1. Get a ruler.
2. Get a triangle. A triangle is like a ruler, only it’s shaped like a triangle. It costs like a couple of dollars.
3. Draw straight lines for your panel borders. Use right angles for the corners. That’s what a ruler and triangle can do for you.
4. Measure a distance between your first two panels and then keep using the exact same distance between all your panels in that comic. Those spaces between panels are called gutters. Inconsistently sized gutters look bad and amateurish. Consistently sized gutters look better. It’s a super easy thing to make your comics look way cleaner and more professional. After you try it a few times you don’t have to measure anymore but you DO have to measure at first. So try it!!
EDIT TO ADD: straight lines and consistent gutters is like the comics layout equivalent of figure drawing / anatomy — get the basics down solid before you start getting crazy and stylized. Log some hours doing the most straightforward approach before you decide you’re a genius and can do whatever the hell you want.
Hey! Huge fan of your stuff, I'm very new to the whole comic book process. I was wondering if you rough an entire book before you start your inking, or do a set of pages at a time? And when it comes time for ink do you often find yourself altering your roughs or do you get them pretty set in stone beforehand? Thanks!
For Seconds, I’m roughing the entire book before inking anything. I’m not finished yet so it’s an intimidating process. I hope it works out.
For Scott Pilgrim, I switched off thumbnails, penciling and inking as I went. I would do like 8-12 pages of thumbnails at a time and then maybe pencil 5-6 pages then ink most of them then go back and pencil more, and so on. Later in the series, maybe around volume 4, I started penciling a whole chapter (like 30 pages usually) and then inking the whole chapter before moving to the next one. This gave me more of a feeling that I was making concrete progress.
What processes do you go through when creating a character's personality, appearance, and history?
i don’t have a process for this…
i just make stuff up until it feels right.
when I was young I really liked doing character questionnaires and that sort of thing. I had one back in high school (I can’t remember what it was called, I think it was a handout from a writing teacher). I was obsessed with it for a bit and i thought I’d use it for the rest of my life. But I never did. I haven’t done a questionnaire or character tree or anything in any of my published books. I just start writing stuff down and see what clicks.
I probably SHOULD have more of a method for this — i never know much about my characters’ history and stuff. I guess i like discovering it as I go along, but sometimes it would be good to know more up front.
i’m lazy about this kind of thing….. I think it just bores me. I wanna get to the action.
For the appearance, idk… either I have an idea or I don’t. If I don’t, I just start drawing stuff until something feels right.
For the 2 main characters in Seconds, I knew exactly what they looked like and I just refined that initial concept. For another main character I had NO idea and drew a dozen very different versions before I came close. For a love interest, I knew what I wanted in my mind’s eye, but i drew it and hated it, and then two minutes later I sketched a completely different version and ended up going with that; he changed very little from then on.
I think my development process is (a) organic (b) intuitive (c) slow (d) kinda dumb. Sorrrryyyyyyyyy.
can you please tell us more about neil and his papier-mâché-dolphin-making girlfriend because that's the best thing I've ever heard (recently). i'm begging you
(refers to this post)
Well, Neil’s quirky girlfriend and an early version of Scott’s brother (Lawrence West) were new characters in the first sketches and notes for volume 5, but they quickly got eliminated.
Lawrence would have been a major character — he was working with Gideon and the Twins because he owed them a debt or something… it was dumb. He basically got completely pulled out and if I needed someone for Twin collaboration I used Julie.
Neil’s girlfriend was going to be a minor character, just some jokes and she was going to be another cute girl for me to draw. She got taken out and at one point we see Neil with another girl who is definitely NOT this deleted girlfriend. Suffice to say, she was going to be cute and quirky and stuff. I dunno. She never really made it further than that. I think her name was Eleanor (after my 2007 dream girl Eleanor Friedberger).
I’ll include sketches and notes for them in the back of the color edition of vol 5 next year! I don’t have time to go through all that stuff right now.