Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ants Webcomic Process Step One

I've been meaning for some time to do a step-by-step walk through of putting together a page from my webcomic. I usually don't have the patience to stop and scan a page while working on it- I just keep plugging away. However, I got started on next week's page a whole 5 days early (yeah, I'm impressed too) and thought I'd try to at least give you some idea of the process and what it looks like. I might be patient enough to post another one of these before the page goes live next week...

Step one is pencils. I usually do a thumbnail of the page before pulling out the Bristol Board, but this time I already had two of the four images in my head (the first and last frames). I needed a talking heads shot to progress the story, and I wanted the moment with the pistol in here as well. I thought at first that handing off the pistol could wait until next page, but found a way to fit it here as well.

I start by squaring off my borders, creating a space 7 1/2" tall and 10" wide to work on. I then rough in my panel borders based on the images that are going in. For this page, I drew panel four first, then panel one, followed by two and finally three. As a process, I'm trying to think of blacks first, and where I'm going to lay down heavy black areas. Since it's a night scene, the upper parts of the panels will be all black, with the negative space in the lower portions of panels.

As I'm drawing, I'm working through variations on the dialogue that I'll write. I don't have a written version of this, although I have been working through various sequences of this story for some time. This particular exchange has been in my head for about a month, so by the time I start lettering, I'm pretty confident I will have the right dialogue pop into place. My pencils are very loose, and I draw with a 2H pencil (because I have such a heavy hand). My high school art teacher tried to break me of drawing so heavily, but I could never back off. I started using a harder lead so I wasn't leaving so much graphite on the page. When I draw with a standard pencil my pages end up very dirty and messy. The harder pencil keeps the images pretty clean in general. Next step is lettering...