The Process – Pt. 1 The Setup

It’s no secret that I shift from the visual to the textual/verbal mindsets like most people shift gears, loudly grinding from one mode to the other usually based entirely on how much input I’m receiving in normal life.  When things are crazy and there are happenings, I like to talk about it.  When they are not so much, I tend to lose myself in artistic escapes.  Which explains all those bits I posted recently.

So in lieu of normal personal updates and mad linking, which I am decidely still not in the mood for, I’ve decided to try something different.

Recently, I’ve gotten some big ideas about different stuff I want to try with sequential art.  I want to try and push my boundries as an artist a little and try stuff that isn’t married to the magazine or newspaper medium that it traditionally has been, but still work within the artform — lined sequential pieces, but much bigger and self contained.  And also just as importantly, I want to play with traditional boxed panel layout as well.  You’ll see what I mean as this goes on.

The first of these pieces planned is a pretty big undertaking by my standards and while working on the different stages to prep for the actual doing, Joker had the smart idea to document all the little things I do.  So over the next few posts and probably weeks I’m gonna scan in where things are and sort of explain my process.  This is my blog after all.

The Idea:

I wanted the piece to be a large column, the idea is to make it at least 1.5 feet by 3 feet, but the actual dimensions may be bigger and you’ll see why.  I knew I wanted to have it be a conversation between two or three characters as they descend on the page, both literally in the visual sense, with panels starting at the top of this column and winding their way down to the bottom, but also matching a visual descent through their environment on the part of the characters.  I settled on a mountain, it was easy to picture and metaphorically it works perfect.

Originally I had intended to do it as another sci-fantasy thing with the little wizard from that drawing a few weeks ago, explaining something to another random character.  But that didn’t seem as fun to me, I had no connection to the characters and as such was having a hard time deciding on what the conversation would actually be about.

So one fine morning I was ranting to myself about something inane, as I am wont to do, and it suddenly clicked that would be the conversation.  And only two set of voices stood out as being appropriate for such a thing, Tom Sparks and Doc Goldfarb, two of protagonists from the web comic I collaborated on a few years ago.  And suddenly the light bulb popped on with a loud bang and some nasty smoke and everything just started clicking.

So the first step for me was to try and get a feel for how this thing was going to layout.

As you can see, I ran out of room on my page just scribbling it out. This was a problem.

I tried the traditional method I used for normal sized pages, ie. scribbling in my notebook, but with an estimated 20 panels and barely 2/3rds of them able to be represented even at this stage, I knew I had problems.

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