Another round of high-5s, gang: the scripts are finished!!!
The last 3 are longhand in my go-everywhere red notebook but they are finished. Come to think of it, there should have been more celebration involved when that last word was written.
Except that the work is far from over.
Sure, I’ve got scripts but now I’ve got to actually draw them. This week I’ll start laying out the first 6 pages, the prologue. Funny thing, the chapter stories are all 16 pages long. So much for my 6-12 estimate! With a 3 page epilogue that brings us up to 89 pages of comics alone! Plus title pages, techniques and all the other stuff we’re talking over 100 pages to draw.
Guess I’d better get busy!
In the interest of sharing, here’s my usual process:
- Scripting. I used to do this with my weekly comics but it’s absolutely imperative with long-form. For instance, I didn’t determine one of the necessary kitchen features of the prologue until halfway through the prologue–major bummer if I’d had to go back and redraw pages because of that little detail.
- Layout. Some of my scripts are very specific about how many panels per page and others are more free-flowing, writing down the beats that need to be hit and the dialog and I make the panel decisions when I actually get to the page.
- Lettering. I hand letter. One reason is this keeps me from drawing stuff in a panel that’s just going to get covered up by words (working smarter, not harder!). The other reason is that I think hand lettering looks more organic with the page than even a font created from my handwriting would. It helps that I have good handwriting (being obsessive about my homework in high school paid off, folks!)–it’s not for everyone.
- Pencils. I do tight pencils. That means a lot of detail. It’s what I’m most comfortable with–I’m never as happy with my inks if I leave the pencils too loose and I’ve been known to prefer my pencils to my inks.
- Inking. This goes in two parts. Again, I start with the letters. Mostly because it requires different pressure on my hands than drawing figures. Same pen, different grip. It also goes faster. Figures are last and can take quite a while, switching to a smaller pen for the backgrounds. All told I probably draw everything 3 times. Then I spot any solid blacks there may be. I’m thinking of going to brush again for some of the lines, we’ll see when I get there.
- Scanning. Hello, computer. Depending on the size of my originals, I might have to scan them in parts and stitch them together in…
- Photoshop. See what I did there? I do very little work in Photoshop for my comics. Mainly I adjust the levels to drop out any pencil marks that made it through the scanning step (erasing is one of the worst jobs–if I had an intern that’s one of the things I’d make them do), adjust any glaring errors and resize it for print or web depending on the application.
When working long-form I like to work through each step through the whole work. In this case, 90 pages is a lot to do each in turn, so I’ll work through inking the lettering on each story chunk but hold off inking the figures until everything else is done so that there’s not a drastic style-difference between pages 1 and 90. Covers come last and, by then I should have my illustration list made up for the individual techniques and recipe spots.