This post originally appeard on Patreon
What I’m going to get into today is my process for putting together a page.
I have a very loose script that I work off of. It’s sort of a hybrid between a traditional script and more descriptive writing. I use that to put together thumbnails, and prefer to do a whole bunch at once, to find a rhythm from page to page. I can also visualize where I want episodes to break up, and hope that each one has a distinct beat.
I tend to work better with some constraints, so I’ve used a strict 3x3 grid for the comic. It’s working for me so far, but I also understand that’s it’s pretty restricting and if need be I’ll break it in the future (Hello me from the past, you definitely needed to use a more flexible grid for such a long comic). The grid forces me to be conscious of how much information is on the page and pay attention to the pacing. I try and drop in some speech bubbles at this point also, but at the time, I wasn’t aware of how large the font would be, so there was re-shuffling later on.
After thumbnails, I sketch out the pages, and they’re pretty messy! I work 100% digitally, so I’m not too worried if things aren’t perfect.
“Inking” time, it’s pretty straightforward. I use some fun brushes from Kyle, and a brush from me-za-me-ro. I also drop in all my speech bubbles before-hand so I don’t have to draw things you won’t see.
I use a lot of references when I colour. I'm not confident in my choices, and it’s honestly my least favourite part of making comics, but it pays off, especially when the page layout is so simple. The village and surrounding area Fife comes from, is heavily inspired by the Scottish highlands. I’ve scoured Pinterest for references and having those visuals helped immensely.
Going back to the idea of constraints, most of the character’s have very simple designs and colour palettes. It saves me a lot of headaches, and frees me from having to reference character sheets. I know Fife’s tunic is dark-green, and there are million different shades of green I can use to make that tunic look right in any scene.
The simple grid also forces me to think hard about my colour choices. It becomes crucial that I use colour to try and direct the eye to read the page right, since the panels themselves aren’t very different from page to page. It’s a work in progress, and there’s definitely some places where I can continue to be more experimental in my choices.
That sums it up!