21 Jan 2012

Guest post - Anne Elizabeth and a giveaway

THE PENDULUM: From Dream to Reality
by Anne Elizabeth

“Every project begins with a dream and a desire to succeed.” This is one of my father’s favorite sayings. When I was a child he’d sit me on his knee and we’d read the Sunday comics from the newspaper. We’d laugh together, and I can still hear his distinct laughter echoing in my head and see his broad grin. As the years passed, the meaning of these words has grown in value. He was right; an individual’s determination to reach a goal depends on their will to achieve. Thus, I filled my heart with courage and went for my goal over five years ago, and the PULSE graphic novel and comic world was born.

High school was the vetting ground and birthing place for my brain child. Beginning when my high school English teacher asked the class to write a creative short story, I created a brand new supernatural world. (Of course, this was before Harry Potter, Twilight, and many of the now-popular paranormal series.) I was so intrigued by my creatures – ones that came out of imagination, frustration, and a fondness for justice and romance – that I found myself compelled to keep writing. Pretty soon, I had completed a full-length novel and many, many short stories. Plastic purple binders held my treasured manuscripts. Though there was interest in the storylines and characters, none of the publishing houses could figure out how to market it or fit it into their current collections. That is, until Dabel Brothers LLC read the first manuscript – PULSE OF POWER – and offered a contract for my first graphic novel.

After publication, my email was suddenly flooded with letters from reviewers and fans who liked this brand new superhero – someone who spoke of empowerment, decision-making, and standing up for the little guy. There was something special about Tia that connected with readers and so I opened the treasure box further to release the rest of her stories as well as those of her friends. Suddenly, I was editing the stories and my notes, indentifying the overall arc and themes and crafting them into script form. FYI, you need scripts for each participant in the process: One for the editor, one for the artist, one for the colorist, and another for the letterer.

Working with award-winning writer and former DC Editor Alisa Kwitney, who also edited Neil Gaiman for his Sandman series, is the ‘Experience of a Lifetime!’ Alisa is BRILLIANT! I look forward to each interaction, and she has gifted me with an amazing education in comic form, structure, and Haiku snappiness.

After the writing process is complete, the art critique begins. This is where the images and panels are honed into the sharpest and most compelling visual presentation. I worked with Artist Siya Oum, whose creations are intensely beautiful! She’s AMAZING in terms of her knowledge, ability to create captivating nuances, and depict the heart of an emotional climax. When the pages are complete, they are sent to Colorist Mauro Salgado who changes the black and white into complex layers of colors and detail. Lastly, the pages are lettered by Bill Tortolini, who is fantastically gifted at complementing the art and coloring with captions, speech balloons, exclamations and so much more!

The completed high resolution files are then approved by the publishers. Keep in mind, oftentimes both the author and/or the editor are guiding the steps in the pre-production art process. When everything is final, then the book goes to print. Diamond Distributors works with independent bookstores, Amazon and many others to make sure the comic or graphic novel arrives on time and is forwarded to customers.

Please note, this process is not just one person’s work. It is a collaboration of dedication, harmonious agreement, and perseverance. This is a “we” process and it is not an industry for the weak of heart or those with mediocre resolutions. Critiques can be tough. Roadblocks such as illness, change of artistic talent, or delays in production – as well as a multitude of other traumas and dramas – can test the resolve to continue on. But, the outcome is worth it!

Holding a book that you were a part of can bring a wellspring of emotion. The smell of the ink and sleek pages as they slide – silky smooth – along your fingertips. Very memorable!

As you guessed, I admit again that my father was right – that it takes ‘a dream and a desire to succeed’ – and as my mother would add, “Holding your ground and then climbing the next great hill matters, too. So, keeping going and keep challenging yourself.”

My words of wisdom are: If you have a story swimming around in your brain, teasing your spirit, then it is important to write it, speak it, or share it in some way. “Lively boldly, my friends! Live your greatest wish as if it were your last moment on earth.”

Power up with Anne Elizabeth’s graphic novels: PULSE OF POWER and THE PENDULUM available now; or catch her next short comic – ZOMBIE LOVE – releasing Spring 2012 and her full length graphic – POWER PLAY – the third book in the PULSE series releasing early at the New York Comic Con in October 2012. For more information, check her Website.

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