedicate the time to write something, edit something or just arrange idea. Some pages prompted me to do a small sketch of the page that I see in my head -because never trust that your brain will remember-, and it just felt right to think in pages again.

• TOO much

There was too much to arrange and connect. I was making progress and I was feeling good about it. However my personal feelings towards some of the falling outs I had with friends I made through this series was a large neon sign that kept flickering constantly and I’d get actual and emotional migraines every time I sit down to think ahead and write in the story.

I was also not connecting to my room at all. The place I spent all those years creating in became a haunted place and one that is filled of painful memories bigger than what I could handle at the time.

I don’t listen to myself regarding those things so I kept trying to work there and kept arranging and rearranging the furniture in my room as if a new orientation would give me comfort when all it did was adding to all the changes that’s been stressing me out ever since my dad passed away.

 

Emotions aside, his passing caused a big shift in my home, and the dynamics between everyone there changed one way or another, so life has been hard to navigate around people no matter who the face I was seeing or the username I was writing.

Still, I kept pushing forward.

• Like learning to swim

I was burnt out.
Not artistically, but… as a creative person in the public eye.

I was writing and thinking and doodling but I was scared. I was scared of being productive. Of having chapters done and ready to go. Every time I would take a step in writing the arc, I would spend much time talking to my mother about the audience, about my friends, about the pain and the pointlessness. Her only answer continuously was to do what I did back when I started and had no audience and nobody I actually know wanting to read the story. To just do it because it’s what I love to do.

And she’s right.
But also writing stories are a two-way street and how far will it take me to create the story and throw ideas about humans, only for myself? How longer it’ll take for me to heal and be able to walk again on the same path that is tainted with pain, misunderstandings and deserted souls.

I came to the realization that it felt very similar to learning how to swim.
There’s this person who hold your log-like body on the surface of the water and tell you to not stress. Just relax. and feel the water and you’ll float.

They say it so easily, but it doesn’t seem easy. It doesn’t feel easy. They let go of your body and you just sense it being submerged and going down so you flail.

People who are not on the same page as you are have nothing bu words and those don’t really have an effect in a life/death situation.

 

However, I did learn how to swim past my thirties. I even learnt how to dive afterward.

So I remembered.

I was only able to learn how to swim by being in the water. standing up. water is around me in all directions. feeling the water with my whole body. nobody was holding me, telling me anything or expecting anything from me.

It’s only me and the water. And gradually, I drew nearer and submerged my feet in water up my ankles.

I replayed games I played back when I had no one but loneliness in college days. I rewatched old anime that I watched on my own back in school days.

And I sat down and wrote in the new arc. Everyday, I’d create scenes by day and consume creations by evening.

And I didn’t think.

Gradually, I realized that I’ve collected all the topics I want to address, and I have them all on the table.

 

And so it starts…

I was finally back to writing the arc’s layout, thinking ahead, arranging ideas, doodling sketches, sketching clippings and planning manga pages.

Emotionally, I kind of did a White and shoved it all in a box. Emotionally, in regards to other people that is.

The feelings were at an all-time high towards my story, however what some friends and some family members did to make me reach that point of burning and then putting it out on my own still choked me– chokes me.

You’d think this is better written in some personal blog, but what I face is part of what makes me and what I create.

Art is a language and a bridge. And back to the new arc, I was working in my isolated mountaintop, feeling all the good feelings, however, every once in a while, I’d keep glancing up at the bridges of hope and wait. I was left to burn alone and I had felt after a certain time has passed that it’s time to unhook the bridge at my end and let it go.

 

Next up,

I’ll be checking my vol-recap discord channel and see what else I can share before the updates are back.

I will be collecting my commentary for each chapter while I was creating it in one blog post after it’s fully out.
I want to write a bit about the process of creating the Trailer for the arc, and I might write something about the wants and fears of come back online, but that last one isn’t a sure thing because I’m not sure how much “personal” I want to share.

I’ll be writing a draft then decide after sleeping on it.

Thank you so much for reading this far, and apologies if this dragged on for long.

A trivia:

Website touched up, revamped on phone

A lot of plugins and themes updated throughout the year so I had to do the yearly touching up I do for the website so it wouldn’t have bugs and broken look here and there.

I looked into changing the comic reader interface to make it easier to work on the phone. Something that has touch gestures or a way to make all the the pages in a chapter open in the same page like we see in scanlations websites.

I looked into Toocheke plugin, and a few other alternatives but nothing offered me what I want and with 2000+ pages, I didn’t want to risk trying something out and have the whole website fall apart ahead of the return.

Thankfully that journey led me to learn how to stage a website, like make a copy of the current website and and do all the editing there while the original live website stays as-is. But that was the only advantage from the days of trying to offer a better “modern” experience.


I revisited the Blog, About and Archive pages and went kinda minimal with them. I thought of dividing the chapters in pages in the Archive page and into Arcs in the About page, but then I thought how it’s better to have a way to group a set of chapters together and make the whole series easier to approach for newcomers.

At least, that’s how I go about reading new manga series. Recently I was reading Monster and it’s easier to read a volume per setting than keep looking at that number of chapters altogether without a point of reference on how to fit it in my schedule.

As for the blog, I added a call-to-action button for a pop-up if anyone wants to join the newsletter. I’m still not sure if I should change the page layout for the blog categories when you click to them. As of right now, when you click on a category, you get a list of all the post titles.
If you open any post, and then click the category from there in the post header, you go to the archive page for the category and it shows the posts in tumblr-style one after the other.

Each of these layouts has its pros and cons and I’m still unsure which to stick with, or is the way it is right now is good enough.
I don’t see much traffic coming to the blog in general and that’s why I’m in no haste to change anything.


The bigger update was for the homepage, which has been a landing page for the past 2 years, and now it’s a simple manga website homepage with a classic header and all.

I want to try to show the latest pages in an attractive way once the updates are back, and I added a sidebar that shows all the info and social links and Clippings.

I was also able to learn how to make an off-canvas menu for the sidebar on mobile phone. I can only hope that it works smoothly on all browsers and devices.

The design for the info in Hompage, especially on phone, is taken from the MangaPlus interface. I’ll continue to do some touch-ups here and there so that I wouldn’t be that “copy homework” meme.

And that’s all for this year’s website update.

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