Things just take so long...

I’ve been working on episode 49 for two evenings now, and I’m about 2/3s done with it. Things just take so LONG when you draw in a more comic booky style. I don’t have time to get it finished for this morning, but I’ll give you a taste, and a look at the work in progress.

Comic Creation Minutia (Macro Edition)
Style and Structure
You may be able to tell somewhat, by the emphasis on giant muscles, that I’ve been studying an interesting book called Drawing Cutting Edge Anatomy: The Ultimate Reference for Comic Book Artists, by the strangely unknown to me, but very prolific comic art how-to author, Christopher Hart.

It’s really quite amazing how well drawings of the human body improve when (and I’m trying to put this into words) you draw the surface of something while imagining the structure underneath. The author describes it as sculpting, but in two dimensions instead of 3. I went through a phase when I was in high school and early college when I wanted to draw comics, and I tried real hard, but I never took the time to learn the actual anatomy of the human form. I tried just drawing the surface, mimicking what I saw in other illustrations, and it never turned out right, no matter what I did. So this was pretty cool.

I’ve definitely started drawing this segment of the Q’s Tale in a more comic book style, especially in this episode, and it’s been great. I’ve been reading the The DC Comics Guide to Pencilling Comics by Klaus Janson, and it’s been a great help (whether I’ve actually succeeded in implementing some of his wisdom) in getting me in the mindset of telling the story visually. And it’s had an influence in how the art started coming out on the page this time round.

New Process
Last episode was the first paperless strip. Well, I’ve improved the process somewhat this time around. Here’s a quick breakdown, in case you’re interested:

1) I break down the page, panel by panel in Scrivener (which is an awesome app for writers).

49. THE Q STANDS FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS WHOOPING

1. Worm’s eye shot of the Obnox.
2. Over-The-Shoulder shot of Kautz.
3. Flashback. Kautz stepping out of the restroom of the church.
4. Kautz reaching into the tabernacle.
5. Obnox lifting Kautz by the arm
6. Kautz slicing off the Obnox’s hand at mid-forearm

2. I then create the layout of the page in indesign, picturing each panel, and making decisions on how big the panel should be, based on importance, or the shot, or the angle, etc. Basically, blocking the action (to use a stage term).
Screenshot 02

3. This time around, I used my Wacom tablet and a very excellent drawing application called Alias Sketchbook Pro (which has been purchased by another company called Autodesk, which is apparently ignoring the app).

I open a new page in Sketchbook, and resize the canvas to match the size of the panel that I’m going to work on (exact measurements are easily retrieved from InDesign).

I do a quick sketch in blue to get a sense of how the panel is going to be laid out.
Screenshot 03
Then I create another layer, and draw this one in black (which is so much like drawing with a pencil, it’s not even funny).
Screenshot 05

4. Then I open the panel drawing in Photoshop. Set me up a nice brush for inking. and start inking the panel. And I add gray tones after I’m done inking.
Screenshot 06

5. Then, when all the artwork for an episode is finished, I place them into the panels in my layout.

Screenshot 08

Believe it or not, this saves TONS of time compared to using real paper and scanning the images. And I don’t think the quality of the work has suffered at all. I adapted to the new tools quickly, and now I can get back to working on improving. And the new computer helps speed things along as well. It’s still hawesome.

‘Til Monday…

Hope that satisfies.

I’ll continue working on this episode, and hopefullly have it ready to roll on Monday.