The sequential art of R. M. Rhodes
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Looking back at the Lungs of the World

I have been making digital collage for the better part of a decade, long enough that I am comfortable and confident in my abilities – almost to the point of complacency. In the Spring of 2009, I decided that I wanted to try something different; I wanted to try making art with my own two hands. Something analog.
At first, the intention was to find out what I could do – what I could do well and what I couldn’t. As the pile of pieces grew, I made the mistake of thinking that I could take those pieces and turn them into comic pages (they were drawn on comic book backing boards, after all).
I envisioned a narrative set in a world where random colors and shapes in the background were commonplace and created a set of characters to populate that world. I came up with a story structure that I’ve always wanted to try and I pulled the whole thing together.
I’m not going to say that it was an unqualified disaster, but it certainly wasn’t my best effort. The most important thing I can say about the Lungs of the World was that it taught me a number of things.
First, I learned that I have to start with a story. This was probably what got me into the most trouble. The pages were just random doodles that I built up until they fit into the story that I was putting together as I went along. This is not an optimal way to make sequential art. Lesson learned.
Second, I learned with kinds of effects work and what don’t. I expect I’ll be exploring this in the months and years to come, but I don’t know how much of that will be for public consumption.
Third, I learned that I have some small ability to create characters that pop, visually. This is not insignificant. Good design can make a character iconic, which allows it to live beyond the timespan allotted by the pages that it starts on. This is absolutely something that I will be working to improve upon; it’s a skill worth cultivating.
Today, on Christmas, the last four pages go live. The story hangs together, after a fashion, but it’s closer to a heavily roughed in sketch of a narrative than a polished piece destined for retail sales. I am deeply grateful that webcomics allows creators like myself to present experiments to the reading audience with no real financial commitment, but my intention was not to fall flat on my face; but then again, it never is.
More than anything, the Lungs of the World is a cautionary tale, a reminder to myself that it’s okay to try new things, but that not everything I try has to go live.

I have been making digital collage for the better part of a decade, long enough that I am comfortable and confident in my abilities – almost to the point of complacency. In the Spring of 2009, I decided that I wanted to try something different; I wanted to try making art with my own two hands. Something analog.

At first, the intention was to find out what I could do – what I could do well and what I couldn’t. As the pile of pieces grew, I made the mistake of thinking that I could take those pieces and turn them into comic pages (they were drawn on comic book backing boards, after all).

I envisioned a narrative set in a world where random colors and shapes in the background were commonplace and created a set of characters to populate that world. I came up with a story structure that I’ve always wanted to try and I pulled the whole thing together.

I’m not going to say that it was an unqualified disaster, but it certainly wasn’t my best effort. The most important thing I can say about the Lungs of the World was that it taught me a number of things.

First, I learned that I have to start with a story. This was probably what got me into the most trouble. The pages were just random doodles that I built up until they fit into the story that I was putting together as I went along. This is not an optimal way to make sequential art. Lesson learned.

Second, I learned with kinds of effects work and what don’t. I expect I’ll be exploring this in the months and years to come, but I don’t know how much of that will be for public consumption.

Third, I learned that I have some small ability to create characters that pop, visually. This is not insignificant. Good design can make a character iconic, which allows it to live beyond the timespan allotted by the pages that it starts on. This is absolutely something that I will be working to improve upon; it’s a skill worth cultivating.

Today, on Christmas, the last four pages go live. The story hangs together, after a fashion, but it’s closer to a heavily roughed in sketch of a narrative than a polished piece destined for retail sales. I am deeply grateful that webcomics allows creators like myself to present experiments to the reading audience with no real financial commitment, but my intention was not to fall flat on my face; but then again, it never is.

More than anything, the Lungs of the World is a cautionary tale, a reminder to myself that it’s okay to try new things, but that not everything I try has to go live.

Posted 4 years, 4 months ago at 8:24 am.

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The Lungs of the World

I’ve always said that I can’t draw and I’ve always meant it. In the spring of 2009, I decided to find out exactly how badly I can’t draw.

I keep buying art supplies in the hopes that I can make interesting things with them, but I never do. Over the course of several weeks, I used those art supplies to make random marks all over a pile of comic book backing boards Рon the theory that if anything good came out of the experiment, I might be able to show it to people.

After a bit of tweaking and a lot of page shuffling, I finally figured out what kind of story I could tell with these random pieces that were not specifically designed to go together. I even had a page that gave me the name of the story – The Lungs of the World.

It’s an experiment, in every sense of the word. I was trying different techniques to see what worked, artistically. I used a classic story structure that I’ve always enjoyed, but one I’ve never tried before. I’m trying a new distribution method and I’m looking to apply the lessons learned from Weapons of Devotion – which ran in the spring of 2009.

There will be four new pages of content every Friday from July 10th through Christmas, 2009. It’s a complete, stand-alone story that probably won’t have any sequels, but I don’t like to make idle promises.

The webcomic can be found here. Enjoy!

Posted 4 years, 10 months ago at 9:46 am.

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The new webcomic

Posted 5 years, 3 months ago at 5:21 pm.

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