Go get 'em. By Big Cartel.

Inside Out: 24 Hours in the Making

We make tools for artists because we’re artists ourselves, so side projects are especially important at Big Cartel. Inside Out features projects that feed our creative appetites outside of work.

Maybe you remember our software developer Brett Chalupa from his recap of helping out at Portland’s Independent Publishing Resource Center. Well, the DIY publishing scene has really lit a fire in his belly, and Brett’s back with a 24-page comic he created over 24 hours. After he’d gotten some rest, we wanted to find out how it all went down.

Brett, get us up to speed on your marathon comic book!

I’d heard about the 24-Hour Comic Challenge a couple of years ago, and it always sounded so fun. Doing something I love for 24 hours? I’m sold.

Since I’m still pretty new to making comics (about ten months in), I thought taking on the challenge would be a way for me to experiment and learn new approaches to making comics quickly. I planned out the challenge weekend a few months ago, and I’ve been preparing since then by working on comics every day.

I completed 24 comic pages in 24 hours (with an 8 hour break for sleep mid-way through). This included starting from scratch with the story and art.

The original challenge was proposed by Scott McCloud, and it’s turned into a global phenomenon each year on the first Saturday in October. I couldn’t wait til then, so I went ahead and made my comic in June.

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What did you think going into the challenge?

I’ve done game jams in the past (usually make a game in 48 hours or a week). They’re tons of fun and a great way to learn quickly.

I was most excited to see what I could make in a constrained amount of time and see what happens creatively under pressure. It was my first time participating in a 24-Hour Comic Project, so I was a little nervous and a lot excited.

I thought about shooting and editing together some sort of video during the process, and I’m happy to share that as well!

What did you to do get ready for your day?

Going into the challenge, I didn’t do any writing or sketching to explore the world and characters. All I brought with me was an inkling of an idea.

My process didn’t vary too much from the one I’ve been used for past and current projects. Except everything was done much quicker. And I knew the quality of my art would need to dip in order to get all of the pages done in time. It was essentially my normal process but super compressed!

My mantra the entire time was “finished not perfect.”

How closely did you manage your time, and would you change how you allocated it next time around?

I watched the clock like a hawk. Before the challenge began, I mapped out roughly how long each step would take so that I had markers along the way. Without that, I feared I would spend way too long on a given step that would eat up the time for the remaining steps. I ended up sticking to my initial plan pretty closely.

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Will you keep pursuing this story in the future?

I want to continue the story with the same characters in the future, but definitely over a course of time longer than 24 hours. I’ve been thinking about expanding the story, introducing new characters, and showing where Lavender and Huron (the main characters) go after this comic ends.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from the challenge?

The biggest lesson I learned is that I love making comics. That sounds kind of lame, but I’ve dabbled with a bunch of different creative hobbies over the years and kept feeling like I didn’t find my thing. After spending a full day working on comics, all I’ve wanted to do since is draw and tell stories. It feels like I’ve found my passion, which is a really beautiful thing.

Where can people find your comics?

Lavender [PDF] is the comic that I made in 24 hours, and it’s free to read online. All of my comics are collected together on my personal site.

See what else the Big Cartel team is up to these days.