This quick story was an exercise for Phil Sevy and myself. For a 3-pager, it was a lot of fun to make! Check out this post for production notes and thoughts, but TL;DR: If you’ve made comics with me in any capacity, thank you and much respect for your specific contribution.
A few days ago, @phillipsevy asked me to write a 3-page script for him to test a new visual style. I wrote it in 20 minutes, then he illustrated it in a matter of hours. Then bc I’ve used pandemic time to learn new skills, I decided to letter and flat those pages.
Like I said, the writing was fast by request, but I still had to make the narrative as close to coherent as possible. The genre was asked to be something realistic, and for that I chose a crime-y direction.
Since crime is about done to death (except for a unique & killer OGN that @thejensington & I would like to get off the ground — HIT US UP, PUBLISHERS WITH BUDGETS!!!), I decided to jump the story to the ending.
I did this bc 1) space restrictions & 2) the formula for crime is embedded into us. So even though I don’t go into the situation of why Judy is being given money, the reader can imagine at least three scenarios as to why this might be happening and continue to roll with events.
Rather than say there’s not a lot you can do with characterization in 3pgs, I tried to use props, setting and dialogue to flesh out the Paul character as much as possible.
From his happy remarks on finding a half-filled bottle of booze even as he dies to the way he fights to avenge himself in the bar to the insistence that he be left alone so he can enjoy the day, Paul has an approach to life that is always pushing him forward. Even when dying.
Judy has feelings (crying for Paul), but she also puts herself first. Note that she’s not seen at all in the final panel, leaving before Paul can end his sacrifice speech.
Phil made 2 changes to the story—which I assume were made to increase the population of extras in our settings (he was wanting to practice this new character style, after all). In the script, I had the 2 men meeting an alley, not a full bar. I also had the boardwalk void of ppl.
Honestly, I loved these changes when I saw them. As it upped the intensity of the overall piece. This is one of the best aspects of making comics: Discovering the colaboration is making a better overall tale bc of an approach different from yours.
So after Phil sent the pages, I decided to use them as an excuse to practice lettering & flatting.
I’m always looking for new skills to test, and am especially interested in understanding more about comic-making.
Lettering took me about a 30 mins per page. (Probably less.)
I don’t know if that’s good,
I used to letter in a cheap program called Comic Life. CL has a lot of walls, but there are ways to manipulate the program to get a semi-pro look. I really like CL, truth be told, & it’s definitely a viable option for getting indie books lettered, but I felt I should up my game.
I have zero experience with Photoshop, but recently I bought Affinity Photo for my iPad and have been getting a feel for it, so I have been using it to learn lettering and flatting. I’m still sorting out approaches, but am happy with the progress so far.
Except with flatting…
Flatting 3 pages took me hours & hours over 3 days! I know I’m missing out on shortcut skills, but damn! What a time suck.
Still, flatting is… interesting.
It’s calmingly zen (in a limited capacity), but don’t think I’d ever get fast enough to do more than a few pages.
Since I can’t provide tones, this is where things end. But experiencing these aspects of comic creation deliver better ideas on how to speak about the process with the creators you work with. For that reason, I urge writers to try it.
If you made it this far, thanks! I hope it was a distraction.
If you feel like sharing, by all means.
Also, throw love Phil’s way, as this whole thing wouldn’t have kicked off if not for his call.
Stay safe, and I’ll be back soon with another of these long, rambling posts.