In September, Tony Davis who was organizing Indie Comix Fest, 2019 at Kochi contacted me, asking me to participate in the fest. He said all I had to do was take prints of the cartoons which I have published on Instagram.
But I blurted out, “No. I will make a comic for the event!”. And that’s how it started, though the thought of creating a comic had been with me since childhood.
To this day I have kept with myself, many unfinished comics from years ago. What happens is, that I will have an idea, I will start drawing the first couple of pages, and then the enthusiasm would just fizzle away. But this time it was different.
This time I had a deadline to meet. And maybe working in the IT world for more than a decade triggered something in me. I don’t know.
But I started thinking about many stories. There is this one story called ‘Vulture’ or ‘Kazhukan’ which I was and am truly excited about. And another story called Manifesto, inspired by my school days. But these were larger stories and I was pretty sure I won’t be able to meet the deadline with them.
I have a long commute to the office, of course, this was during pre-pandemic days, and I listen to podcasts during the travel. And one night while driving home, the thought of stray animals trying to get an Oreo biscuit struck me.
By the time I reached home, I had the full story in my mind. And without losing any steam I rushed into writing the draft.
This idea of writing a draft fully first came to me from a blog post from graphic novelist David Jesus Vignolli, whom I had interviewed recently for my blog. I will certainly post that interview in the Niyet space soon. (David's Girl in the Himalayas I recommend highly:)
David, was in turn inspired by words from Stephen King in his On writing book, David wrote and I quote:
“I remember reading ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King, where he suggests completing the first version of the book as soon as possible, before we, as authors, become changed by our every flowing lives which transforms us into different people from we were when we started to write.”
This statement shook me. I was always stuck on the first two pages of my comic for a long time because I always thought those two pages were not strong enough. But what I needed to see was where this story was taking me, let the characters lead me to a story. And then look at the draft later and see if what I am reading is an actual story.
And the first draft of Gustoso! came out that night. And even though the advice is to keep on refining your first draft, apart from removing a few panels at the end which had some unnecessary levity, Gustoso! is very much faithful to the first draft.
So, my very inexperienced advice to anyone trying to write a comic is to finish that story that you have in your mind.
In the next blog, I will take you through the 3 step process, I stumbled across for Gustoso! and why a search for Oreo biscuit became a search for a fictional biscuit Gustoso! 😊
Sanid Asif Ali
You can buy the digital version of Gustoso! here: