Ah yes the process of creating a finished comic book page… it can be a treacherous and terror filled journey. With excitement, hope and creative enjoyment… followed by self doubt, horrifying realisation and soul crushing self loathing.
But the end result is a glimpse at achievement and it can be incredibly rewarding to just be able have a finished thing in your hands that you’ve drawn.
So whatever it is you need to keep yourself focused and trained on the job at hand, get it if you can in copious amounts (key ingredient is determination, apparently… I didn’t know that).
WildBoar is a comic I’ve been working on, on and off for a while.
The process is, I think fairly ordinary according to popular opinion.
First stage is the “writing a script” stage, which I won’t even attempt to cover in this post because I am terrible at it. As a person who has difficulty spelling his own name and conceptualising a full sentence without grunts, I would simply be wasting your time.
So for the sake of everyone’s sanity lets skip ahead.
From the script I scribble down layout ideas, the soul of the comic, usually all over the script page. Then go through and finalise them, most times never working larger then 8x5cm thumbnail roughs.
This however is my favourite part of the process, as it is very creative and rewarding as a comic appears before your very eyes in matter of days or even hours. In fact most of my own project never make it pass this stage.
Next is to create the skeleton of the page, the pencils. On which the rest of the process will anchor.
In the case of WildBoar I opted to do digital inks (more on that in a minute) so I have left the pencils rather loose and rough.
Here as well I usually indicate light sources, note any sort of colour effects will be added later, like smoke or liquids etc.
Once the pencils are done, or I can’t go through tearing it up for the tenth time. It gets scanned into the big machine and the page’s physicality now only imitated by the graphic tablet which will see it through the rest of the process.
Time for inking. Now like I said I’ve opted for digital inks, which I thought would benefit or suit the style of art I was going for and has turned out to be both a curse and a blessing.
Being infinitely editable and leaving you with a crisp line is sooo great. I did however find it to be quite time consuming and trying to “improvise’ ink lines is somehow not as natural. That may just be due to not having the feel of the paper and the magic of physical ink. Though the Intos 4 graphics tablet I use has some great nib types and the surface of it does offer a nice experience.
Now, or much, much later the inks are done, its time to colour. I apply flat colours or gradients and separating them according to character, background, objects etc. Try to keep the palette simple and assigning colour schemes to each page or scene. Anyway it’s pretty simple stuff.
The last stage of the artwork. I’ve tried to keep the shading simple as. So just a darkened cell shading type tone is applied, adjusting opacity to blend colours. Then slap some textures here and there. Mostly amongst some of the backgrounds to jazz it up a bit. Then I light the panels if need be and add smoke effects and other minor touches.
Then, finally… barley able to lift my arms, covered in moss and spider webs. I tear myself away from the monitor and swear never to look at it again.
Eventually I do return and cover the page in horrible, horrible dialogue boxes. Print it and hold it in my hands, proud to have done a thing.
Hurray for me.
…then I eat the page and run off howling into the night.
That is my horrible process. Thank you for reading.
Now that the first quarter of this year has crawled past, the larger projects are getting closer to catching up:
The first issue for WildBoar is now being finished off, gearing up for release (Inking the final page, polishing off the colours, signing the last dotted line to my deal with the devil etc).
- There have been some minor editorial changes to the script, which are actually in regards to my shockingly appalling dialogue. So the six page preview, which is spread around various corners of the internet, like a hideous fungus, has been upgraded. You can read it here or on my deviantart page or even on Facebook. –
I’ll soon be posting some ‘in-the-making’ crap and some more sketches (Plus a peek-hole look into Issue 2). Exciting!
Also soon to follow are announcements as to what other projects are coming up. Hopefully accompanied by art so they look less like lunatic ramblings.
Great news, short comic ‘Her Eyes’ featured in Cheeselord Comics – Product Of Society #5
Written by Jon Michael Lennon and art by Thor Fjalarsson, has been selected to feature in the Space Anthology 2012.
Check this out at http://backporchcomics.com/space.htm