SCBWI Canada East Blog

October 9, 2014

5:50 PM 0
My new all-ages graphic novel is now live at www.zoesparks.ca To give a little bit of insight into my process, I thought I would share some of my sketches and show the stages I go through in creating the artwork.

1. Writing/thumbnailing
I start with a story goal in mind, a short written outline, and a loose series of plot points that I write out on a plot diagram. Since I'm very much a visual thinker, the meat of my writing process involves thumbnailing out small sequences of images. I create scenes organically as I let the pictures lead my thought process on where a scene is going. I fill many pages with scenes and snippets of scenes. Then I go through them all and refine and combine these small scenes into thumbnailed pages as the story fits together in sections. This is a lengthy push and pull process, and I find this method helps me stumble upon a lot of interesting scenes and sequences I may not have thought of if I was writing words with the more logical side of my brain. As I thumbnail I also jot down little bits of dialogue in the margins, but sometimes the visuals will give me a good indication of the story at this point without getting overly detailed about dialogue. In the end, I eventually end up with a rough story pieced together from these small thumbnailed pages. At this stage I do a lot of moving of pages/scenes around, adding dialogue, and adjusting things until I'm happy with the story.

2. Penciling
Once I have the thumbnailed pages - these are usually drawn very small at 1.25" x 2.5" - I scan them and place them into Manga Studio. (See this blog post for details on how I set up my story and pages in Manga Studio). I enlarge the tiny thumbnails to actual page size, and then draw my pencils on a new layer using the thumbnails as a loose guide.

The following is a step by step process for two pages...

Hand drawn thumbnails:

Pencils in Manga Studio. All dialog and word balloons are placed at this stage:

Inks in Manga Studio: 

Pages are then exported and colour flatting is done in Photoshop:

Final shading and highlighting in Photoshop:

And that's basically my process.

Also wanted to share some of my working/concept sketches. Here are a few cover concepts:

And the colour artwork for the covers. The cover I ended up using was the one on the far left:

Back cover/interior endpaper concept 1:


Back cover/interior endpaper concept 2:

Concept artwork:

 

Creating a graphic novel: Thumbnails to Finished Art


My new all-ages graphic novel is now live at www.zoesparks.ca To give a little bit of insight into my process, I thought I would share some of my sketches and show the stages I go through in creating the artwork.
1. Writing/thumbnailing
I start with a story goal in mind, a short written outline, and a loose series of plot points that I write out on a plot diagram. Since I’m very much a visual thinker, the meat of my writing process involves thumbnailing out small sequences of images. I create scenes organically as I let the pictures lead my thought process on where a scene is going. I fill many pages with scenes and snippets of scenes. Then I go through them all and refine and combine these small scenes into thumbnailed pages as the story fits together in sections. This is a lengthy push and pull process, and I find this method helps me stumble upon a lot of interesting scenes and sequences I may not have thought of if I was writing words with the more logical side of my brain. As I thumbnail I also jot down little bits of dialogue in the margins, but sometimes the visuals will give me a good indication of the story at this point without getting overly detailed about dialogue. In the end, I eventually end up with a rough story pieced together from these small thumbnailed pages. At this stage I do a lot of moving of pages/scenes around, adding dialogue, and adjusting things until I’m happy with the story.



zoe-blog-process-thumbs
2. Penciling
Once I have the thumbnailed pages – these are usually drawn very small at 1.25″ x 2.5″ – I scan them and place them into Manga Studio. (See this blog post for details on how I set up my story and pages in Manga Studio). I enlarge the tiny thumbnails to actual page size, and then draw my pencils on a new layer using the thumbnails as a loose guide.
The following is a step by step process for two pages…
Hand drawn thumbnails:



zoe-blog-process-1
Pencils in Manga Studio. All dialog and word balloons are placed at this stage:



zoe-blog-process-2
Inks in Manga Studio:



zoe-blog-process-3
Pages are then exported and colour flatting is done in Photoshop:



zoe-blog-process-4
Final shading and highlighting in Photoshop:



zoe-blog-process-5
And that’s basically my process.
Also wanted to share some of my working/concept sketches. Here are a few cover concepts:



zoe-blog-1
And the colour artwork for the covers. The cover I ended up using was the one on the far left:



zoe-blog-2
Back cover/interior endpaper concept 1:



zoe-blog-4
Back cover/interior endpaper concept 2:



zoe-blog-6
Concept artwork:



zoe-blog-3
I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes look into my process.

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