Yeah, still no comic page this week, but never fear! I plan to post one in just a few days. In the meantime, enjoy this preliminary sketch.
Speaking of preliminaries, I don’t really talk too much about my creative process for Monster Paradise. For my own comics, I tend to work in a “Marvel Method”. For those who don’t know, the Marvel Method has an artist work from a loose story idea from the writer, rather than a full script. The artist creates page-by-page plot details on his or her own, after which the work is returned to the writer for the insertion of dialogue. Pioneered by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, artist-as-co-plotter was the primary method of creating comics at Marvel during the 1960s (resulting in quite a lot of controversy today, but that’s another topic).
Most of my plotting is done in my head while I do some other task, like walking the dog or cleaning around the house. When I’ve decided I pretty much have the story plotted out in my head, I write out a script (of sorts) in which I break down the action in pages. Sometimes, preliminary dialogue is included. From this, I start my thumbnails, adjusting the action and pacing from my “script” as I go. Sometimes, I sketch roughs for characters and settings, like the drawing above.
After I’m satisfied with my thumbnails, I draw my layouts detailing the action further. I like to keep my layouts very loose and gestural, leaving most of the detail work in the penciling stage. Then I enlarge the layouts and transfer them to bristol board. I pencil with a non-photo blue pencil and then ink the whole page either with Micron or Copic pens. Then I color in Photoshop and leave the final dialogue for last, lettering in Illustrator. It’s not unusual for me to change the dialogue a few times before I save my final file.
Despite how tedious the process sounds, it actually goes rather quickly for me. I’ve been told numerous times my process would go even quicker if I worked digitally, but I have very bad eyesight and working digitally for too long tends to worsen it. And I simply like the imperfections that come from the human touch!