`Round the world and home again, that’s the sailor’s way…

Phew.

After months and months (or years and years, depending on the context), I am FINALLY done with “Wonka Wonka Kochalka” (chapter one of Blink: So It Goes). Oh, sure, the art and story for the book has been done since the end of February. And the Gallery Show has been hung at Wild Goose Creative since the beginning of March. And the book has been printed since the end of March. But the last bit of creative energy was spent on that (seemingly) Everlasting Gobstopper of a comic yesterday afternoon. 

I have spent the past two weeks with my ass glued to the seat, writing and rewriting commentary and formatting and reformatting and search through my many many sketchbooks and selecting sketches and notes to be included in the book, Behind Sketchbook Cover [Color Copy] copyBehind The Sketchbook: The Making of Wonka Wonka Kochalka. My goal was to have it completed before SPACE, and that goal has been achieved. This “comic book commentary” book is also the last bit of creative work that I needed to get done in order to fulfill my  Kickstarter Campaign rewards. (I still have about a half dozen personalized drawings to do, but that’s another matter entirely—creatively speaking, that is).

So, what is Behind The Sketchbook?

It is what it says: a history of the making of “Wonka Wonka Kochalka.” It’s 40 pages of sketches and notes dating back to the creation of Blink herself (I start the whole thing off with the very first sketch of Blink from April 10, 2003) and then I ramble on and on with a very detailed account of what went into making the “Wonka” comic. From the very first inkling of the idea (it all began with a sketch dated February 24, 2004 with Blink reading a book and saying “Mm. Dreamy Kochalka”) until the bittersweet end, eight years later in 2012 (almost to the day).

Here are a few pages from the book:

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 I know this kind of detailed history of a single comic book isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe some die-hard Blink readers will buy it, I don’t know. I don’t care. I’ve been living with “Wonka” so long, I just had to get it all out of my system and this was the best way for me to do that.

And now it’s done.

But before I sign off from this post, I’m going to reprint what I wrote yesterday. It’s the last bit of commentary that appears in the book and I think it’s a nice send off to a story that’s been a long-time coming.

 

 “From The Beginning...”

Whew.

I am so glad to be done with writing this Behind The Sketchbook book! Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that I did it. The time and effort it took to put this “comic book commentary” together was totally worth it. Over the months it took to write and draw the “Wonka Wonka Kochalka” comic in 2011, I would tell people that the story had been knocking around in my sketchbook for years before. But I never felt that I was able to fully get my point across as to how much work I had already put into this story. How many years I struggled with a concept that had never been published—because it was never quite good enough and never meant to be published—until now. Now, this chapter of Blink is done and I can move on to the next one—the next chapter in the story of Blink (the character, compared to the story of Blink, the comic book).

Ugh.

I really can't stand writing this non-fiction, essay-type stuff. I try my best to be honest and true. Both to myself and the reader.

But I'm always worried about getting my facts wrong. Worried that the words I'm using are wrong. Worried the grammar's wrong. Worried the punctuation is wrong. (Thanks English teachers!) Worried that I'm being too loquacious and overstating my opinion. Worried that I'm missing some important tidbit of information that prevents my point from being crystal clear to the reader. Worried about... nothing.

I'm far more at ease writing fiction: slipping on the persona of some character I created and speaking through them.

But over the years of writing and drawing Blink, Sam and Hank, as I've gotten to know them through the dozen or so stories I've managed to complete and publish, through the hundreds of sketches and notes and...conversations I've had with them in my many many sketchbooks, I've come to accept that they have voices of their own and they speak through me. They have their own truths which they hold dear to themselves. And now with Kevin, Joshua and Amy, and a whole slew of new characters that will appear in the Blink graphic novels to come, there are more voices that will be heard.

More opinions to be expressed.

More truths to be revealed.

More honesty to be shared.

More sparks to be given life.

In the pages of a comic book.