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Bridgeforth Design Embarks on Innovative Graphic Novel Project

January 13, 2016

Downtown art studio Bridgeforth Design has begun a partnership with fantasy writer Joey Collard to develop and pitch an innovative graphic novel called Solon. They have worked to create artwork to pitch to publishers and also for the development of a Kickstarter campaign that has already attracted 17 backers who will receive eBooks, signed hard copies, custom original Bridgeforth artwork and more for their contributions.

Touted as a "hybrid" graphic design, Collard aims to push the envelope of the creative format, introducing clues and easter eggs alongside context that includes real science in a fantasy setting.

"Carolyn Solon is a microbiologist who discovers a way to achieve unlimited amounts of fiery, superhuman energy through manipulation of a virus, which feeds on the calcium in a human body. She fights mythical beings and traces their origins using her uniquely perceptive abilities, so having large amounts of artwork lets me show you, the reader, exactly how she arrives at her conclusions: VISUALLY. "

As of this writing, about three weeks are left in the campaign, so show your support for one of Downtown Bristol's own!

We reached out to the creator of the series to talk more about Bridgeforth, Bristol, and how he is driven to innovate in this format: Mr. Collard writes,

"I learned about the Bridgeforths through their Abingdon Highlands Festival artwork. They did a beautiful fantasy poster to be the cover image for the festival.

The announcement mentioned that the Bridgeforths specialized in superhero/fantasy art. I read that fact just as I was looking for an illustrator for my graphic novel concept. I scheduled a consultation and was impressed with their passion for my idea as well as the quality and speed of their work. It was also attractive to work with someone local, so the community can be involved and I can talk to the artist in person about specific details.

The whole thing worked really well because we started the art just as I had tried out for the musical "Les Miserables" with Theatre Bristol. I was in Bristol pretty much every day for rehearsals, so it was easy to stop in beforehand and discuss any part of the project we were working on.

Between rehearsals and visiting the studio, I began to learn a lot about Bristol events. I went to BRRR, to several of the free concerts downtown, to a chili cookoff, to Steele Creek Park — I'm in Bristol at least once a week. I also attend a board game club at the Bristol Library. So I love downtown Bristol! There's just as much to do in Bristol as there is in the bigger cities, but with a more tight-knit community.

Some more about the graphic novel innovations:

The strength of artwork is to bring a scene, a character, a moment, to life.

The strength of prose is to lay out any number of details, with an UNLIMITED special effects budget.
Together, we can bring the complex science and intertwining plots of "Solon" to life in a way that neither format could do alone.

Brian often describes the artwork like a movie, where the realistically rendered characters almost seem to move before your eyes. But movies often skimp on the details of how things work, and those details are important to Carolyn Solon.

There will also be lots of easter eggs, where someone will have to read through multiple times to find all the hidden secrets in the art. Those secrets might be referenced in the text, or they might be bonuses in the panels only. Many of them add a hidden layer to the plot, or let the reader guess at a twist before it's revealed if they're following along carefully, or just give insight into how the characters solve a particular mystery."