The Artist Post 1: The Drawing Process

The project is split between a writer (Skyler) and an artist (me) so each role may have a different perspective on the process and outcome, so one of the most enjoyable aspects of the project (at least for me) is the interaction between the two. For now I’ll focus on my own process/part of the project.

The format we’ve chosen for the comic is known as a “one shot”: a short 50 page or so comic that introduces a potential series. If we were in Japan, we could (theoretically) turn this one shot in, and if it was approved by the editors and the readers we could then create a series out of it.

So as the artist, I’m trying to make it look as publishable as possible. The process starts at Skyler’s end (he is the writer after all) until he hands me what amounts to a script. This includes character¬†dialogue, specific action points, scene design wishes, etc. I read the script over, consult about changes or questions, and set out to make a storyboard. A storyboard is a very (very) rough sketch that is simply made to show the flow of the comic, the placement of characters within the panels, and other such basic outlines. I’ll show this to Skyler, he’ll give me his own feedback, and then the real fun begins.

We ordered a good amount of 11 x 14 Bristol board paper to put the final drafts on. Using the now approved storyboards, I’ll sketch out the comic with a mechanical pencil with blue lead. These are also rather rough sketches, such as the outlines ¬†of characters, buildings, and some facial expressions. I then use a normal mechanical pencil to polish the lines, add clothing, eyes, and other small details.

Once I finish with the pencils, I use a dip pen called a G-pen to ink the characters and clothing. This pen makes it very easy to create different types of lines, and most manga artists use this pen for that reason. The final stage is to scan the pages in and use a tablet with an appropriate program to add the dialogue, screen tones, and other repetitive details that are now thankfully much easier with modern technology.

The process will continue probably well up to September. Hopefully we’ll have a real title by then.

Over and out

-Mark

Comments

  1. You have no idea how excited I am to see this finished product. Does Skyler do anything once he has turned in the script to you? In the commercial world would the writer hire the artist before or after finishing the script?

  2. Hi! This sounds really cool, I’ve always thought it would be interesting to write and illustrate my own children’s book (so not exactly the same as what you are doing, but still similar I think). I never knew that so much work went into illustrating comics, it truly seems like a major process. I find it fascinating that you begin on paper with the basic sketches, and are then able to scan them onto a computer and continue working with a tablet and computer program. What is your comic about? And was it difficult to come up with an idea for it? I always thought that would be the hardest part, coming up with something to write about that would also look good on paper. Good luck with everything, I look forward to hearing more about how it is coming along!

  3. mazuschlag says:

    Skyler helps edit the storyboards, but other wise the art is mostly my territory. In the professional world, the writer would turn in the story to a publisher (for example, Shueisha), and it would be up to the editors at said publisher to find a suitable artist.

  4. mazuschlag says:

    The story itself follows a soldier named Tetsuya, who was “blessed” by the gods and given special powers. He then works for the king of the country he currently inhabits, and is sent on a mission to discover who is behind various murders in a bustling port city.
    The story part is mostly Skyler’s work, so I can’t properly describe the idea making process. He did give me a lot of ideas he had written down, which seemed to help him narrow down and focus on certain ideas or concepts. To me most ideas come from what I think would be entertaining to read and certain themes or questions that I want to explore.