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FILLER: How I Made Comic Page (Part 2)

December 10th, 2007

Each page can be whatever you want it to be. As you might have already noticed by now after having read my comic up to this point, each page of mine consists of six frames. Admittedly, this format was solidified in my personal style years ago during my Book of Huzzah days, which in turn was inspired by Elf Life, or at least when Elf Life was a six framed comic back around 2001-2002.

Although I have a basic outline of what I want to do with each page and even the entire chapter, whenever I do a page, I start with the first frame first. I rarely, if ever, start with any other frame first. This is usually because whatever happens in one frame will inspire, even dictate, what’ll happen in the next frame. Also it’s hard for me to think what I will draw exactly unless I pin down the previous frame. Frame one itself will be inspired by frame six of the previous page. Of course, however YOU want to do it is what you should do. I do it my way because that’s what works best for me, but in reality there is no “best” way for everyone, it’s just what you’re most comfortable with. I know sooner or later I’ll start experimenting with different frame format, much like what I did with Muusugawa no Nihon, but right now this is what works best for me.

But even in drawing the entire page on paper, it’s far from being finished. What I do on paper is all that I feel I need to take care of on paper, while post production is done on the computer. For example, sometimes I feel the pacing is off and so I draw a frame that I want to squeeze into the page earlier. For this particular page, frame six will actually be frame three in the final page, pushing frames three, four and five up one frame. I also don’t write in the text, but only the text bubbles and a brief idea of what they’re going to say. This is largely for the same reasons why I draw one frame first before the next; I don’t know exactly what they’re going to say in one frame unless I pin down what they’re going to say in the previous frame. Now I used to write everything up on the page first, but I found it easier to just not bother unless I’ve got the page scanned into the computer first and then I can start typing in their dialogue. Typing their dialogue is easier than hand writing it because I can make edits to what they’re saying automatically without erasing.

Post production on the computer also allows me to skip over all the minor erasing details. Although I try to get as much of what will ultimately be the final product on paper, the tiny erasing jobs are left to the computer. Stuff like their “transparent” ears, or lines within the speech bubbles, as well as all the marks from when my hand smears the pencil lines are all taken care of on a computer. Then of course the frame reordering is something that can happen only on a computer. I mean I COULD cut the frames out with a scissor and reorganize them by hand and tape them on a new sheet of paper… but why bother? However, stuff like… well, what’s actually going on in each frame, are stuff I want to draw before I get it scanned into the computer. That’s where doing things on paper is easier than by doing it on a computer. But that’s why I like having both tools because each one does the job I want them to do.

The page I posted here is what each page basically looks like in real life. That is to say, if you go through my personal archives and see each page, they’ll look like this…. radically different from the final production. Obviously all the little notes I leave to myself for things to take care of during post production don’t show up in the final piece. Now lately I’ve been using nonphoto blue pencil more than I have in the past; previously I would just draw the characters straight onto the page without any predrawing. Sometimes I’ll still do that, but I’ve been slowly weening myself off of it. Now this is where the nonphoto blue pencil comes in handy: when I scan in the page (in greyscale), it’ll show up as a really light grey, all of which will disappear when I fiddle with the levels. I’ll show you that later. Now for me, the nonphoto blue pencil route works better than when I used to work with ink. What I would do in that case was sketch everything out with a regular pencil, ink over it with a Rapidograph pen, then erase the pencil marks leaving the ink drawing behind. The nonphoto blue pencil route is better for me because not only can I avoid dealing with the noneraseable ink (a very important factor!), but I also won’t have to erase the nonphoto blue pencil marks from the final drawing when I’m done. This eliminates one who step of the process and gives me more flexibility, win-win for me. Your mileage will vary, of course.

I think that pretty much covers Part 2. Any questions? Part 3 will cover post production on a computer.

One Response to “FILLER: How I Made Comic Page (Part 2)”

  1. Tom sezzzzz:

    Draw, you magnificent bastard, DRAW! 😀

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Moose River
by Philippe Van Lieu
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