Howdy! I thought I’d do a post on the evolution of a page from my comic book. This is generally the process I go through for each page, although there are no rules. It is just the way that I find works best. On the next comic I may find a better way, but for now, this is how it goes:

1: I keep two sketchbooks going at a time. In one I jot down any random ideas that I may have for various storys whether it is for the Possum, or for something entirely different. The other, I use for thumbnails, dialogue etc. for whatever comic I am working on at the time. I like the sketchbooks, because it keeps all of my thoughts contained, and organized. I do alot of this stuff on the train into work, so loose pages just get lost, or scattered between work and home. This page has no dialogue, so it was easier to plan out. If the page has dialogue, I usually write it all out first, then decide where I can break it up for each panel, then I do quick thumbnails. I usually base the page around a dominant image that I have in my head, then work the rest of the panels around that.

2: I do the rough pencils straight onto Peterboro illustration board (No. 27). I like the board, because I can keep them in my backpack to work on the train, and they can take a lot more abuse than paper. They also take the ink very well. I don’t have to worry about them getting wrinkled and they are stiff enough to just pull out and start drawing. I don’t need to carry around something hard to draw on. I got into a good rhythm of doing the thumbnails and penciling on the train, to and from work. When you have kids, and a full time job, you have to use every spare minute of the day to get things done. 50 minutes to work and 50 minutes home with no distractions is priceless. I keep the pencils pretty loose. My main goal is to get all of the thinking done at this stage, but because I am inking as well, I don’t have to worry about someone not understanding what I put down.

3: Next, I ink right over top of the pencils, and erase them after the inking is done. Before inking I photocopy the pencils, just in case I really mess up. Because I’m not trying to get an overly slick, clean look, it gives me a lot more room to be looser in the pencilling stage. The inking is harder to find time to get it completed, because I can’t do it on the train. I need a bit more room, and the train is too bumpy. I inked this comic with a Rotring art pen, with refillable ink cartriges. I chose these pens, because you can take them anywhere, and you don’t have to dip them. They also have a round nib, so they handle circles and curves much easier than the hunt nibs that I tried. I also do all of the dialogue by hand. When it’s done well (which I am still working on), I think it has a lot more personality than the computer fonts.

4: Lastly, I scan the inked page into Photoshop, and do the grey tones and dots on the computer. It’s quite a lot of work to get 1 page of comic finished, but I really do enjoy it. I don’t know how many times I cursed myself for making my first comic 72 pages though! Anyways, there you have it. I hope you get a chance to read the Possum, and enjoy it. I dropped some comics off at the Silver Snail in Toronto, so they should have some to buy, or you can get them from me on my website, or maybe I’ll see you at the Comic Expo Sep 1-3!