Here’s how I work on Entwined! My process has changed quite a bit lately, but here’s my initial routine. My collaborator Mike Cooper sent me 32 pages of rough layouts and a script with scene descriptions. I first add reference images and perspective guides as necessary, then go over his lines to tighten details.
I print out the digital linework as a faint blue line layer on Strathmore Bristol board, building tone and volume with ink wash. Then I scan and recompose this page back into photoshop, and align it with the digital draft. From there it’s all digital, adding extra bits and flipping compositions (like panel three).
Drafting and Redrafting
I’ve started working more in ‘digital paint mode’ lately, which has changed my process quite a bit. That’s the way it goes with these things. There’s no strict deadline, luckily, and I have the luxury of experimentation and tooling around, hopefully resulting in a stronger end product. Take the following panels. Mike’s idea was to introduce our dear protagonists here in a Frank Quitely-esque 1 point perspective explosion of action. The ‘camera’ pulls back in panel 2, with a closeup in panel 3 to get a good mug shot.
Although it seems inefficient, this way of working is necessary here. I’m still figuring out how this should all look in the end, so it doesn’t make sense to finish page one and move to page two, and so on. I make changes as I resolve costumes and locations, and also for storytelling purposes. Its a general all over massaging, rather than an assembly line. For example, I decided to redraft panel one and two so I can better establish scene and location. This is a more recent redraft and shows how I’m working these days, thinking in value and shape first.
And I keep drafting from there. Crowd scenes are tough! It’s about getting the right mix of detail and depth, working out perspective, and leading the eye to the important bits.