When I first started working on the outline for El Deafo, I called it EL DEAFO: A Semi-Autobiographical Superheroic Love Story (with Hearing Aids!). I’m glad I shortened the title. Who needs all those extra words? Not you, Dear Reader.
I thought you might like to see a bit of my process. It took me a long time to find my groove on this project. It was my first graphic novel, after all, and the learning curve for me was steep. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, the graphic novelists out there who do more than one of these puppies are amazing people with a seriously keen work ethic. Whew. Anyway, I might share some of my frighteningly overdone earlier attempts later, but here’s an example of how I was working once I did find my groove.
I’m going to focus on Chapter 15 in the book, which was about my not-so-great experiences in Physical Education class.
Here’s the paragraph for the P.E. chapter from one of the early outlines that I submitted to my editor (the lovely Susan Van Metre) in the early days of this project :
Then, I started drawing these little itty bitty pages. Small is good because it keeps me looser. (I’m going to focus on two pages from this chapter (5 and 6), otherwise you would be bored out of your mind.) I like using lined paper because it doesn’t threaten me the way beautiful clean sheets of unlined white paper do.
Then, I recited “I must, I must, I must remember my bust” before moving on to the more detailed drawings. (I’m sure there’s more in between what’s above and what’s below, but I can’t find it! LOTS of back-and-forth with Susan) Here’s page 5 and 6 again. You can see that there’s stuff highlighted and circled—edits and suggestions and corrections from Susan and her helpful staff at Abrams.
Once the pages were approved, I inked ’em (actually, I didn’t start inking until ALL the pages of the book were approved, and then I did it all in one fell swoop). I also made sure the fonts were changed to the ones that I created just for this project.
And then I wept tears of joy. If you get the book, you could compare what it says in the outline to the final chapter! That might be kinda cool.
Only 5 more days to go! Thank you for reading all this stuff. I hope it’s been interesting to you!
Also…Tom and I will be at the Decatur Book Festival this weekend. Stop by if you’re in the area!