Trying a new step where I make a med-fi pencil mock-up after doing thumbnails
I’ve been working on a new 28-page comic called Lost Ship over the last two months, and it’s been enjoyable to work on a project that’s pretty small in scope. It’s about a small crew that explores space to try to discover new things.
I tried something new with Lost Ship where I made a medium-fidelity pencil version of the entire comic after I finished the thumbnails. I drew this version at the size I intend to print the comic at so that I could get a fell of how it read. It’s super cool to be able to page through it before the actual comic is done. This makes the process look like:
Create low-fidelity thumbnails to figure out the panel layouts and who is in each panel. The art is very blobby and rough at this stage.
Create a medium-fidelity mock-up of the comic. The art is still rough, but I try to make it somewhat clear what the camera angle, dialog, and other stuff in the panel will be.
Pencil and ink the full-size pages and then eventually clean them up.
So Step 2 is new for me, and it’s been a huge help with Step 3 because when I go to layout the page and draw each panel it’s a lot less of a mystery.
Here are some photos of the med-fi mock-up:
As you can see, the art is pretty rough. But that’s okay since it’s just for me (and you too now I guess 🤓). Here’s a mostly finished page for comparison:
I think I’ll continue with Step 2 as part of my process for future projects. It takes a bit of extra time, but it’s been worth it so far. I’m going to share more pre-production designs and sketches from Lost Ship soon. I’m aiming to publish the comic this December.
I made this little comic called NINA over the last few weeks as a way to get back into drawing page-sized comics traditionally and experiment with some new tools. It’s inspired by Blade Runner and Tsutomu Nihei’s Blame!. It was drawn on 9″ x 12″ bristol with technical pens. I added tone in Clip Studio Paint. I hope you enjoy it.
How it’s been going and my aspirations for the next year, plus a collection of my art from the first year
I started making comics seriously a year ago in September 2017. It was an intentional change from exploring the world of filmmaking with the hopes of being able to tell visual stories entirely on my own. I can’t believe that a year has flown by. I’ve been enjoying the process of making comics and growing as an artist. It’s been slow going at times but ultimately rewarding.
A peek at my process for iterating on a comic panel
When making the art for a comic, I do a rough sketch, letter the text and sound effects, ink over the rough sketch, and then add Color.
Here’s what a panel from Lunar Space Colony looks like in the rough thumbnail stage:
And then after inking:
I’ve tried skipping the rough sketch to see if I could speed up my process, but then I end up lost when trying to figure out what goes where at the inking stage.
Once the inking is done, I go in and add color:
Lunar Space Colony has a pretty limited color palette since I’m still learning color and need to work relatively quickly with the weekly deadline.
That’s the evolution of a panel from sketch to ink to color. I’m sure that evolution will only get better and better as I improve as an artist.
I’m going to start publishing Lunar Space Colony in only a few days! On Tuesday, July 3rd, I’ll publish the first three episodes and then publish a new episode every Tuesday after. I’ve hit my stride with the project and am enjoying working on it. I’m excited to share it publicly soon! 🙂
My experiences and the outcome of attempting to make 24 pages of comics in 24 hours
On Friday and Saturday I participated in my first 24-Hour Comic Challenge where I made 24 pages of comics in 24 hours. It was a heck of a challenge, and I’m happy to share that I successfully completed it!
I documented my experiences in the video above.
The result of the challenge is an action fantasy comic called Lavender, which can be read free online.
How I’m going to publish the project and a sneak peek at the first episode.
I’ve been steadily working away at my next project, Lunar Space Colony. It’s a slice-of-life sci-fi story about a woman named Bri who leaves Earth to work on the colony. It’s a longer story that I’m going to serialize weekly online. My plan is to launch the first few episodes on July 3rd and then release a new episode every Tuesday after.
I’ve been wanting to do a 24-Hour Comic Challenge for a bit now, and I’ve got the date all set. I’m going to try to make 24 pages of comics over 24 hours on June 22 and June 23.
It should be a great way to push myself to work faster and hopefully learn a lot.
I’m not doing it on the international day in October because I want to take on the challenge sooner, and I’m also not going to go for 24 consecutive hours. I’m planning on taking 8 hours to sleep. I’m not into staying up all night, and skipping a night of sleep will really throw off my life balance.
My employer, Big Cartel, has an Arts & Service Hours program where we can use some time to work on personal projects, volunteer, or learn new skills. I’m using some of my hours to take on this challenge.
I’ve got a little over a month to prepare. I’m feeling a little nervous, but also really excited.