PROCESS: New technique for book 012

I’m working a bit differently on this one.

My normal process for shorter comics used to be to have an idea and then to simply start drawing and see what happened, writing script as I went along. That worked fine and made it more interesting also for myself since I wasn’t sure how each story would end.

Then, when I started making Piracy is Liberation, I fels the need to do it a bit more properly. I started writing scripts with dialogue, voice-over and (still pretty loose) image descriptions. The script would sometimes change as the drawing process went along, because I still needed room for things to be a dynamic during the work.

This spread from Piracy is Liberation 002: Infotrip is two of the very few pages where I actually did a sketch before inking it.

Now, with Piracy is Liberation 012, I’m somewhere in betweeen those tactics.

I’ve been collecting notes for the last 10 years, writing down scenes, bits of dialogue and over-arching ideas for the upcoming books. Or actually for the rest of the series, which is now planned as 11 more books. Which is a number liable to change because, as I said, I like to keep it dynamic. I’m deliberately still keeping the details of last few books vague, even for myself.
After putting all these notes in order and making a rough sketch of what goes into which book, I started to tie them together, but still not writing out all of the dialogue/voice-over. More like a collection of scenes that I flesh out as I go along.

Much of the dialogue, I write more or less one or a few pages at a time as I draw them. Most of the voice-over is still just notes that I will turn into full text later, as I finish the pages in Photoshop.

Another difference, which is probably very much connected to this new strategy, is that I’m drawing digitally, in Procreate. That means that it’s much easier both to erase and modify things while drawing and that I actually often do sketches, which is pretty new for me. I still keep them very vague and loose, because I want to keep the feeling of the linework. I always thought my lines got more interesting and personal when they’re spontaneous. So I want to keep that while still getting the advantage of sketching.

Here’s an examples from book 012 where I didn’t sketch but drew directly, old-school style. Step by step (panel structure/dialogue/line art/halftone & other effects/black fields/detail fixes):

Go to my Instagram to see more video capture like this one in the near future:

And here’s one where I did sketch. You can see how loose it is, and how closely(?) I ended up following it:

So far, it feels like this process suits me well. At also gives the story space to evolve as it goes. For example, book 012 will have a main storyline focusing on two girls who were at first only meant to be there for a scene or two, to give the over-all events a bit more flavor. Now their story goes on to fill about 50 of the book’s maybe 150 pages (both of these numbers may very well go up before it’s all done).

More on these two characters in the next post, coming up on Tuseday…

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