Sometimes a comic starts with a single picture. In this case - people seated at the table of the Last Supper. Previous to making Stuff About Friday The 13th
, I researched and wrote an article about the theories around the superstition's origins. It just so happens that there are ties to Loki gatecrashing a party, Judas' role at the last supper and a strange French custom related to having 14 diners. The image that came to mind was something like this...
This started the process and also made me decide on my format. I recently saw another comic that used a grid of boxes to great effect, using text beneath the images. It seemed fitting, especially since without having to worry about text in the image, I could design every illustration more quickly.
To create the concepts, I used a large sheet of paper and drew different designs:
Apologies for the poor picture. The page is roughly A1 in size and you can just make out various pencil scribbles on it, detailing different panels and the possible script I would use. Using a large paper surface is great for brainstorming concepts and ideas - I use a roll of cheap paper I bought from a newspaper print shop.
Once the ideas are figured out, I moved onto creating the final design:
Using the thumbnails from the brainstorm page, I finalised the designs. This part of the process takes up the most time, as you can't rush it. Tiny details and small touches are usually added here. The brainstorm stage is too early for that, while the next stage is usually too late to improvise or fix things.
Next up, I use a light table and set the blue lines on a higher stock piece of paper:
After this the artwork is inked. I decided to just use technical pens. Brush would be too much, especially since I opted for hard shadows and very little crosshatching. Fine lines contrasted better than the organic lines a brush pen would produce. You can do all that with a brush pen, but I'm not that good yet. Here is a scan of the inked artwork, with blue lines removed and the frames spaced out:
The squiggles on the side are due to the pens giving me problems. They do not flow fast at all, which was frustrating at first. This is a downside of cheap pens, but it's always good to experiment with different brands. At that was left is to add the black background and add the text. Normally I hand-write the text, but for expediency I decided to make this digital. It also seemed to fit better with the infographic nature of this piece. The font is Comic Sans. I did not consider using colour - it might clash with the contrasts I'm using, plus colour does not work that well with this specific character designs.
The final piece:
Overall project time: 7 to 8 hours, excluding research.