This is some info I recently posted on the Drawing Board and Concept Art. No reason to not have it here :)
Here is a little info about the creative process for 3 pages I picked to show you:
My main problem with the whole book was that I didn’t have enough pages to show everything I wanted and to have big panels. It was impossible to afford splash pages or even a 1-panel page, so I had to be very creative with what I choose to show in order to tell the story, not waste space and keep it clear to follow and entertaining. I had 78 pages for the whole story – no more, no less. A lot of stuff didn’t make it inside because of the page limitation.
The first example is a page, where Eve is suppose to knock one of the cops out, then the second one will point a gun at her and then someone else will kill him. Would have been great to show Eve hiding up on the beams, then the hit, then a confident landing, after that the second cop surprises her, tension building, she makes a move, he is about to shoot and gets shot… but I got only one page! So when you think about it – all you need is 3 shots – a very clear “knock out” panel; strong gun point; cop gets killed and Eve makes it.
Next thing is to figure out how to split the real estate on the page. Usually, I will put in all the text and dialogue on the page to make sure it reads in the proper order and then work with it to tell the story. In this case, there was only one word VO and one line from the cop plus a couple of SFX.
For every page I decide a hierarchy of the panels – the most important, the “pause”, moving and still panels, fast and slow, wides and closeups… In this case, we have Eve dropping from the top so it has to be a vertical panel to emphasize the hit. There goes N1. Then the gunpoint – that had to feel like a very strong steady panel – a square would be great, so I decided to block the cop in a double rectangle and ground him really well by drawing still objects around him. The third one is suppose to be Eve ducking the gun. In the first panel she attacks in a vertical space; the third – she runs for her life – exactly the opposite of the first one, so I am going with a horizontal one. To show the tension building and to pause I put a small panel of Eve in extreme close up to emphasize the “trap” she is in.
Then after I am done with composition and basic pencil I start reinforcing the storytelling with the black spots. They help isolate the most important message of each panel and then glue all of them together as a solid page. You can see how in the pencils the cop’s legs in panel 1 go straight into Eve’s head in the last one. Blacks help isolate the two panels and keep the eye where I want it.
The final fun is to place the ink on top of everything and to choose only those lines, which are necessary to show what you need to show. It’s my favorite part, because it’s like a puzzle – you have your own very rough drawing to “feel the volumes and shadows” but now you have to constrain it into lines and shapes.
Last thing I do is color the page. In this particular one colors are very limited, I just wanted to keep the scarf as the symbolic element that I established a few pages before that. The reds also help isolate the panels and reinforce the movement in the last panel, creating a very horizontal dynamic feel.
Second page is about Gene returning to the safe house with the guns, thinking everything is fine, but finds out Murphy is on the ground and is surprised by Eve. I wanted to have a very “quite” page where everything starts boring and slow with a very uninteresting panel of Gene closing the door, then his POV, sudden reaction and before he goes forward on full speed he is being stopped by Eve from behind coming out of the shadows. At first I had the second panel just a strong perspective one, but I thought it wasn’t enough, so I rotated it to create a “spinning, out of control” effect – “shouldn’t be like that” effect. For the page I felt like I need to slow things down and decided to put a lot of panels, creating enough pauses.
All the principals I listed in the beginning apply the same way, so I am not going to bore you with more writing
Last page was again very challenging, because in the script we had Eve disarming and killing a lot of guards, but we realized we can’t afford it, so I had to come up with a plan to show all the guards are down and Eve is responsible. I approached this as if I am holding a camera on a crane and simply am going down from a wide view of the house, to a close up on the ground outside the fence, showing a dead guy’s face. While doing that we have the VO of the only guard left looking for the others.
thanks for looking. I hope you find this post helpful :)