thumbnails and seeing the forest for the trees

since i work on each chapter somewhat non-linearly, sometimes I have too many ideas to jot down without forgetting about them. sometimes doing pages back to back makes me forget the main points since I get so caught up in the minutia. i’ve found for me that doing these thumbnail pages really help me keep on track.

it lets me see each panel at once for one thing. that helps me out a lot. each panel can act as a sort of landmark for a beat in the story. since I don’t think very linearly (i tend to see lots of small details all at once, not always in an order), having all the panels at once actually helps me get less confused.

i’ve mentioned before that i tend to do a pretty rough plot outline first and then fill in details as I go. i don’t know exactly where the stories go at the beginning, though I do have an overall idea. things like individual actions and character interactions are handled as they come up. it’s like I’m getting to know real people and I enjoy that. but this process can make it a bit easy to get lost in the mire of small details and lose scope of the whole story if not careful. I may find a better way to do this in the future, who knows. it works for the moment.

Page 31 process

(click for full-size)

quick gif of my current process. right now I use photoshop CS2 cause it was free legally. I make a loose sketch “guide” layer first and get the panel layout how I like it before I add the main lines. some panels I do things in different orders but generally I add the lines first and then any background blocks of black or yellow as I need it before adding yellow shading if I need that too. the yellow is there to do whatever i need it to do. sometimes i use it for ‘normal’ shading, sometimes to highlight objects or backgrounds, sometimes both. basically whatever looks best on a case by case basis. I like B&W a lot but I think the yellow is good to help things stand out and makes a very recognizable color palette at a glance. my goal is to have some joe see a page at a distance and go like “yellow and black? must be song of the motherland”. hopefully.

it can be a bit difficult to strike a balance between detail and speed. making it up as i go honestly which is half the fun to me. my drawing style is very loose in the first place so I’m trying to find ways to capitalize on my strengths. too bad i shot myself in the foot on this chapter having to draw tons of buildings and crowds ughhhh