Comic strip – An unknown intimacy

Brief

The brief was to collaborate on the creation of a comic strip for inclusion in a King Mob, which is a quarterly Brighton based creative magazine. The magazine is A5 format and printed in full colour.

Approach

This was a collaboration with my daughter Lucy who amongst other things writes short stories and poetry.

We agreed this project was experimental and didn’t put too many boundaries or constraints on the work. The purpose of doing it was to learn and have some fun.

Lucy wrote the story An unknown intimacy in long form and when we started it wasn’t clear whether of not this would be an illustrated story or a comic strip. I thought initially it would be an illustrated story, and created several experimental visuals.

However, what I really wanted to do was explore the comic strip format. This seemed like a daunting task and I was inspired by a book written by graphic designer Anthony Burrill called MAKE IT NOW!

So I did.

I started by breaking up the story into panels and pictures in the form of a storyboard which we both reviewed and refined.

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Very early thinking with quite a lot of text – this was rejected
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Storyboard pages 1 and 2
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Storyboard pages 3 and 4
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Alternative ending

When we were clear on the number of panels and flow I carried out research to find reference for images. This involved doing a day of research and photography around Brighton and lots of internet searching.

I then created the panel layout in InDesign and printed out A3 copies of each page layout to work directly onto.

Sketching was done initially in pencil and then inked using permanent marker pen. Each page was then painted in monochrome using liquid watercolour paint before colour was added in Photoshop.

The final artwork

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Page 1
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Page 2
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Page 3
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Page 4
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Page 5

At the time of writing we think the story will be published in the July edition of King Mob.

What I learned from the project

What went well

  • I did it but it was pretty hard work. Each page took 12-hours to create from scratch to final artwork.
  • I think the story flows quite well.
  • My confidence in drawing the characters increased as I went on. I think the drawing on page 5 is the most accomplished and confident.
  • The whole production process works well for me. Credit (again) to Palle Schmidt for his youtube series on how to draw comic books – his Thomas Alsop books are great.
  • Also credit to Scott McCloud for his excellent graphic novel The Sculptor from which I stole a number of ideas.

What I could have done differently/better

  • I need to practice my figure drawing. I thought the Character development exercise was very helpful in showing me a process for how I approach my next project.
  • I had to rework the final section, adding a fifth page. This meant a certain amount of rework that could have been avoided if I’d been more disciplined in the storyboarding.