The first step is a rough “thumbnail” version of the page. This establishes the panels, basic character placement, and first draft of the dialogue.
Moving to the Bristol board on which the comic will be inked, I draw the inking guidelines in pencil. This includes all the artwork and the lettering. At this stage I also make the final decisions about the artwork and finalize the dialogue. I draw the lines for lettering using an Ames Lettering Guide, a tool which I would highly encourage other cartoonists to check out.
In the inking stage, I first go over the panel borders with a simple Sharpie pen. Next the lettering and balloon borders are traced with fine-line art markers (0.3mm for the letters and 0.7mm for the balloons). The artwork is then inked with a Hunt 100 crowquill pen and sumi ink. I also put in some of the spot blacks at this point, using permanent markers.
Now it’s time for the tedious part. The inked artwork is scanned in and edited in Photoshop. At this stage I remove blemishes and mistakes, add spot blacks as needed, and paint in the gray tones. Once it’s finished, it goes up here for you to look at.
I started working this way beginning with Issue 8 (although for that issue I wasn’t using the painted gray tones yet). Prior to that issue the artwork was penciled on paper but inked digitally. I switched to physical inking in part to reduce the amount of computer time required for each page–and then, of course, started doing this digitally-painted graytone thing that takes almost as long. Oh well.
So that’s how it’s done, buoys and gulls.
Sorry this published late. I made a mistake in the scheduler.
I’m not sure if Blanchard actually has a doctorate, but people tend to call him Doctor. It just comes naturally.
When I was little, I wrote a story titled “The Foyer.” It was about an eccentric rich guy (hmm, I seem to be hung up on eccentric rich guys) who receives a painting of a tiger, which he doesn’t like, so he hangs it in an unused foyer which gets very cold. The tiger in the painting doesn’t like the cold, so it leaves the painting and prowls around his house, attacking the servants. I mention this mostly because it was one of the first stories I ever wrote which I was really proud of, and the title of this page is intended to pay homage to that old story.
In the past I’ve examined the creation of the storylines, but so far very little attention has been given to how the art in Sunrise is produced. (I’m tempted to say “not very well” but that would be unfair, as I do work hard, though admittedly the art leaves something to be desired. It’s a learning process, and I should really stop comparing myself to Jeff Smith.) So, here is the first installment of a two-part series on the art of Sunrise (the next segment will be about the creation of a page, and I have no idea when it will appear).
For Issue 5, I wanted to make sure I captured the correct “look” of an old movie, especially where the fashions of the day are involved. I knew from the start that I wanted to include that bizarre slicked-back hair that was so popular at the time. The obvious way to accomplish this was to go to the ideal source: an old Marx Brothers movie. I remembered that the hero of The Big Store had the look I wanted, so I collected a number of reference images from that and used them to design the appearance of Walter Casey. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m feeling guilty about the sparseness of actual comics around here lately (and it’s not my fault, honest! I’ve just been busy) so I thought I’d post some bonus content as a consolation prize. Don’t worry, this is not a trend.
I’m responsible for the existence of these characters, and as such I try to treat them well. I like all of them, but that is not to say that I love them equally. That’s right–I’m playing favorites.
Even though it’s presented as a comic, it’s becoming more and more clear to me that Sunrise is some sort of play. Look at this. The panels are barely changing at all, and the story would play out almost exactly the same if it was a script. Now, I subscribe to a theory that any story should take full advantage of the medium it’s using. No story should be attached to any medium arbitrarily. And yet that’s what’s happening with Sunrise. This is partly the bad influence of Star Trek, as I have imitated its formatting faithfully while writing Sunrise. I’ve copied the format of TV and made it into a comic. So I now say to myself: bad cartoonist! I’ve got to shake things up a little. Stay tuned (or not, as it were–that’s another TV metaphor).
On a similar note, I really don’t like conjoined balloons such as we have in the first row here. They can be a big problem, especially when people try to use them in conversational dialog (see today’s installment of JumpLeads, for example. I really like JumpLeads, but they have a bad tendency to do these confusing conjoined-balloon dialogs). For this multi-panel monologue, however, I thought they were the best solution. Interesting facts.
So anyway, the secret of the plot is out now. Wooden you know it? Ha ha…right. Sorry.
Well, since Agaly was so persistent, here’s a piece of bonus content which I easily scared up on short notice.
Here’s my pencil rough for Page Three of the current issue. I draw these out in pencil first, then scan them in at 300 DPI and ink them digitally in Photoshop. The page is then lettered digitally in Illustrator. I work from a loose script which states basically what is supposed to happen on each page (although it tends to change over the course of the issue), but all dialog is written at the drafting table.