If you're like me and like to see all the little details and steps that go into making arty things then great, This long walkthrough of how I made sand is for you!
If you don't then the short answer is -
- drawn on paper
- coloured on computer
still here? good let's start at the start. the very start.
What prompts someone to attempt the creation of a graphic novel? for me the answer was simple, to make one better than my first!
I noted down everything I had learned and what i wanted to improve on, especially the painful cringeworthy parts.
All my projects begin with a horrendous amount of sketches. figuring out who's who and what's what while also doing a ton of wandering and practicing along the way.
However the point that really kicks the pebble off the hill is finding that core relationship. what does this story center around? WHat does that look like? Once I'd found that it was all go.
well not quite.
learning from my past mistakes i set aside some time to really focus on...
Deciding what every bell and whistle would look like. essentially making myself a visual instruction manual. The less questions down the line like: how many windows did that cactus ship have? - The better.
on a far less interesting but nonetheless very important note, this is where all the technical preparation happens. thinking about how to translate panels for digital and print formatting, choosing how the word balloons will look. and making a grid template.
mmm yes, grid templates.
But of course the most important decisions are around the story itself.
ONce I've outlined and re-outlined the beats of the story I turn a bunch of dreary word documents into this chaotic collection of thumbnails.
Thumbnails are just tiny versions of the pages that are super messy and impossible to read, but are great because you can easily scrap a bunch of different layouts and whole scenes easily.
All the choices about panels and how it will read is done here. This is where the story is really made into a comic.
I thumbnail out the whole book, so I can see the whole story at once. after much scrutiny and many tiny scraps of paper later it's finally time to enter...
Once I've started I try to keep the momentum going. To do so I like working in chunks, chapter by chapter, so I can have definitive progress points.
Each and every page goes through a whole bunch of steps.
First I trace on the panels following that grid template with my trusty light box.
sometimes for a fancy opening page, like this one, I trace some basic 3d models to try out a bunch of angles easily. that and so I can avoid some perspective grid hassle...
Then it's into the no nonsense drawing. mostly this consists of me scribbling, hashing out and adjusting until it looks 'good', then coming back to it a few hours later and undoing a lot of what i thought was working.
sometimes the drawing is great. keyword, sometimes. often it's a nightmare.
however, once the drawing is done we get to my favourite step. inking!
UNlike nearly every step in the process inking requires little decision-making. and turning those muddy pencil lines into something bold and real feels great!
I like to ink whole chapters at once in long continuous sessions.
I kick off my shoes and chuck on some podcasts. hopefully getting them all done before dinner.
for the curious among you, I use a tombow brush pen (well, many pens, they die easily) and staedler pigment liners.
ONce they're all inked I shoot the pages through the next couple steps.
- and digital prep.
Because now that i have the power of digital editing with me I can use fancy things like automation.
This lets me turn a ton of repetitive steps into a single click (look at all those named and ordered layers). It's a beautiful thing to behold.
unfortunately, for the colouring it's back to me.
each page begins like this, panels ready and a nondescript colour over everything so I don't miss a spot.
Then I flat the page. flatting just means filling all the areas with a single 'flat' colour that will be the base for everything else on top.
like a giant colouring book, but on a computer, sort of.
Then those flats get a dose of shadows. adding some much needed depth to a very two dimensional drawing.
Finally all the extra glowy and shiny bits are put on.
I love putting on the shiny bits.
and of course usually there would be some speech balloons. This page got off easy, but here's a super in-depth visual of how they're made.
ok, seriously though. I try keep the balloons loose and free-hand and give those all important words a comfy amount of breathing room.
Finally I format the panels for uploading to Webtoons. Taking each panel and placing it onto a long continuous scroll canvas.
So that's how it's done (with lots of head scratching and readjusting along the way of course).
And now enjoy a pint sized version of the whooole thing, just to get a scope of it.
Oh, and thanks for reading!