My first graphic novel, Starblood, came out on May 29th 2015. Illustrated by Anna Dmitrieva, the story was adapted from
the novel of the same name that was published back in 2012.
I would like to talk a little about the process of converting the novel into the graphic novel.
In addition to the normally expected issues to be considered, about how language can be interpreted differently by the
reader, English is the second language of my artist, so I had to ensure that instructions were clear and unlikely to have
more than one meaning that could be corrupted by a translation tool.
The graphic novel is much shorter than the novel so the next thing I had to bear in mind was what to keep and what to
lose. I chose to concentrate on three characters’ story arcs. We agreed the concept art for these three characters before
we started on the panels, but we still needed to make a few changes at each stage of the process.
After the character sketches I wrote a script for the graphic novel. My artist, Anna, first hand-sketched the idea for each
panel and then created the final art. This was vital as for many pages her vision and mine varied significantly. Sometimes
my vision won out and at other times I agreed with her changes. In this way the graphic novel is very much a
Before writing the script I did plenty of research, both of finished graphic novels and of scripts I had been lucky enough
to obtain. I used certain industry standards, such as capitals for text that appears on the page and lower case for
descriptions of how images should appear.
At this point some examples from the script I handed to my artist might be useful and of interest.
“1. We open with a ¾ page image of a room. The room contains a single bed, a wardrobe and the floor is bare boards.
Everywhere (walls, floor, ceiling) magical symbols have been scribbled. Satori stands naked in the room in a magical
circle. On the bed we can make out photos of a woman’s face – Star. In Satori’s hand he holds a dagger with gems on
the handle and a wavy blade.
SATORI: THIS IS MY WILL
In the final ¼ of the page a woman is stepping through a rift in reality. Behind her we can make out swirling chaos. This
woman is Lilith. She too is naked and she is also completely hairless at this point with bright green eyes.”
I numbered the pages but just left a line between scenes, or panels. I kept the same format throughout the process.
“4. The man is on his knees. Lilith towers above him. His knife is held between her thighs like a dildo and her face is full
of rage while his is terrified. We can see the moon above them.
LILITH: SUCK MY COCK!
CAP: HE PLEADS WITH HER TO SHOW MERCY. HIS BROKEN TONGUE SPITS PROMISES HE WILL NOT KEEP.
EXQUISITE SCREAMS OF AGONY ECHO THROUGH THE ALLEYWAY AS SHE MAKES HER VIRGIN HOLE AND
FUCKS HIM UNTIL HE STOPS TWITCHING.”
The script took about two months to write, but the novel had taken 18 months, so no doubt a script from scratch would
take longer. The art took over a year from concept art to finished pages, 15 months to be exact. During that time the artist
and myself were in contact almost daily, discussing what was needed and making changes as the work progressed.
And that is pretty much it. Finding the right artist and establishing a suitable form for two way communication are tricky
but essential and the rest is trial and error until you get something both are happy with and proud to own.
Now Anna and I are doing the same with Psychonaut.