Getting to spend so much time pencilling comics has helped me to better tune my process in working through pages. I spent most of the day doing it, but I got five pages done yesterday! Four in Maps and one for Awful. They will need some revisions and retouches as always but I'm really proud of that many pages even if my work isn't very rendered. A big point in Dove McHargue's anatomy workshop at Heroes was to pencil from loose to tight. Grab the idea and then work it down into a finished product. I'm trying to keep that in mind as I work this summer.
This morning I'd like to share my process with you on my first page of the day.
Here is the layout for page 48. The plot point sees the little Tokolosh resolving to find her friend. The Professor is shown to reinforce the opposing viewpoint. I think showing both sides reaffirms that her decision isn't or won't be standard Tokolosh protocol. Anything that can help make that clear should help, since there are no real monsters to give us background knowledge. I have to provide that.
Very little changed from my layouts to my sketch. The first thing I did was go ahead and take the two Tokolosh out on the balcony. It's a scene change as we jump to this universe, there is no reason to have two settings in two panels on one page. I did make sure Pawa and Zaes (working names for these two Tokolosh) are fully in the first panel, and that I show Zaes leaving in the second. By keeping Zaes in the panel I'm hoping Pawa's dialogue comes across as more willfully defiant than arrogantly talking to herself. I also moved the camera down to Pawa's eye level so that we could see some of the Tokolosh homeworld instead of just the night sky. I shorthand where the bubbles should be and draw some crude lines to remind me those are speech balloons instead of anything else I may have scribbled.
The next step has me letter and balloon the pages. To do this I also try to make sure my character's locations are nailed down as well. The Professor got lines in both of these panels to try and reinforce the conflict. The most notable additions come from my "fact checking". Any time I recreate a scene or characters we've seen before I pull out old pages with those same scenes and characters. For this page I pulled out everything from this universe. That gave me reference to the architechture and plant life I only sort of remembered in the sketching phase. Consistency is important.
There will be a few more touch ups here and there and Timothy will probably chisel at it some before inking but this page is mostly finished. Or ready for inking rather. Because Timothy and I work so closely together we can talk out some shorthand work that saves a lot of time. I made Pawa a good deal smaller so that she was better proportioned to Zaes. I also added gratings to the top of the buildings in the city. Since all of my other 5-6|56 pages were out it was easy to add gratings to all of the buildings I'd drawn at once. I like all the little things going on in panel 2. Zaes using his clicker box, the Tokolosh trimming trees in a robot, and the ship blasting off toward the first moon on the left? A little nod to last years 24 hour comic Bad Bugs.
Hope you enjoyed seeing this page come together and I'll be back next week with more peeks into my process. Hope you're enjoying the summer as much as I am.
- Jon O