March 9, 2011

Behind the Scenes

Thought you guys might like to see what goes into a page, so I figured I'd throw a step-by-step together.

It all starts with a script from Jason. He keeps his scripts very loose, so I tend to do a once over of it to get the jist, and then edit it so that it's in a format I'm comfortable with. Then I give it another read, and start picturing how I want the different scenes to look and feel.

I really enjoy doing a first draft with just panels. It gives my mind a chance to wander and imagine different compositions without nailing anything down, while at the same time defining the general emotion of the scene. All in all, this is probably my favorite stage; I've tackled the blank sheet of paper and turned it into something full of potential. Gets me excited just thinking about it.

Next up is thumbnails. I already have an idea of what I want out of each panel, so now it's time to check that it's going to work out. Things stay loose here, in case I decide to make any changes as I go. Believe it or not, I don't always get it right the first time out... ;)

I follow the thumbnails with some rough pencils. Somethings are well defined, and others are left very sketchy, it depends largely on my mood. This is probably the weakest point in my process, as I tend to leave details for when I'm inking, instead of dealing with them right away.

After the rough pencils are done, I send them to Jason for some feedback. Sometimes he's happy with what he gets, and sometimes I get a long list of corrections to make. Usually it's somewhere in the middle. He helps make sure I keep things authentic. Unfortunately I don't always understand what it is he's after, so it can take a few tries before we're both happy with the page.

Once Jason has given me the ok on the pencils, I start inking. This stage is pretty mercurial for me, mostly because my pencils vary so much between rough and finished work. For panels that I've really worked out, inking is a joy, and moves pretty quickly. For the panels that I slacked off on, inking is a chore. You'd think this revelation would be enough to keep it from happening in the future, but I think this is the 3rd or 4th time I've sworn to pencil things in full "next time". We'll see how that turns out in the future.

Remember how I said it can take multiple tries before Jason and I are on the same page? This is usually where that goes down. Often he'll let things slide in the rough pencils, assuming I'll get it right when I go through and ink it. When that doesn't happen, I end up redrawing things until we're both happy with the results.

Once I've got the inks finalized, I save the files and send them off to Jason to letter. My understanding is that he likes to work the Marvel way (plot first, then after the art is done, dialogue and sound FX). After that, the comic goes live on his site, and it's off to the next project!

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