Drafting a comic

5 Jan

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes look at my comic-creating process, in case anyone’s interested. I love reading this kind of thing from other artists.

Once I’ve come up with one of my genius story ideas, I write out a beat sheet (kind of like a list of the key points in the story). Then I write out the script, breaking it into panels and pages–a delicate process. Each page can fit maybe up to 12 panels, but it must make sense as a single page of action, and capture a specific mood and rhythm. I also try to end each page with a natural ‘rest’.

My scripts are very bare, since I do all my own art–I don’t need to communicate artistic ideas with anyone else, and I flesh most of the visuals out when I’m drawing drafts rather than scripting. Maybe I would get better results by writing out some art direction, but I find this effective enough.

The next thing I do is make rough thumbnails of each page, to make sure everything fits, and to get an idea of how to compose the panels into a page that flows nicely.Image

These are super crappy and rough. I never used to even draw the action in the panels at this point, I’d just sketch out where the squares were gonna go–I find drawing thumbnails super boring. This means that I spend a lot of time erasing stuff, whiting stuff out, and swearing during later stages. I know I’d save time by drafting more thoroughly… maybe this can be a new year’s resolution.

Anyway, as I’m drawing thumbnails I might find that some pages are too squishy and rushed, or too empty or whatever, so the script tends to change a bit here.

Next, I do full-sized pencil drafts of every page. I should probably do more comprehensive thumbnails, too. I’ll let you know when I’m done I guess!

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