So far on Haikucomics, we have covered the motivation for this project, chosen the folklore that the story will be based on, and learned to incorporate elements of haiku in the comic medium. Now that all the ingredients have been laid out, it’s time to start cooking! The marathon of sketching and thumbnailing began as I alternated between working in the studio and drawing on location, intertwined with frequent visits to the library.
After returning to Vancouver, I found out that we have a Japanese garden in our city as well! Needless to say I was thrilled to take advantage of the Nitobe Garden at University of British Columbia.
The most difficult part was trying to figure out to what new direction I’d take the old folklore. On this, I meditated for months.
At one point I put a snake and a hare in the story to symbolize the early stages of the protagonist’s spiritual journey.
At another point the whole comic was one loonnnggg scroll – an idea I’m still quite fond of.
While drawing at the Nitobe Garden, the many visitors there with their fancy professional cameras gave me the idea that the main character should be a photographer, with his camera symbolizing the bow, since both items require the act of ‘shooting’. Plus, what’s a better symbol for memory (of his lost wife) than a camera?
After many many rounds of sketches and thumbnails, A Beloved Wife, a Bow, a White Bird finally began to look like the way it does today.
Having read and learned about haiku poetry, I decided to mimic its signature 17-syllable format by making the comic 17 pages long, with a break at the fifth and twelfth page, and a stylistic change after the twelfth page acting as the ‘cut’ in haiku poems.
With the pagination and thumbnails laid out, the next step is to focus and execute! Next time on Haikucomics I will show off some things I did that makes this project a little different from other comics in the execution process. Stay tuned!