Last week I finished No Slack November and used the artwork to develop my next book. I created a page a day of inked and colored artwork for one month resulting in 30 daily posts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The artwork helped tell a 22 page scene from the graphic novel I am working on with a friend, The Great Milkshake Heist. It is a book for kids between the ages of 6-10. My final post during No Slack November was an announcement that the story went live on my website. You can read the whole thing at nicmcd.com/newreleases! Book

Combining my efforts from No Slack November and Inktober, I drew every day for 60 days using my Wacom tablet and Photoshop. It is amazing to see how far my digital inking skills have come in that time! One of my friends, Tyler Walpole, asked me a good question last week about my process. He asked why I felt I needed to switch to digital inking from pen and paper. I answered that it is cheaper than buying bristol paper and Staedler Fine Liners all the time. It saves me from the hassle of storing ink drawings. It seems more widely used in the animation field and I see myself working at Warner Brothers or Cartoon Network someday. I want to stay competitive with other creatives in the field. Also: APPLE + Z!

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Quick character drawing to keep things fun while creating my book.

My next project has less emphasis on final artwork so I am curious as to how I will keep my drawing hand warmed up. I thought about launching another 30 day challenge but I am currently moving into a house I bought. It seemed like overkill. Instead, I plan to post more involved illustrations every couple weeks. If I want to do a four panel comic each week I can. I may pepper in little character studies if I feel like drawing those too. It feels great to just draw something cute without a lot of thought behind it.

The next challenge is to complete the 120 page dummy book for the Great Milkshake Heist. A dummy book is a rough mock-up of what your book will look like when it’s complete.

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This is an example of a dummy book from artist, Norm Feuti, author of The King of Kazoo. You can view his art at www.normfeuticartoons.com.

It doesn’t need to be refined or perfect as long as it represents the story and how you want to tell it. In fact, many publishers prefer a rough dummy over a polished one because it allows for more collaboration and flexibility when the book is picked up. Having an awesome story with a beginning, middle, and end is the goal when making a great dummy book.

I will have my dummy book for The Great Milkshake Heist finished by the end of February. That’s 12 weeks from today. I expect high intensity workloads because I will also be creating and posting final artwork on my social media channels.

Wish me luck! Byeeee!