I bought a Yiynova MSP19U tablet monitor.

I gotta admit, I was really hesitant to go with an “off brand” graphics tablet. I was seriously considering the Wacom Cintiq 13HD. Then I found this review by Ray Frenden and decided to take a chance (and save about $400). I’m glad I did too, because Frenden posted this review a few days ago, where he explains why he’s sending his Cintiq 13HD back and keeping the MSP19U as his primary tablet.

Wacom Intuos3 pen tablet

Wacom Intuos3 pen tablet

I have a Wacom Intuos3 pen tablet. It’s the kind that maps your screen, so you can draw on the tablet’s surface and watch it appear on your monitor. It’s a good tool, and when I’ve used it for a while; I feel like I start to see some decent stuff happen. But I can’t–not 100%–get over the disconnect of not seeing my work follow behind the trail of my pen. Plus the illusion of precision is gone, and I’m a bit of a control freak, so I get frustrated. On the one hand, it forces me to loosen up, but when I go back to pen on paper, I’m immediately reminded of the detail I just can’t seem to get with the pen tablet.

My first attempt at a poor man’s Cintiq was an iPad and a cheapo stylus using Procreate. It actually works pretty well. I did this, this, and this with the setup. Then, on the advice of Joel Watson of Hijinks Ensue fame, I bought a Pogo Connect. It took me even closer to the Cintiq experience (as I imagine it, anyway). Still, I didn’t have the control I wanted, and, maybe it’s just because of me and my ignorance, I was inventing a lot of complicated workarounds to achieve the same effects I’d get with minimal effort in Photoshop.

Anyway, I’m hopeful that Yiynova will get me somewhere in the middle of control vs. looseness. So far, I like it quite a bit, especially with the FRENDEN brushes. It’s going to take some patience and practice though, and I’ve never shown a penchant for either…

So does this mean the Moose Rider is still gonna be a thing?

I hope so, but not right away; I have another idea I want to do first. It’s called Dense and it’s a superhero story. I’ve started the script and have layouts for the first two pages, I have a treatment drafted for the final arc of the story, and character outlines sketched out with actors attached to the roles (meaning I know who I want the characters to look like–please don’t sue me, famous people). I like the plot and I think I’ve come up with some interesting and unique dilemmas for the characters to face, as well as a whole bunch of bullshit science to explain everything. There’s gonna be lots to complain about, but hopefully it’ll be a fun story too.

Here’s the script for the first page:

CHAPTER 1: “TGFs”

1) EXT. SKYSCAPE – NIGHT

We’re LOOKING UP at the bottom of a commercial airliner, tiny against a backdrop of dark, menacing clouds.

CAPTION

12 HOURS AGO...

2) MEDIUM SHOT

The nose of the plane pushes through the rain which falls at an extreme angle in the direction of the jet’s flight.

3) CLOSER

We can just make out the SHAPE OF A FACE looking out a window over the wing.

4) CLOSER

An OLD WOMAN stares out the window with a worried expression on her face.

5) INT. PLANE

A MAN sits slumped in his chair, eyes closed. Sweat running over his forehead and down his face. The old woman at the window looks over with concern as she squishes as far away as she can.

MAN

Unghh...

6) SAME SHOT

There’s a LOUD THUNDERCLAP and the old woman whips around to look back out the window. The man grimaces in his seat, still asleep.

F/X

SHHH-CRACK!

OLD WOMAN

Oh dear!

MAN

(small text)

Arrghh...

7) EXT. MED. SHOT OF THE PLANE

Which has been struck by an eerie blue-green BOLT OF LIGHTNING from above and a mysterious BEAM OF ENERGY from below

As mentioned here, the Moose Rider is influenced (heavily) by Stephen King’s the Dark Tower series. In that post, I asked for people to call me out when the similarities to King’s series were too close. Granted, aside from the half-scribbled sketch I posted of the Moose Rider, no one’s seen or read anything about the story. But I ended up calling myself out on a number of too similar things. I figure stepping away helps me in 1 of at least 2 ways: either the distance will lessen the strength of the influence of Mr. King’s work, or it’ll blur the line between what I think up and what I unconsciously steal from him (please don’t sue me, Mr. King).

So how long until you see the first page of Dense?

I have the first two pages laid out, and I started inking page 1 last night. It’s more like practice inking at this point, because I’m still learning how to use my tablet and Manga Studio 5. I’m also trying to refine a style that I’m happy with and which is simple enough that I can turn out a page a week. I’m hoping to start posting the last week in August. Here are the roughs though, you know, for proof:

Dense_v1p1-2_[roughs]

The rough layouts for “Dense” volume 1, pages 1 & 2