October 12, 2018, by Brigitte Nerlich
Open Day: Planning, talking and inking
This is a re-post from Charli Vince’s blog. It continues the story of ‘Open Day’, a graphic novel about 3D printing with atoms and university life. You can read about how Open Day came to be and how it has been developing here.
Open Day has been chugging along since the project began many, many, (many many many) moons ago, but it’s only recently that we’ve been hitting some really exciting points in our journey.
In case you’re – for some mad reason – unfamiliar with the awesome project that is Open Day, I previously wrote up the basis of the project here, but in short: It’s a graphic novel, written by Shey Hargreaves and illustrated by me, with invaluable help from Prof Philip Moriarty and Prof Brigitte Nerlich (wrapping our heads around this project without help from professors? No thanks). It features two awesome main characters (Kim & Radhika) and Quantum Cat (who glows). You can find physics, intrigue, robots, and you may even learn something awesome.
I’m finally happy with the visuals! It’s taken a hell of a long time to get to this point, but for so long I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t happy with the overall look. I tried tweaking, small changes, new layouts, but what it needed was a total overhaul.
Linework technique, tones, and typefaces all got changed, now I am super pleased with how it presents itself.
Before it’s big redesign, Open Day also found itself on the coveted long list for the amazing First Graphic Novel Competition by Myriad Editions! We unfortunately didn’t reach the short list but being on the long list was such a huge honour and validation for our project.
This gave all of us such a boost, we knew then that not only is the project as awesome as we’d always thought, but it’s this special kind of awesome that’s viable for publishing and gaining interest with high profile, well respected publishers. It was this boost, this milestone, which prompted me to tackle the redesign in the first place. If we’d already got so close by reaching the long list, then any sort of push in that direction could get it to where it needs to be.
Below is the new and improved Kim and Radhika as well as a sample page as a teaser! Cleaner lines, more consistent tone, and we’ve also recently gone with a nice nicer font as well. The whole thing has had a nice big upgrade and I can’t wait to get working on the remainder of the novel.
I’ve also had the recent pleasure of introducing Kim, Radhika, and Quantum Cat to a wonderful audience of comic and graphic novel enthusiasts and creators at HotSource’s recent event in Norwich University of the Arts’ lecture theatre.
Photo courtesy of Paul Kirk of Paul Kirk Design. Goofy, mid-talking face courtesy of me.
I had such an amazing time talking at this event, meeting some great people, answering lots of interesting questions, and having the pleasure of speaking alongside two amazing creators. Chris Spalton, who spoke about his hilarious and infamously unique graphic novel, The Eelman Chronicles, and Stuart Scott, who took us all through his journey with self publishing his gorgeous collaborative comic, Impossible Tales.
I had the opportunity to not only go on and on about my love for science and art combining their strengths to create visually and factually fascinating pieces of work, but I also had the ideal chance to promote graphic novel itself! Open Day hadn’t had much in the way of promotion or marketing up until this point, it wasn’t quite at the stage that was ready for promotion. But now that we had a much fuller sample of work behind the project, it was ready for more people to see it and learn about it’s journey.
I also got the chance to show off our full colour splash page and mock up front cover – see the featured image above!
So what’s next on this project’s journey?
We have the sample pages, we have the front cover, the story, the plans, but what we really need now is the backing behind it. It’s ready to be seen by publishers, and since the response to it so far has been so amazingly positive, we are confident that it won’t take long before it’s snapped up.
We are all still incredibly passionate about what Open Day is hoping to achieve. Broadening the target audience for scientific discoveries, processes, and projects is our main goal with Open Day. For far too long the sciences have been a closed up subject, with only those with prior knowledge or particularly science-centric brains bring privy to it, or so it’s felt. It’s not like people and organisations haven’t tried and aren’t still trying to open this audience up, but often it’s format that’s not working, not the information.
Graphic novels are the ideal format to bring this information into wider audiences, taking fascinating and important projects and stories to more people than before.
If you want to support Open Day on it’s journey, all you need to do is stay tuned and share your thoughts on the project!
Any and all publicity and signal boosting it can get is most welcome, so please do share this on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, where ever you like and spread the word! You can find myself, Shey, and more info on the actual physics project featured in Open Day in the links below:
Charlie Vince (Illustrator):
Shey Hargreaves (Writer)