I liked this so much that I stole it from my Wonderealm fan page (where I had written it on Facebook):

Process is always something that fascinates me. So ok, you wanna draw comics - how do you do it? For me, it starts with a great idea. Maybe a writer is out there and we get into contact and he sends me something that I can really sink my teeth into, or maybe I think of something I want to draw. What comes next? I mean these things don't just magically appear, do they? No, now I have some words on a page, and a blank piece of paper in front of me.

The next thing I usually do is grab a sketchbook and start doodling. Very rough, I just start imagining what each panel will look like, where the character is situated, what they are wearing... just mapping out each panel. I don't even know how big the panels are at this point, or where they sit on the page - I just want the overall scene. Kind of a 360 view, maybe I start sussing out the angle of the shot. You know, bird's eye, worms, etc. Is the camera going to be tilted, how close or far away - this comes next. When i have a good understanding of where I'm going with a page, then I can really start doing the research that I need to make the page real.

So, I hit the internets - I look for clothing reference, characters (usually based on actors, just for a sense of who they are - no tracing!), vehicles, locations, equipment, you name it. I want to see what it looks like in real life, so I can have a starting point t put it down on paper. I also take photos of myself in difficult poses, perhaps with a light source, so I don't have to make that up when I hit the page.

So now the hard part is done, I can start drawing. I'll lay out the panels on the page, to see where everything fits, adjusting the flow to the page, hitting the right beats - a big action splash might take up most of the page, or a long vertical panel on the right if someone is looking up at a building, or falling out of a plane, etc. Then I go to all the sketches and photo ref and start putting it down on paper - my drawing table is usually pretty cluttered at this point with rulers and pictures and sketches. But this is the fun part, and all the work will hopefully pay off in something that people will enjoy looking at.

Maybe I should try to work up a video for this... anyway, hopefully this brought some insight into what I do. If you have any thoughts or questions, please, feel free to share! Let's get the conversation going!

1 comment:

Dino said...

Having worked with you several times (with more projects hopefully on the way), I've always been mighty impressed with the way you approach the job. I love seeing the progression from sketches to pencils to inks. It's nice to get some more insight into the nuts and bolts of how you do what you do.