The second panel on this strip was one of those panels where if you don’t sell it the whole gag falls apart. The following is a little behind the scenes look at what goes into a drawing like this.
With an idea in my head of what the panel should look like, the first step in drawing it is referencing the shot. In my case that means going down to the basement and taking a whole bunch of pictures – then creating a Frankenstein Monster like collage of them in Photoshop until I think I’m in the ballpark. (And yes that’s me posing as both Hil and Faye.)
The next step is roughing it up in pencil on bristol. Nothing is traced verbatim as all the objects will need to align to a perspective point. Hil and Faye’s faces will also need to be simplified as this image will be reduced to the size of a postage stamp in print. I also wanted a circle of light around the light source with everything else in shadow and not quite discernible.
Next up – a combination of tightening up pencils and inking. When you’re inking your own work you can be much looser in the pencil stage as you’re not handing it off to someone else to ink who doesn’t know what’s intended. It can also lead to some revisions in the drawing, like the spider’s web I added in the upper left hand corner.
After the strip is inked I scan it as a 600 dpi bitmap and do any touch-ups I think it needs. This is also the stage where lettering is placed (granted not for this wordless panel).
Last up is color. Usually the staff at King Features down in Florida handles colors for the dailies, but in cases like this where I have specific colors in mind I’ll do the color separations in Photoshop myself and send that file to them as well.
And that’s it in a nutshell.
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