I thought I’d give you a sneak peek of an upcoming Sunday comic. I wasn’t sure how it would all come together so I took pictures as I went along…
Every comic starts with a rough sketch that must first get approved by my editor at King Features. This one was signed off on but the suggestion was made that I expand on Bleeker’s “transforming” in the second panel…make that process clearer.
Here’s the first stage of transferring from rough to finished comic. You can see the size of the rough sketch as compared to the finished bristol board panel. This is the stage that I get to play with layout. It’s a lot of fun but also takes a long time to sort it all out. I sketch it all in blue pencil. (When I scan it into the computer, I can easily delete those lines in Photoshop….saves me time and the mess of having to erase everything)
Now I have everything pretty much where I want it. As you can see the transforming panels have multiplied to show the quick action with lots of WHIRRRing and ZINGs. I have adjusted some lines so many times that it can get confusing so I try to shade in areas that are not to be inked. Also at this time, as the drawings take shape, the text gets a bit more refined. Sometimes you draw a panel and it opens up a whole new bit of dialogue. Any changes here are to help the story read smoother not take it in a different direction.
First I ink the borders and text. I use a Speedball B-6 nib to do this. It gives me a nice solid, thick line. As I’m inking, I’ll make changes on the fly. Sometimes that’s a good thing and others…not so much. As you can see, I overshot the speech bubble with the word GRIPPER. It’s like watching a car accident happen “…ahh, I’m not going to make it!!” I also dragged my knuckle through the bottom of that panel. (For someone who sees each of these inked comics as finished works of art, these are all cringe-worthy moments.)
Finally, I ink the drawings. For that I use a Brause Blue Steno nib. This is the best part because the comic comes alive and has an energy to it. I’m still making changes at this stage as you can see by the way I screwed up Bleeker’s mouth in the first panel (GAH!?…more wincing) Good thing I didn’t go into the tattoo business…there’s no Photoshop for that kind of inking.
The finished colored (and cleaned up) comic will appear in papers and online on April 3rd…so you’ll have to wait a bit to see the whole thing pulled together. I’ll update this post then.
Now onto the next comic….