Thursday, November 8, 2007

Jesse Reklaw's Constraints to Us (pp. 9-10)

Matt Madden unfortunately had to bow out from writing our last five constraints for this story, because he has a lot of other things going on for the next couple of weeks, and we're feeling uncharacteristically uptight about our deadlines. He suggested that we contact our friend and comics guru* Jesse Reklaw as a backup, and Jesse was good enough to provide us with a few fairly challenging rules for the home stretch of our story.

Here's what he's going to require us to do:

"1. Silhouettes. Incorporate a silhouette into every panel on the page. By silhouette, I mean either a solid black shape on white ground, or a solid white shape on black ground. The silhouette could be the foreground, middle ground, or background. If you want, you could use silhouettes in half the panels on the first page, and half the panels on the second page—in fact, I think that might look better. But it's your choice.

"2. Found art. The picture in one panel must be from a found source—drawn or photographed by someone else.

"3. Concealment. Something must be concealed on the first page that is revealed on the second page. Whoever goes first can't tell the other what is concealed! (So, the "revealer" might be revealing something that wasn't necessarily concealed by the "concealer.")

"4. Found dialog. An exchange of dialog overheard in real life must be incorporated into the story.

"5. Wordless. A sequence of at least three panels must use no words: no captions, dialog, thought balloons, etc. You can have signage in the background, though that's slightly cheating."

He adds this, as a postscript: "I tried to think of something involving a map, since that's what the story's about, but I couldn't. I just kept thinking of that great example in Matt's Exercises in Style where the comic is actually a map. Maybe you could reference that comic, as a bonus constraint, and as a salute to Matt, since he was your intended constrainer."

Those are some pretty good constraints: tough without being impossible. I think I can see a way to reference Matt's map-comic on p. 10, and I imagine Mike can see a way to satisfy the first constraint on p. 9. Expect to see some thumbnail sketches for the last two pages soon! Mike's up first.

*Seriously, some time I mean to make a post about how influential and inspirational Jesse was in our early decisions about making minicomics. I've got a lot to say about it. But this isn't the post for that.

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