The process of making my first Graphic Novel was a difficult one: balancing work-life commitments and also getting artists to agree on a unified vision was tough at times; but it was a very enriching and rewarding process. I think first and foremost, the most important part of the creative process is having a great Team! It was my first time managing a team of concept artists, so it was a lot of learning by doing. Sometimes that’s the best way to learn: “act-reflect-act”, as my professor and professional storyteller Chris Cavanagh used to say. I am so grateful for working with such talented and visionary concept artists; and a team that is trustworthy, respectful, down to Earth and have an awesome creative drive! The Creative process of translating a 200 page book, into Script form, and then into a graphic novel format with scene break downs and storyboard panels was interesting and really time consuming…something I’d never done before, as a writer or visual artist. We drew upon a wide range of creative resources: stock and reference photography; Skype discussions and calls; contemporary graphic novels and films; poetry and books about environmental issues; artwork by other artists for inspiration; and personal meetings and discussions. Working with a project workplan, with timelines and different roles and due dates for each artist definitely was an important tool for keeping the Earth Charter Team on track. One of the greatest challenges was working with a limited budget: so the process of writing and submitting grants and funding applications, as well as crowd sourcing platform sites, was critical to the Graphic Novel’s success and our ability to pay our own salaries.

Essentially the Team followed this process:
1. Work on some general concept designs and sketches of characters, background/layouts, and share these; then

2. Take the Script and scene synopsis and break it down into Chapters, to make it manageable for each Concept Artist; then

3. Make rough storyboard panels for each chapter using agreed upon scenes and character concepts; and…

4. Finish all the rough storyboard panels, and add in the captions/dialogue boxes; then next…

5. Edit the Graphic novel as a consistent whole using InDesign; then finally:

6. Complete all final edits and make the colour palette and styles, characters, layouts fairly consistent between each chapter; then finally:

7. Voila: print and sell the graphic novel through e-books, comic book stores, and at various book stores, art galleries and centres. The process of making the first edition of this Graphic Novel was a complex and multi-layered one, but we learned tonnes and it improved our skills as concept artists, storytellers, designers and visual artists. Perhaps most importantly it bought us closer together as a Team. – Les Luxemburger, Creator, Writer and Concept Artist

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