The Scratchboard Comic Project celebrted its first birthday (kind of) yesterday! Quite fittingly on Palma De Mallorca, the capital of Las Islas Baleares, which is exactly where we were one year ago, when the 266 page long script was finished in this little corner bar:
(Unfortunately it was close when I revisited it)
The Scratchboard Comic has multiple birthdays, actually. It was first concieved of in the fall of 2012 when I was working on the OCF schooners in Portland, Maine and spent my evenings and days off roaming the streets in search of beer and coffee shops with my friends Woody and Brandon (they were also in search of the famous coffee shop girls who, curiously, were all named Melissa) and happened to come across a splendid art supply store where we started hanging out since Woody and I got into etchings (mostly etchings of dolphins with slogans such as “you think you’re so cute, stupid dolphin”) and I found the Ampersand scratchbord, and realized I could actually start making a scratchboard comic. I had gotten into scratchboard when I was around 14 years old, but all the major suppliers in Europe shut down their production right around then so I was confined to buying up deadstock supplies whenever I could come across them. I had also started drawing some sort of epic, monumental comic several times, but the time, and my age, were never quite right. Now, however, it all lined up perfectly, so I started working on the script, scrabbling down my “life story” in chronological order for the years I wanted to cover in the comic.
The Speckled Ax coffee shop in Portland with a coffee shop dude, probably not named Melissa. Here both parts of the first script was composed, and subsequently the first three pages were drawn. Also, excellent coffee was drunk.
Photo courtesy: the internet
The Snug, a location crucial to our lives back then, where parts of the first script was composed. Could I name only one place as the Best Bar on Earth, The Snug would be it. Hell, they even have a retarded dog there. How many bars do you know of that come with a retarded dog? Not many, right?
Photo courtesy: the internet
This process continued for two or three months and was finished in the house of Captain Flansburg, outside Union, Maine, where I was visiting to scrimshaw a spermwhale’s tooth together with Matt Lohan, who had come up to hang out and help me to straighten out the script. The impulse to involve Matt in the process had come to me suddenly and proved to be some excellent intuition on my part. Without the discussions Matt and I had while baking bread, chopping wood and hiking up mountains in the beautiful December Maine weather, this comic would have looked drastically diffrent (and not so to the better) today. Oh so many beautiful people that have been involved to help me with this! Often I feel so isolated in this project, but clearly, I just need to look back more frequently to remember where it is born from.
The scrimshawed sperm whale tooth
The next step of the Scratchboard Comic was me drawing the first 9 pages, the first three in Portland, Maine again, where Matt Lohan and I lived briefly on the then ice cold schooner Westward together with Rob and Elise and their two dogs. After some crazy blizzards my patience with the weather was done for (now I usually don’t mind blizzards, but blizzards when living on steel schooners without heat are a diffeent deal) and decided to head south for the winter. I only made it to Delaware for different reasons, and ended up staying on Kalmar Nyckel for a while, and there I drew four or so pages. Drawing was slow back then.
Westward in Portland, Maine
I then paused production after returning home to Sweden and then working all summer onboard Götheborg, which required all of my mental capacity. I resumed work again in September 2013 when I realized I had to line out the whole story and make sketches for it before I started drawing again. This was done while living in a small house in Mölnbo, an hour south of Stockholm, together with a friend and old mate of mine, Sören, his wife Helena and their son Fritiof. Roughly 2/3 of the script was written there.
More specifically, in the kitchen of the yellow house to the right.
Then, in mid October, I started working on Gunilla, the ship where I still work, and did the same trip I’m doing this year, and finished the last 8 sketches in the bar pictured above, was so moved by the occasion that I spelled “The End” wrong, went and had dinner, went back to the ship and started drawing page 10. And that was one year ago, yesterday.
And here we are today!
My deepest thanks to each and everyone who has been and who are involved in this project, in whatever capacity.
Detail from page 77
Current page count: 79 of 113 (part one)