The process of page 764

For those of you who have wondered about my process here’s a quick breakdown. For the technically minded, I work in MangaStudio 5EX on a Windows 7 box with 12Gig of RAM and a Cintiq 21UX.

Step One: I begin with a blank template with the headers and margins laid out. Since each page has the banner I always need to work around that. I place the text on the page and add a lot of scribbling. I’m constantly making little mock panels with loose stick figures and shuffling them around like puzzle pieces.


step01

The word bubbles are part of the page and need to be considered in any layout. If anything they make an artist’s job easier since they are an element that you can quickly establish and it’s a great first step to get you moving.

Step Two: Now that all the elements are accounted for, I firm up the frames and begin to build up the proportions of the figures. Major shapes, features of costumes and characters and size corrections to make sure things are still fitting where I want them to.

step02

Step Three: This is my ‘tight sketch’ stage but it’s still pretty loose. I’m not sure I’d feel good about giving it to anyone else to ink! I work through the page in several passes, changing my pencil colours as I go to help me visually organize the areas that are done, but I try to keep the same value no matter what colour I use. I like to leave myself some room to continue the drawing in the ink stage. I don’t want to feel like I’m just tracing myself over and over, which would make things tedious.

step03

Step Four: I love the first pass of inks. Just contours and overlaps. Not all my line widths are 100% yet, but the page really starts to come alive for me.

step04

Step Five: This is kind of a half step backwards. During the sketching I was making mental notes about lighting and now I rough those in with a fat brush. I study the page looking for areas that will need more contrast, where lines need to be balanced and just general shading.

step05

Step Six: The final inks! I’ve added my blacks, shading, special effects and completed other background elements. Take a look at the last panel – look confusing? That’s because the fence posts are on a separate layer. No need for me to mask it out because Ed Ryzowski, the colourist, doesn’t need me to.

step06

Since I know I’m part of a team I try to be considerate of Ed’s work flow and it’s easier to combine layers than separate them! I’ll often do backgrounds complete on their own layers as it can be easier to colour them. Sometimes we’ll repurpose a scene on a page so having a larger group set of those scenes is working smarter for both of us.

I hope you enjoyed this rather long post on the process behind LFG.
See you in the funnies!
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