Monday, June 19, 2006

The Angora Napkin comic: Page Creation

My process in creating the Angora Napkin graphic novel is very different from how I approach Chiaroscuro, both by choice and necessity. Chiaroscuro: Patchwork Book 1 is a 230 page monster of crosshatching. Here's a fairly tame segment from issue #7:


Back in 2000 when I began Chiaroscuro, my idea was to do a comic in a style that would be simple enough to do in my spare time. Ha ha.

So upon beginning the Angora Napkin comic, I put my foot down: Keep It Simple Stupid. Angora Napkin is a breather for me between Chiaroscuro hand cramps. On top of that I'm working a full time day job, a part time weekend job, home owner, husband and soon to be father of twins. My time is limited to say the least.

First thing I decided upon was portability. It's just not practical to carry around a portfolio full of illustration board, bottles of ink and all that jazz. Also, as I learned from doing a few 24 hour comics, SIZE MATTERS. So to solve these problems I picked up a pad of Strathmore smooth Bristol board (11X14). Fits nicely into my man purse and the actual drawing area is close to 8.5X11 instead of 10X15. It makes a huge difference.

I wrote a 3 page treatment for the graphic novel outlining the story in broad terms. This was very different for me as Chiaroscuro's storyline lives in my head only until I sit to write an issue. From the outline I chicken scratch the dialogue into a note book, fleshing out the story as I go along. This took place in coffee shops, my friend Patricks' wood working shop and in a truck while I waited for him to load up wood. I've highlighted the "text" I used.



Based on that, I do some thumbnails. I've pointed out the particular page I'll be focusing on (page 10).



Taking the drawing from here to the next phase is pretty organic. I use this as a base to work from and change things that I don't like, or adjust the composition. I may add, delete or change dialogue to fit the scene better as well. I've been roughing these out full size on basic copy paper with blue or red (whatever's handy) col-erase pencils and then tightening them up with a nice dark B pencil. I'll sometimes cut them apart and reassemble them, or parts of them until I generally like the poses and layout. This whole process goes pretty quick when I've got my head in the game and I get some nice energetic drawings.


I then transfer the drawing to the Bristol board and tighten up the drawing with a mechanical pencil, adding the panel boarders, dialogue, background and whatever's missing. For inking, I'm keeping portability in mind. My favorite tool for drawing lately have been my Pental pocket brush pen. I love it! I do the lettering with a rapido graph and fill in blacks using a sharpie, but pretty much everything else gets the brush.


All the stuff up to this point I do when I find a spare moment. I'm usually up and working around 6am until I have to go to the day job around 8. I'll try and get out at lunch, grab a coffee and work some more. Once and a while I do a bit of evening work and if it's not busy I'll do some thumbnail/rough work during my weekend job. I can manage about 2 pages a week at this pace, give or take.

I also tried adding spot colour to some of the pages. I had that in mind from the beginning, but whether or not the colour version is going to be used is still a question up to the publisher.

16 comments:

ncross said...

Wow, it's looking great Troy. I like this new look for the characters. they're a lot more interesting and funny. Are you going to shop this around to try and get it published or are you going to do it yourself?
I also like the "Ghost World" spot colour, it's fitting somehow.
Anyway, I can't wait to see this thing when it's done...

Doc Savageland said...

Great stuff Troy. Put me down for an issue, wherever it gets sold.

Baron said...

I love to see a step-by-step process on making comics, great stuff! Oh, and who are you getting to publish this?

Troy Little said...

About a year ago Slave Labour Graphics expressed interest in the project but I didn't have much to show them in comic book form at the time. I've resubmitted the pitch about 3 weeks ago containing the outline and 10 completed pages, so we'll see if they bite. If not I'll try my hand at some other publishers.

While I really enjoy publishing myself, I really don't need the hassle right now.

The spot colour is inspired by "Ghost World". I tried a few colour variations and for some reason they just didn't feel right.

pinky said...

I'm not sure why you put this up, but I'm glad to see that you did. Aeesome stuff! And thanks, this really helps me out!
kel

Kyle Marshall said...

How the hell do you have so much going on, do you sleep, do you eat, do you actually have time to breathe?

Jason C said...

hmmm.. I think you need at least 3 or 4 other side projects to work on.. I've seen you sitting over there in your chair.. breathing!! Drinking coffee!!.. all that wasted time... for shame troy.. for shame...

Troy Little said...

Good point Jason, I can see that as wasted time. So from now on you can bring me coffee and I'll start work on revamping my web site.

Rob A. said...

Great post Troy!
I love entering the sometimes deranged mind of an artist.

Von Allan said...

Interesting stuff, Troy. Similar to how I work, too. Though I should add that I'm a full script guy first and foremost. I've never done what I call the Jeff Smith style (where his thumbs also serve as a script). Very cool, just not me.

I don't think your local to Ottawa anymore, but I'm actually showcasing pages from the graphic novel I'm currently working on down at Rasputin's on Bronson.

Oh, and for what it's worth: I enjoyed Chiaroscuro quite a bit.

Von

onemanpunkband said...

can't wait to see more troy. and in response to your question about my manymachines blog, its a storyline i've been working on, and i was going to put it up not under that name. but things have been kinda rough as of late, so its hard to get something together... plus i'm having trouble with the storyline and i think i might need some help. how's everything with you?

Troy Little said...

Hey Von! Unfortunatly you are correct in that I can no longer be found in Ottawa. The sample pages from your GN seem awfully familiar, I snapped a lot of reference for Chiaroscuro in the Glebe and Bronson area when I lived in Ottawa.

Tavis, good to hear from you! How's NS treating ya? Things are BUSY here as of late, and the twins haven't arrived yet but could any day. It's just bizarre I tells ya. Good luck with the story, I'm keen to see what you're up to so blog when you can!

E. Ann Bardawill said...

Wait.. wait...
You're still working on Chiaroscuro?

Oh please say you are.
It's the only worthwhile book I've seen come out in years.

Some guy at Wizard's Tower in Kanata said it was discontinued and I felt like crying...

Troy Little said...

Thanks! Oh yes, Chiaroscuro is still on the go. I'm just on a little break from the land of crosshatching.

crimespree said...

Is book one for sale anywhere? i.e. Comic Hunter?

Troy Little said...

The Comic Hunter likely has back issues 1-7 in stock, the graphic novel proofs are still at the printer. More info to follow soon!