Moonshine page process.

I wanted to show my process for this book that I'm working on.
I usually work on two pages at a time, but I'll only do one for this explanation.
Here is the drawing table that I work at.

The laptop on the desk is used primarily for reference. I've taken almost 1000 reference pictures on my trips back to Alabama over the past year. I will probably continue to take more as I go home. It's nice having all them right in front of me as I need them.

I have a general plot/script that I've written:

I've gone through and made notes that brake the script down in to specific scenes that I later intend to break apart in to flashback sequences.

I then work on a series of thumbnails for each page, working out pacing, composition, page flow and dialog. I carry this little blue American-eagle notebook (a x-mas gift to Kristie from her family) in my back pocket so that I can work on it where ever I go. I'm using a tiny Pilot pen that my dad ordered from Japan (Hi-Tec-C 025mm). Since this whole Moonshine book will likely be more than 200 pages, I'm trying to stay as far ahead of myself in thumbnails as possible. Some artists thumbnail the entire book before they ever get to work on the actual drawings. Craig Thompson did thumbnails for Blankets for 2 years before he started drawing. I'm not doing that.

After I choose the layout that works best for the story and what I want to convey on this page I then pencil out the page onto a 14"x17" piece of Canson Smooth Bristol board. This is my favorite paper. The total panel area is 10"x15". Standard comic book size. I've tried working smaller on some of my other stories, but I always find that I usually like working bigger.

After I'm happy enough with the pencils, I then rule out the panel borders using a Speedball B-2 nib on a dip pen. I know this is a little larder, but I tend to like thicker panel borders. For my Gobnobble stories I never ruled my panel borders, but for this book I think it looks much better. I'm using an ink mixture of of Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay Black India Ink and Winsor & Newton's 951 Black Indian Ink (the one with the little spider on the bottle).

I hand-letter the page using Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph tech pens. I primarily use the .08 for dialog and balloons. Once again this is a little larger or standard lettering, but I think it works best for me. I've upgraded to the Koh-I-Noor Black Drawing Ink for these pens because the standard ink that comes with the set is too thin and watery. These pens require a great deal of care and maintenance, but I've noticed that the Savannah humidity keeps the pens from clogging. Even when I was using these pens back home in Alabama, I had a heck of a time keeping them clean. I destroyed a set of these when I was in high school. Note that I'm using all-caps lettering for this book. I used mixed case lettering for my Gobnobble stories, but it just didn't feel right for this book. I think I might switch to all-caps on my other stuff when I go back to it. If I need more control for something specific, like on larger sound effects ("UNGH."), I draw out the word with a .60 and fill it in accordingly.

Once I start putting ink to the paper I being to make notes on the sides of the page regarding errors or other problems that I'll fix after all the inking is done. I use a red color pencil for this because it won't show up when I scan the page into Photoshop.

After I finish lettering the page, I move to a brush. I've been using a Winsor & Newton Series 7 No. 3 brush for a while. It gives me the line weight that I want while still being able to give a pretty thin line when I need it. I only ink the primary characters, black areas, and other prominent elements in the panels. This is the fastest stage of the inking process.

I then come back with my Rapidograph pens to build value and texture in the images. I've been getting much of my inspiration from Gerhard's background for Dave Sim's Cerebus. This takes forever sometimes. I rarely go below 0.6mm and never below 0.35mm. The largest pen I have is 1.2mm. These are all from the same pen set (40 bucks online!)

Once the inks are through, I erase the whole page. This is where the quality of ink is important. Many inks will fade or erase away during this stage.

Finally I will clean up the whole page using Winsor & Newton Permanent White Designer Goache. I fix all of the errors I have noted on the side of the page (those notes are super handy), clean up the borders and gutters, and given each panel a once-over looking for problems.

Once the correction fluid dries and any other fixes have been made, the page gets thrown into the pile.

Then I start again.


Heroes report.

Here's a view of the SCAD table on Saturday. (Sean, Arf, Sean, Joe, & Shazz):
The star of the table was Tom. He organized the SCAD table at Heroes event.

Kristie took a few pictures during my workshop. I showed around 125 slides during the lecture portion of my presentation.

Some of the workshops on Saturday had as many as 60 attendees. I only had 25 show up for mine, but that's pretty good for a hand-lettering discussion early Sunday morning.

Then I did a digital-lettering demo (until my battery died) and then I showed them how to hand-letter their work.

I must say it was a pretty fun trip. Also present were many other SCAD students and faculty. Now I can get back to working on my own stuff!


Heroes Con this Weekend!

I'm super busy getting ready for Heroes Con this weekend. I'm nervous about this workshop because I don't know how many people will show up or what sort of people will care to hear me speak.

If you are around Charlotte for the Con you should come by and see the SCAD table or even drop in on the Workshops. If you've already had any of these teachers before, I doubt any of the teachers will be covering anything in 1.5 hours that wasn't covered in the 50 hour SCAD course.

I'm doing Hand-Lettering and Typography for Comics
Tom is doing Basic Superhero Anatomy
Ray is doing Cartooning for Comics and Animation
John is doing Basic Maquette Making
Mark is doing Comic Script Essentials
Shawn is doing Composition and Design in Comics

Mike Getty drew this one (John Lowe inks):

The second poster here is drawn by Josh Dunbar, inked by Tom Lyle.

Finally this one is drawn by Ted "the fancy cook" Helard, inks by Lowe again.