The Process – Part 3 Dum dum dum – layout

Sometime people ask me if drawing comic pages is hard and I always like to be an ass and say the same thing: that drawing isn’t the hard part, that’s generally easy.  The really hard part is in thinking up the layout, panel relationships and trying to get the story cohesively across.

And I had fucked around with everything but the layout long enough, it was time to tackle the map of things to come.   There was only really one way to work it out, and that was a physical representation.  So I dug out the sktechbook, scissors, and tape and set about making a collage of sorts.  I figured i would just tape the panels and extra visual details together until I had something I was satisfied with.

As much of the final layout collage I could scan without fucking it up.

And it did the trick.  Finally things were getting clearer and I felt pretty good overall.

Now  it was time to get down to logistics, crap like ink prep (I like to take the cap off the ink bottle and let it sit out for a day or so to thicken up), finding the right brushes (always round #2’s, as learned from numerous sources but probably the best being “The Art of Comic Book Inking” by  Gary Martin, and it really is my favorite way to go) and lastly and probably the hardest to get right, paper tests.  I ran across the street to the Target and grabbed up some of their large bristol board pieces.  They were cheap and big and I hoped they would do the trick.  Sadly I was mistaken.  The problem with brush and ink (and pen and ink as well- back when I was working with that) is if the paper doesn’t have a good fibrous build the ink bleeds out in these tiny little spiderwebs, causing untold headache and problems during the actual doing.  Plus it just makes the pages look shittier overall.

The final layout test page, pardon the crappy photo but I don't want to give everything away before it's done.

So the Target paper was a failure, but I figured I could salvage some good out of it and decided, just to be overly anal that I would cut up the paper and do one more rough layout, taking the things from the collage and generating one more giant scribble filled scrawl.  You always cut the head off of the psycho after you suspect you’ve done enough damage to put them down.  Just to be sure.  So I madly scribbled, and I redid panels I felt were boring, or that were weaker than some new idea that had come up since the collage.

And after this final pass, everything was kosher inside my head.  It was time to suck it up and get down to business.

(Here’s a crappy photo sequence to show how big the layout pages are (about 2/3rds of both of them are visible on my desk) in relation to my unimpressed by photo-taking Caveman self.  (See how I snuck that in WT))

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One Response to “The Process – Part 3 Dum dum dum – layout”

  1. I love it!
    And I can’t wait until you read the sequence I’ve been building into our new project. I had my doubts that I was going too far into left field with it, until I saw where you’re going here. I think you’ll have fun with it.

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