Eating an Elephant, part II
This is a meticulous description of how I work on a graphic novel. You can read the first part of three here.
After the script is done, I start breaking down the pages. I do scribbles along the way, letting images come to my mind as I go through the script. With “Stiletto”, I put together a binder of 60 sheets of white paper that I did the layouts on. Every time I had an idea how to do a scene, I pulled out my mock-up of the book (seen below). As you can see, the layouts are really loose, and make no sense to anyone but me without the script.
Having done the layouts of most pages, I start scanning my stick figures and putting them in an InDesign document. I put in bars between panels, so I wouldn’t have to waste time measuring up borders and gutters later. I copy the dialogue from my script and set the text, and turn down the opacity of the scribbles, so I can print out the InDesign document and sketch directly on the oversize print out. This is a great psychological trick that prevents the fear from sneaking in. After all, it’s only a crappy printout, so I don’t care about making mistakes.
Cleverly avoiding that dreaded blank page I transfer the borders and word balloons on a nice piece of drawing board. I ink the pictures in pencil, so there is still plenty of room for mistakes. With The Devil’s Concubine I wanted a slick, crisp inking. Unfortunately, that’s not what my hand wanted. It took forever, trying to get the damn lines just right.
So I’ll let my hand decide this time.
More in part III.