Tuesday, 18 September 2007

One Last Look

There's no right way to create a comic, but there does seem to be a best way. Most comic artists say that they taught themselves and that they arrived at their preferred method through trial and error. And apart from the odd superstition ("Only draw on the wrong side of the paper" or "Only rub the pencil out after the ink has dried for at least 18 hours") these methods are remarkably similar.

So here's mine. Not a list of rules, just a good way to turn that terrifyingly blank sheet of paper into a coffee-stained comic page.

Thumbnail sketch. This is only about 5 cm high, and usually one of several versions. If the comic's longer than a page, I write the story out first, and decide what will happen on each page. Then I try to fit the action into that page, working out how many frames it would need and how much can happen in each one.

Working on the paper I'll ink on (no time for tracing or redrawing), I draw the sizes of the frames and rough sketches of the action, and work out where the speech bubbles will be. I put the text in at this point.

Then I draw all the stuff that goes around the speech bubbles neatly.

Inked page, with pencil rubbed out. The crosses are to remind me which areas will be solid black. Rubbing out pencil can sometimes remove some of the ink off the page, so it makes sense to have as little to retouch as possible.

Final page, with all the black filled in.

If you like this geeky side of comic appreciation, have a look at comic tools for shots of people's drawing tables and info and opinions about different papers and pencils and pens.

Jessica Abel has a great tutorial about comic making in the DIY section of her Artbabe site as well.


Heather Moore said...

Oh, that's fantastic! What a brilliant use for all the bits of paper that go unnoticed before the beautifully rendered final gets printed. Thanks so much for revealing your process. Fascinating

Cristina said...

Fantastic Jesse! You realy gave me the desire to try to see if i could do it...man i've got to much knitting to do ;)

Freshly Found said...

Thanks for showing us the process and sharing your talent and hard work! I really enjoyed that.