2013 has started off with a bang in terms of creating comics! I thought I’d post a bit of the process I use in creating my mini comics. Two of my favorite motivators for creating are 1. Knowing a comic event is coming up and 2. Encouragement from other artists. In the case of creating these 2 new mini comics…I received both. I knew the Lexington Comic Con was approaching and a gentle challenge, from pal Justin Stewart, to have something new at the event got me moving!
The first mini I wrote was Ham Radio: about 2 kids who start talking with strange voices over an antique radio. I wrote it fast and simple, assigning one key plot point per page and providing no dialogue. In the case of this story I felt the actions of the characters were more important, dialogue being secondary. As you can see I don’t thumbnail my stories first pass. I just write out descriptions for action and/or dialogue. In this case all dialogue was created, at last minute, while thumbnailing the pages right before penciling.
The item to the right is my mini mock-up. I create one of these for every mini a make to help me properly collate the pages for printing. Most folks probably don’t need a crutch such as this, but I’m a very visual person…and a tangible mock-up helps me organize.
I pencil my pages 6”x7.5” allowing me to fit 2 pages per 11”x14” sheets of strathmore bristol. After the pages are all penciled and inked…I scan them into Photoshop where I add shading and lettering. This is also where I layout the pages into a template for printing. I print my minis out on standard 8.5”x11” paper from my laser printer. I can fit 2 sets per page. After, I cut the sheets in half and start assembling using a basic long-arm stapler!
For Ham Radio I wanted a screen-printed cover. Here I’m printing silver ink onto dark-blue paper…4 up. My ink is water soluble and dries quickly. Once the covers are printed and cut they too are ready for comic assembly.
All done! One important step…after I assemble my mini comics I trim all the sides leaving me with a exact 4”x5” mini. I have a large paper trimmer that allows me to trim 5 minis at a time. Most commercial print shops also have industrial trimmers that will charge a minimal fee per cut. Trimming after assembly makes the minis super clean and sharp!
It took me approximately 2 weeks to create Ham Radio. Once it was complete I was still feeling the comic magic! Another story had popped into my head and a weekend with no other plans made itself available to me. So my second mini for 2013, A Boy Born with Antlers, was created.
This story was written in a similar way…assigning a major action per page. But unlike my previous story I wrote all the dialogue up-front. I felt the narration of this ghost story was it’s heart. And there’s another mini mock-up!
With a constant stream of horror movies fueling my productivity…I was able to pencil and ink this entire mini in a weekend.
And again, after I was done with the art it was scanned into photoshop, shaded, lettered and printed out from my laser printer. And again…assembled by hand using a long-arm stapler.
I wanted the cover to be very simple for this story. I created a silhouette of my main character in Illustrator and laser engraved a bunch out of black paper creating a classic aesthetic. And that’s all I added to the cover…gluing them down with rubber cement. I felt this tiny ghost story was all about the physical “affliction” of the main character and there was no better way to portray that than with a silhouette…no title required.
All done! Both of these will debuting this weekend!