Category Archives: Benne and the Timemonks
Benne and the Timemonks A Graphic Novel by Rick Saenz
Chapter 1 Benne Finds The Door Page 1
Benne and the Timemonks follows the adventures of a tribe lost in time that discovers the past is catching up with the future. The monks of the valley are keeping a secret that threatens to destroy them all. A chance discovery invades the minds and bodies of our protagonist and the animals of the forest.
Don’t forget to share! Click for Hi-Res version. Available as an e-book and printed Summer 2018 (approx).
UPDATE: 10/11/2017 – I redid the thought balloons and reduced the size of the text. The reason being I was having trouble fitting more text on subsequent pages.
Benne, what’s she made of?
I wanted to blog some background on the project before I go live with the graphic novel’s first page. The plan is to publish pages as I go from an outline. That means that the ending, if there is one, might come from suggestions, dreams, or real life. So far, I have a few pages complete.
Took some time to get a look and a pipeline. Many have said it better, but you can learn to do anything on the internet. What I learned is I can take my vivid and lucid dreams to make a graphic novel.
One of the main characters is a girl named Benne. She lives in a small village far outside the larger city where the Timemonks live. Others will appear in the story, but I haven’t breathed life into them yet. There will be other protagonists and plenty of antagonists to keep our heroine busy.
I’ll go into character development in a separate post, but I’m just now understanding what this world is and what it might signify. It definitely comes from dreamland.
The pipeline for creating the panels of the graphic novel consists of mainly the following software:
If all goes to plan, all that investment gets paid back. Originally, I was trying to make mobile games, but that feels like work. Maybe there’s licensing or a movie in there somewhere! No need to get one’s hope up. I’ll just have fun putting thoughts to pixels.
Reallusion iClone is a real-time 3D animation software for creating characters, animating them, adding them to scenes and in my case, rendering stills while the characters are set in motion. Weight maps and physics allows hair to wave in the wind and for clothes to not look as stiff.
The characters are some parts iClone Character Creator and some parts Maya. You can export from iClone to Maya and back using FBX. So you don’t have to settle for the stock characters from iClone. I prefer to create the clothes myself as the clothing meshes in iClone are a bit limited. I scroll through a lot of Pinterest to get (steal) ideas.
Typically, I scrub the iClone animation timeline until I get something that looks about right. Then I back it up a few seconds, hit play and then pause. This gives the scene a natural look instead of stiff poses. Butterflies and dust can be randomly floating around and grass and trees can be swaying in the breeze. Character’s heads may be turning just so or their eyelids are squinting.
At some point I will create a video to demonstrate how I create some of the scenes. Though, like any behind the scenes video of movies it’s all green screens and just enough props to fill in the canvas.
You can also play with your characters faces and get stuff like this:
You can see how the hair and her blouse collar are moving in the breeze. That randomness keeps you from having to pose it “just” right. Post render processing in Photoshop to get the look. Then a little SketchBook to enhance the outlines using my Surface Pro.
I took inspiration from MC Hammer, looked for some patterns on Pinterest and came up with the following outfit for one of the antagonists:
The original version of this character was too creepy. Though this fella has a bit of creep as well.
Most scenes that are tight shots are iClone but wider vistas are Unity the 3d game software. You can export your poses from iClone to Unity if like in my case you have some large terrain that would end up being too big to import into iClone. Though compositing a Unity render as a backdrop to iClone is another way to create a scene. With realistic shadows as well.
That’s it for now, but look for more in depth posts on iClone, Maya, Unity and how I tie it altogether with Photoshop and InDesign.
Writing a Graphic Novel / Webcomic
Hi. I’ve always wanted to make a graphic novel or webcomic and hopefully once I get enough pages done put it up for sale. So this blog is about the journey there.
I’ll post the first page shortly and then other pages as I make them. I’ll discuss how I did it and what techniques I used. I’ll write about the creative process and how difficult it is to push through and just do it.
Lastly, I hope to get back to creating art just because.