Monday, August 30, 2010

How I Make A Weekly Comic

TOM- I can't believe I haven't blogged about this yet...Since the beginning of the summer, I've been working on a weekly comic project entitles, 'My Intentional Life' for Grist, an environmental website. The comic is written by Jennifer Prediger and based the life of Gabriel Willow and his experiences living in an 'urban collective' in Brooklyn. It's a house that he shares with 15 other people, they raise their own chickens, harvest their own vegetable, and have a beehive on the roof for honey. It's a very unique living set up, especially to be located in Brooklyn. I had the pleasure of visiting this house for a dinner a few months back and I got to meet his roommates who have become supporting characters in the strip.
Artistically, this has been a much welcomed challenge. Since we have all these interesting stories to tell, but only one page a week to tell them, the challenge has been to make the visual storytelling as clear as possible, without cramming the page. I decided to share with you my step by step process of how I break down the page and take it all the way to final. Above are the first two weekly episodes. It's pretty self explanatory, but I'll just point out a couple things:
The first step is the rough, where I'm just trying to make the the story flow in an interesting way that keeps the eye moving easily from left to right. During this stage, I'm very aware of leaving room for where the speech bubbles will eventually go, I even rough them in so that I'm sure it's all going to work out before I take it any further. Then, I blow up the roughs to full size and work on top of them, creating the pencils(which I didn't scan along the way, so they're not show here), from there, I go to inks, my favorite part! During this stage, I'm trying to 'spot' blacks to help move the eye where I want it to go and also give the page a sense of balance. After that, it's coloring time. I try to make the colors as simple as possible, not to take away from the line art or distract the reader from the story. The point of the colors is to enhance what's already there and if anything add mood and a sense of atmosphere. I had fun muting the palette for the flash back sequence on page two. As always, there's last minute changes along the way, so if you look close enough, you can see where some of those revisions happened.
Anyway, we are already coming up on our sixth weekly instalment of this project, so it's very exciting to see it evolve and take shape, it's also been a great learning lesson for me along the way.
Thanks so much for reading and be sure to check Grist every Tuesday for a new instalment!


Anonymous said...

Very cool! I like seeing how you've developed each character's physical traits and expressions from sketch to final product.

james flames said...

Love it dude - I'm so glad you posted an in-depth look at your process. It's a very cool project, and you're definitely giving it it's due.