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…Okay, so if you’ve been following my Twitter feed (@hesir) you might have seen some of the work I have been producing for the new book (see last post also). If not you can find a whole bunch of process work, sketches and page layouts by either just following me @hesir, or checking out the #TheCthulhiad hashtag on twitter.

I thought it might be interesting to show a slightly more ordered version of that process, including what happens both before and during the production of those pages etc (and that’s all this is, I’m not suggesting that this is the best method, but its the process that is working for me – at the moment).

So here it is…

Rough Script:

This might be loose notes done during research phases, at this point maybe just notional lines of dialogue, or the names of characters etc. All joined together with arrows denoting the beginning of a plot or scene direction.

Typed Script:

This is the culmination of an editing stage, bringing all the script ideas and plot points together in order, then editing out all the unnecessary ideas and scenes that would work better later or in a different book maybe.

This doesn’t mean its the end… I’ll often add more hand written edits and notes to a script as I get ready for the thumbnailing/layout phase.

Thumbnails:

These can vary in size, from actual thumbnail sized images (3.5x2cm) through to these my average sized images, which are usually about 7x5cm.

Mostly this is about pacing the story, breaking the script up into visuals, single images that incorporate several pieces of dialogue or multiple narrative.

Script edits might still be happening at this stage on my own work, visuals might spark connections, that suggest dialogue or narrative additions, I tend to just add the notes to the sheets and then look at incorporating them fully when I get around to adding the balloons…

Pencils and Inks:

My pencil work is pretty loose as its really just for me to decipher. Usually I pencil up from the thumbnails, and then scan these, then print off a blue line version to work over in ink… this builds in a redundancy and is less destructive over pencil originals.

Sometimes these scans are resized to actually print ready size, allowing me to add type and balloons and SFX in a separate layer, meaning the finished art can simply be “slipped underneath”.

See this example of balloons and PS boosted pencils >HERE< from the previous post.

Sometimes though, I work straight in over the original pencils.

Below you can see this latter process.

You can also see that once the pencils are complete, that even that might not stop changes happening.

Whether to pencils (see below where I have rubbed out the original panel centre and replaced the extreme close up of the figure with the camera with a midshot)

And the inks of the panel in which we see the shooting victim (above) which just felt a little “pedestrian” once complete…

and so I sketched out a new composition in my sketchbook,

…and then made a “paste-over” (a piece of white paper stuck over the previous artwork) added new pencils based on my sketch and inked it up…

The inks are then rescanned, any flashbacks of previous panels added, and the artwork cleaned up in Photoshop.

Here (below) are the most recent pages I’ve been working on.

Then its just a case of adding these scans to the existing text/ballooned files and adding any final tone/colour examples of which can be found >HERE<.

…and so on, and so on, usually for me in small cycles, finishing batches of pages then going back to thumbnail a new section.

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So… just a little three or four step show and tell looking at one of the more ridiculous pages I worked on of late…

The thumbnail

Okay so as you can see by the scale against my pencil and fingers this image is roughly 60mm x 100mm and pretty (hairily) loose… but this laid the foundations for the page as it would turn out.

thumbnail

The pencils

The pencils are done at over size, around A3 (in this case on a textured paper), the pencils remain hairy, as Milton Glaser might have it, I’m still searching for the right line at this stage… here I’ve over laid the speech balloons to see how they might fit… the two missing panels where drawn afterwards… at this point I was just trying to get the balance of that staircase right.

x Comics Page 006 The Truth - WIP pencils only

The inks

And so onto the inks… drawn directly over the pencils and then cleaned up with a well worn in eraser (I like putty rubbers for this job, they tend not to smudge as much leaving dark areas that have to be removed in Photoshop).

As it turned out I wasn’t happy with the continuity between the frames here and had to do a whole lot of jiggery-pokery in PS before I was happy… compare with the image below.

Inks staircase x

The lettering and finishes…

As you can see, I pushed the imagery around a little using the digital tools available, making Miss Stevens face the right way in that last panel, despite it not being as aesthetically pleasing (but I’m on a tight deadline here – amongst my other work).

I also added a quick shade layer using a bit of a “cheat” technique, taking the inks layer, duplicating it, and then using PS’s Cutout filter (Filter Gallery > Artistic > Cutout) and then blending the layer using the Multiply option…

The lettering is digital, and so are the balloon ellipses… I’ve now began treating these a little different but the process is not far off here.

Lsst but not least I went over some of the imagery adding highlights and addressing glaring issues with the “Cheat” shading…

Page16 Staircase x

…and that’s really it.

I might well add a full-colour version of this page at some point in the future…

Y’know… just for fun.