Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Comics Process Part 2

If you haven't yet seen part one, please check it out here!

So since part one, I have drawn thumbnails for my pages. The thumbnails are atrocious, mostly just scratches and near stick figures. The thumbnail process is essentially doing long hand division by hand on scratch paper before writing the final answer on an exam. On the thumbnail stage, I need to make sure the page make sense and carries the story. Once I'm confident it will work, I start penciling, ruling out panels, then inking.

Here's what I've come up with so far:

Page 2 of 8

Page 3 of 8

Page 4 of 8

The first thing I like to do is rule out the panels. I use a ruler and pencil them, then I set the ruler aside and rule it by hand. I actually was thinking of just digitally ruling my panels for precision, but since my portfolio review with Jen Vaughn, she made me see how well it complements the art in a hand done style.

After I ink the panel borders, I start penciling the pages. I think part of the reason I've been so pokey slow with this project is because I've been working  in sequence. Since I have a script, I have thumbnails, I don't really need to work in sequence. My last project, Clashing Swords, I think I worked faster for two reasons. 1) I worked on 8.5"x11" pages and 2) I jumped around to the pages that intrigued me at the time. Opening this comic has been a little tedious, which is why I haven't inked page 1 yet. If I start page jumping, I think I'll get moving a little quicker.
Regarding paper size, I actually switched from 8.5x11 to 11x14 after inking two pages. I felt things were getting too tight on such small paper, and needed to move up. Also, with  every new project, I'm trying to add one or two new tricks to my bag. For this project, I want fuller backgrounds, which means bigger paper. Redoing two pages kind of killed some of my drive. But now that I have three complete pages, and page one is coming along, I have mojo again.

Seeing your finished work pile up builds mojo. It's like magic. I remember having the pile of pages for Clashing Swords, plus interior spot illustrations, and the cover and feeling like I just did a triathlon. I think that's what drives those artists who make Odyssey or Ulysses size comics.

Now it's 1:05am, and time to crash. Hoping to get page one completed, then I'm going to return to the script and see which of the final pages excites me the most and get cracking. My deadline for this project is August 1st, which means wrapping up by the 15th so I can set time aside for toning, lettering, and file prep, then finally printing and putting together the books.

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