Monday, December 28, 2015

Episode Page 8: Developmental work flow

I wanted to share my work flow. 
This comes as a response to a request from my boy Fred (The Master) Hurt! Fred is getting back on the pen as we speak. I am expecting some great things from him and wanted to make this Rant / Blog Post as a mini tutorial to him but yinz might get something from it too...

Initial Plot:
(the reader then realizes that the scene is in flashback - this should take one page)
HY! then wakes startled and confused, he his bed, and in a cold sweat.

That's it simple and too the point. I use this technique because comics are a visual medium. I took a cue from Jack Kirby and Stan Lee on this. For most scenes this works perfectly. #1 Writers are normally not visual story tellers. They know what they want to say and convey but most of the time it does not translate well to sequentials. So I like just having a few lines. describing the scene. which leads me to my next flow point...
What helps from the writer is pacing notes, such as how many pages he projects that telling this scene will take. Then LEAVE THE STORYBOARDING TO THE ARTIST! MOST (not all) Writers make HORRIBLE story board artists (in general) .... if they could draw then they would provide thumbnails. This is not a hard and fast theory... because there are some writers who do great story boards and great panel by panel descriptions. This normally comes from experience comic writers or those who have a knack for visual storytelling.

Initial Thumbnails

I normally start doodling the basic breakdowns. I like to use a 5.5" x 8.5" sketch book, using only blue bic pen. For some reason the blue pen gives a nice feel. I also cant erase which is even better. Because normally what comes about first the best stuff. I take the plot points and make them into sequentials.  This technique allows the artists to play his role as director. (where the writer is the writer... you as artist are normally the director). But NOT ALL ARTISTS ARE GOOD VISUAL STORY TELLERS! JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE CAN DRAW A CHEESECAKE T&A PIN UP DOES NOT MEAN THEY CAN DRAW A GOOD sequential art story. Most of the time pin up artists suck at story boards. Please remember there is a big difference  between sequentials, posters, covers and dynamic splash pages (pin ups). The last 3 sell comics the first one keep people interested, reading and coming back...

Initial Script:
PAGE 8 Normal Page

Panel 1
Close up on HellYeah! with war paint of face (still in flash back)
“I am the black fist tiger lotus!”

Panel 2
Silhouetted Jungle scene

Panel 2
Extreme close up of HellYeah!’s eyes
“I am the black fist tiger lotus!”

Panel 2
Large background panel,
HY! Sitting up in cold sweat. Eyes ablaze, possibly on fire. Muscles tense and veins full.
Both hands in tiger claw striking position
“I am the black fist tiger lotus!”

The writer then looks at the thumbs and comes up with the text. Again a play outta Kirby/Lee handbook. Though this does not work in every concept. This works best if you are the artist creator and main force behind the project. As an artist like me you tend to have some nice ideas but as for making the story flow you struggle. You see this in my first 2 episodes of SOAH. But as I got the feel of things and watched a BUNCH of story writing and sequential story telling tutorials, I think I got a little better.


Enter the way of the Manga Studio Warrior... Yup basic blue line pencils of my thumbnails. There may be some variation but mostly they don't change much. They are what Professor David Moyers would call initial illustration study. Kind of a warm up for final inks.

INKING IS NOT TRACING! (Big Philip Thompson ... who jacked up my lines as a kid!).Inking is the art of bringing pencils to life. By giving them depth, range, and value. Man...I am good. I just made that mess up! On the real, Inks make or break a comic. I HATE when artist use nior black for shadows. Notice I used Nior on this page, yes. And I used to cover up horrible art work! I didnt want to take time to draw the jungle scene. But what I didn't do is use it to obscure the characters or main lines. It is my theory that the pencilist /inker's job is to provide the lines. The colorist's job is to provide, hue value shadow and shade... If you give them a great lines they can cover over what ever they want in black (which should be used sparingly). They can give the scene / panel the color and darkness needed through color instead ink. 

Initial Flats
Flatting is a thankless job. It gives the colorist selections on how to color. It is my opinion too that the writer is the script writer / producer, the main artist is the director, the flatter ties it to give life in color, and the colorist is the special effects technician. The flatter should be a jack of all trades. He should be able to clean up bad lines when needed, add nice prelim effects (not the velvet painting) and direction for lighting. He should be an apprentice while the colorist should be the MASTER. The colorist should be able to fix what the flatter missed. NO an colorist should not rely on photoshop effects to cover bad art but he should be able to produce computer graphics, patterns, give items deeper texture and touch up bad art when needed. 


this is generally how it should look when the colorist gets the photoshop file...

see the final page in print! (when it prints!)
but in the meantime you can enjoy the online vintage black and white version below...