Draft pages, illustrated story

I’ve been working on a story for some time now and have been trying out a few formats and styles. The first version was wordless, and seeing as that didn’t work out so well, I’m trying my hand at including words.  Here are a few draft pages, hopefully they aren’t too difficult to make out… I have a fraught relationship with my scanner as will no doubt become evident.  Some of you may recognize the character from previous illustrated posts on Camus quotes. 🙂

HM1 mod smallHM2 mod smallHM3 mod smallOther similar posts:





More “little c” – final sketches

Here are some more “little c” drawings commissioned for a childrens story about an adventurous beaver.  I’ll post another update on little c when the final story is complete.

little c- stealing aboard small little c- seasick small little c- landing small

“little c” – story sketches

Little C - sketches smallI’ve been working on some drawings for a colleague’s childrens book, so I thought I’d post a few sketches.  The main character is a beaver called little c.  The final will look something like this… she’s kind of cute I think.  🙂

Little C - sketch sample


Moving things forward – I think

So, I thought I’d provide an update on some of the graphic novel projects I was mentioning in earlier posts.  It’s been quite the learning curve in terms of trying to get up to speed on everything from how to layout a page to inking it (actually it’s been more like a learning precipice).

Anyhow, I can now happily say I’m about halfway through a longer Simon & Finn adventure with about 60 pages complete out of an estimated 120-ish.  It’s been interesting (for me anyway) to see how much the style has changed over the last few months as I try out new approaches.  For example, this is page one in the book (which some of you have already seen): 1 1- Simon gets a letterYou, astute reader, I expect will be horrified to see how stilted the speech balloons and especially the text look.  Not something I really noticed nor thought about going in but looking back, I’m like gah!  Ick. Yuck. It’s exactly like finding a nematode in your drink.

This next page is from much later on in the story, roughly about page 59 (ok, it’s exactly page 59, who am I kidding).  Here I feel the art is bit more “legit” in terms of demonstrating a more confident line, more white space, and the speech balloons and text seem to come together better.  To me, the feel of the page is cleaner and more appealing than the example above.8 59 Simon is stungAnd in the following page I even tried out filling in some black… I was feeling bold!

8 60 Discovery of cave ptgsNow, I know that you’re dying to know what’s next – right?  Well, I was thinking it might be good to emerge from the hermit shell and see what people think so far.  I’m grateful that a graphic novel reviewer has kindly agreed to look it over so we’ll see what comes of that, and I’m also looking around for editors active in this area as I have the sneaking suspicion there are some – ok a lot – of dull plot moments that should be edited out (i.e. just ‘cuz I think Simon & Finn sitting around a campfire for pages on end is all that, doesn’t mean you will 🙂

Anyway, that’s all for now!  Happy Friday!

S&F – an ol’ story

As the previous five posts were taking up too much space, I’ve opted to delete them and simply put up one page with a sample of the content (this one!).  Basically, the five posts were installments of an old S&F story I crafted in 2001 – you can see the full story here.  Pretty amateur stuff but was fun to do at the time. 🙂

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S&F doodles

For this week, I am – with some trepidation – posting some ancient Simon & Finn doodles involving a visit with the mysterious queen of the art world herself, no less…  As will become apparent, I was operating on very little sleep at the time.  Caveat emptor!

Graphic Novels: The Secret Sauce

So, a friend had asked me about the process involved with creating a graphic novel/illustrated book/whatever you would like to call it.  As I’ve been in the midst of such a project with a deadline to present some work to the Toronto Writer’s Cooperative tonight, I thought this week’s post could be about that very thing!

First, I draw out the story in thumbnail format.  This part is the most fun, as you can just get creative with the story and yet not invest too much time.

Phase 1

The size, style, degree of ‘finish’ of thumbnails can be anything you like.  For me, I prefer to work on 8.5 x 11 and roughly to the same size and layout as how I see the end product looking.

After drawing out and settling on a certain direction for the overall story, I then “pin it down” – which basically means converting the thumbnailed pages into something more closely resembling a finished product.  I try to leave this part until the end in order to ensure that the overall story is relatively complete and I’m satisfied that the pages that are produced will actually be used.  This is pretty important given the amount of time a page can take to properly finish.

To finish a page, I first draw out all the panel sizes and shapes for each page.  The ruler (and eraser) is critical.Phase 2Next I draw in the panels with pencils.. choose word balloon placement.. add text… and then once that is done, go over all of it with ink. There’s many different ways to add ink to a page.  Some people ‘ink’ directly in the computer, others are master inkers using sable brush and the like.  I prefer the luddite route whereby I do as much as I can by hand and some extremely basic inking using a micron pen, and then I scan it into the computer and clean it up, add colour, etc.  (if you’re curious, an example of a finished page can be seen in a prior post).

Phase 3Now, I should say that this process takes a LONG time, at least 3/4 to a full day per page depending on the detail – and for people that ink professionally I’m sure it could take even longer.  And that’s not even including the time spent cleaning it up on the computer and colouring (another post topic)!

I don’t know any other medium which takes hours just to tell one little joke, so you really gotta love it.  So there you have it.. the secret sauce.

Phase 4.2P.S. Simon looks crosser than I meant in the panel above.  There was a really loud woman talking near me when I was drawing this.

Drawing a Graphic Novel – Colour? No Colour?

As I’ve been focusing lately on longer story projects, here’s the draft first page from Dark Horse Rising.  I won’t be putting the whole project on line (at least at this point) but have been playing around with colour with mixed results. The page below is a variation on grayscale with a fairly limited palette (black, white, gray, and a blueish gray).  As the overall mood is a bit sombre, I’m not sure I’ll stick with this exact palette just yet.DHpg1 - GREY file Below is the same page with some colour added (the peach colour is possibly hideous).

DHpg1 - yellowMy preference right now is for the grayscale version, however they both invoke such different moods.. what to do, what to do.

And don’t get me started on my tribulations with word balloon placement… 🙂

Dark Horse Rising – Cover for S&F Story

So.. some time ago, I vaguely threatened a longer Simon & Finn story..   As (a) I like to make good on threats, and (b) there’s a cover page theme going since last week, here’s the cover underway from this particular project – it’s a different track from the weekly cartoon commentary as the longer story takes place in a strange new world.

A few might recognize a nod to one or two childhood heroes in the cover design to date (hint: plus fours).

Still a long way to go before the finished project! 🙂

DH Cover Colour 1

And now for something completely different..

So, instead of a cartoon for this week I thought I would show a couple pages from an illustration/writing project I’m working on.  It’s very much a work in progress and learning Photoshop has been the bane of my existence lately, but small steps I suppose.

Cover page in progress below…

MouseyCoverfineCOLOURThis next page is later on in the story, after many curious things happen (those strange white stump things in the lower panels are supposed to be trees, but I haven’t fixed that part yet).

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