The Ravages of Time, Chen Mou’s Seven-Step-Process
First Step, Conception
Without the blossom that is Romance of the Three Kingdoms, there won’t be the green leaf that is The Ravages of Time. But a new version of this classic tale requires new storytelling methods. Strategy is a premise in Ravages, because that is the essence of Three Kingdoms. I shall play a stand-in military adviser in each camp and start to blow smoke.
Second Step, Drafting
It generally takes about 1~2 hours of conceptualizing for each chapter. I then cram all of those words and pictures on one sheet of A4 paper. I doubt anyone besides me can understand the content of that paper.
Third Step, Prelude
I arrive at the office around 10AM. I will first read some magazine – usually about video games or soccer – and then start working with those topics hot on my mind.
Fourth Step, Drawing
I can probably draw about 1~2 pages before lunch. Then I help my assistants with adding the finishing touch on clothing, background and special effects.
Fifth Step, Finishing
I leave work around 6:30PM. Once at home I will use the computer to add tones or other effects. For about an hour every night I can finish 3~4 pages. After that I play a little video game, watch some soccer and news before I sleep.
Sixth Step, Completion
After a week or so I turn in the pages to be printed by the editorial office. I write the dialog on the printed pages, from which the company will finally know what the chapter is about. Lastly the editorial office will handle the layout work.
Seventh Step, Interaction
Once the chapter is released, the company will print out online fan discussions for me to read. There are so much material, enough to make a book. I never managed to read all of them, but I loved what I saw. Sometimes they fill in the details that I overlooked, or strengthen my resolve. The readers are getting smarter; more and more they’re getting better understanding of Three Kingdoms…