Monday, March 25, 2013


Since I've shown you the stages of a page I'm not crazy about, I thought I should show you some I, actually, kinda like...

First the thumbnail.  Gotta love the conversation pages.  In this one everyone is seated.  It can be a little tricky, sometimes- positioning characters so that all the conversation flows and the word balloon order works.  In an attempt to speed up, I thumbnail pretty tight- first in pencil, then tighter in ink.  Often the doodles stray into the margins.  A hand or head or some other element won"t work within the body of the layouts.  See the hands at the very bottom? 

Well, the hands weren't the only thing that didn't work.  Once I enlarged and lightboxed the layouts I didn't care for the bottom panel.  It was a little claustrophobic.  So, to the sketchbook 

I didn't take a photo of the pencils, but here they are partially inked.  Notice, I, also, changed the seating chart.  The two vikings on the left side of the table have switched places.   And see, doesn't the last panel work better than in the thumbnail?   

Aaaaand, the inked page...

Wanna see another one?

Here's a shot of thumbs in pencil.  See the notes to tilt the first two panels?  I do that a lot.   If I like how the panel looks, I don't want to redraw it.  That's be hard and I might not get it right the next time.  That's what I like about doing it this way.  The blank page freaks me out a little.  Doing a lot of the work in the layouts I'm able to stay loosey-goosey.  I can get it down informally and monkey around with it later if I need to. 

Aaaand finished thumbnail.  Honestly, I shouldn't call these thumbnails.   They're too big.  They're just about print size.  See, what I did was, I scanned a Marvel or DC page with all the crop, bleed and lettering guides, cleaned it up and I print a stack of it reduced to 65%.  I rarely stay within those areas, but it gives me an idea of what to shoot for.

Once again, I didn't take a photo of the pencils, but here's the partially inked page.  In another attempt to speed up, I've moved away from inking everything with a brush.  Instead, I'll hit a lot of it with a no.2 micron.  This time I went a little overboard.  I feel pretty comfortable with a micron, but it'll never be brush.  The dead line of the pen kind of killed the face in panel 4. Time to break out the pro white and noodle with it to try and breathe some life back into it. 

In case you're womdering, I'm listening to Fela Kuti and africa 70 as I type this.  If you don't like Fela, I don't think we can be friends.

 Partial inks and white out on the face. It's working out ok. 

And what I thought was the final inks. 

Why the confusion?  Well, once I thought I was through with this page I noticed two things.  The first was panel 1 lacked depth.  The dry-brush on the trees in the foreground might highlight my mediocre split dry-brush technique, but it did little for the page.  So, I spotted some solid blacks.  Easy-peasy.

The second was the crazed fellow in the wig and dress was supposed to be covered in filth and leeches.  No small detail.   

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret.  I don't like reading scripts.  Now, let me be clear.  I like to read- prose, articles, essays, history, biographies and above all comics-, but the script form leaves me cold.  It strikes me as disjointed and it's difficult to maintain interest.  My mind starts to wander.  So, I sometimes don't catch everything the first read-through.  It's a nasty habit and I need to be better about it.  It'd save me a lot of redrawing and solve the speed problem I'm always whining about.

You may think this is odd, and it probably is.  How on earth could I ever become interested in drawing comics if I don't like the required reading for drawing them?  First of all, when I was a kid making comics with my buddies, the egg-head writers in the group would hand me a short story and I'd adapt it.  It wasn't until the DC published the Watchmen HC, complete with Alan Moore scripts, that my buddies and I knew what a real live comic script looked like. The only other method we'd ever heard of was Stan Lee's Marvel method of hackery and total dependance on the genius of Jack Kirby.   So, in the face of ignorance, we did what came naturally.  We did it wrong. 

Second, I love to draw comics.  So, I muscle though the things I might not be completer over the moon about.  I love drawing comics.

Do what I say, kids, not what I do.  Read your scripts.  Read them carefully.

Hope you enjoyed it.  And if you didn't, tough titty cried the kitty cause the milk's gone dry. 


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