I started drawing (and trying to sell) my comics when I was 15. I wasn’t specially good -between being a bit of a hermit, no internet tutorials, and a slightly over protective dad I was pretty much self taught. I still am, but now I actually talk to people and get their input on how to improve myself. Plus, I’ve got about 20 or so years of practice over my 16-year-old self 😉
My very first comic was a small strip I did for a baseball magazine. Unfortunately, most if not all of those strips are lost to time. If I find them, I might talk about them more another time. After that, and after renting Otaku no Video and learning that in Japan fans did their own comics in very small runs and showed them to the public, I thought “Why not?” and with the help of some friends back then I made Lyonesse.
It was… a bit of a mess.
Lyonesse was a story about a planet ravaged by war, three races in an eternal fight, and some magic thrown in between to show that deep down we’re all the same. It was divided in three parts, the first and second sold in 12 page, letter sized, photocopied issues (first issue had a run of 5 copies. I have no idea where my own copy is) -well, the second part had a couple of bigger issues, as it was published with Gaby Maya’s Pirates of Aquelonde’s first chapter. First part was 5 issues long, while the second part was about 4 and then the third part was published inside my other fanzine, Animanga, which is where you can say my career started to lift off.
Lyonesse was the first (and for a long time, the only, to my shame) story I finished. And once I finished it, I closed the file and tried to forget about it. From time to time, however, I remembered the characters and wondered if I could write their story better with my new experience and better art. Then I decide that it’s better to leave them as they are, a nice memory and a teaching experience.
Still, when people say that art requires “born” talent and not practice, I like to see that first Lyonesse issues (you can see the cover, done last century) and then, just to make the point clearer, I made the watercolor that opens this post in 2017. Practice does pay off 😉
Funny thing, though. I decided to make the watercolor off one of the most secondary characters. His name was Kyja and, while important to the plot, he LITERALLY only appeared in the third part, and in short flashbacks in the second. Still, he was one of the most interesting characters visually, and I had never done a full color illustration of him. So, 20 some years later, I had to give him his due.