Have you ever been curious about how a comic is made? How about I walk you through it! Here’s some process work from my comic Fuzzy Black Mass for Cloudscape Comics’ most recent graphic novel anthology Through the Labyrinths of the Mind.
These are the thumbnails I submitted to Bevan since he edited my story (It would be a bit weird if I edited my own!). At this point, I’ve already written a script and had it approved by Bevan and I refer to it as I go to make sure I don’t forget anything important. This stage only takes an hour or so, just loose scribbles to give the editor an idea of where things will go. It also helps me plan out the beats and page breaks and because I don’t spend too much time worrying about details I can go in and make quick changes to things that worked in my head but not on paper.
After this stage, I move on to roughs. I drew these at full scale (at the size the pages would be printed at). For me, this part is hard work. Working out things like perspective and proportion, making sure all the shapes are making sense to me, and trying to make sure I’m leaving the right amount of space for the text. There’s still a lot of detail missing because I don’t want to spend too much time at this stage. That’s because I’m submitting this work to the editor for review and there could still be changes(and there were!). I’ve included a “bleed” on this page which means I’ve made my page 1/4″ of an inch bigger all the way around. When the pages are printed and cut to size, the drawing will go right to the edge of the page. This is represented by the “grey zone”: it’s an area I need to make sure I draw into, but I have to keep in mind that this will be completely cut off so I don’t want to put anything important in there. There’s a lot to consider!
Here we have the final page! As you can see, I’ve moved a few of the elements around, mostly the text. I’ve added a bunch more detail and texture to make your eye bounce around the page in a satisfying way. I typed out the lettering using a font I made from my own handwriting so it reads clearly but still feels personal.
I’m used to working traditionally with paper and ink so this is one of the first comics I’ve ever made digitally, using my IPad Pro. I must say, working digitally made a lot of aspects far easier and it was quite efficient. I was able to draw certain elements on separate layers and move them around until I was happy with the placement. It was also a huge time save to have the files perfectly ready without having to spend hours cleaning up pencil lines and ink splatters in photoshop. I prefer the look of traditional materials for my own work, so I’ve tried to make it look like it was done with a pencil. Hopefully that comes across.
Thanks for reading and if you’d like to read the whole story, consider preordering a copy of Through the Labyrinths of the Mind on Kickstarter today. Our Kickstarter has just hit 50% funded in the first 3 days it it being live, a huge accomplishment!