27 November 2008


To me, creating comicbooks is a magical process. There's an importance and respect one should give to the various stages of its production. So, if writing is fucking, then thumbnailing is surely the pregnancy.

I tend to write in a short 'verse-like' manner that keeps an eye on how sentences are concentrated in each relevant picture panel, and ultimately, how it may read as a finished page. The example below shows how i group sentences when i write:

Then, with the script in hand, I brainstorm the panels with thumbnails. Here's an unrelated thumbnailed page that illustrates what I do:

Thumbnailing is one of the most enjoyable aspects for me. It's where the rubber hits the road, and the actual 'comic' form is worked out. Here's some more thumbnails of another story I've been doing in the background. Here I brainstormed in blue pencil, and the panels that I felt came out well, were 'blackened' as a quick visual que when i come back on deciding what to actually start laying out when I pencil the final comicbook page:

Anyway... later.

-Bobby.N

8 comments:

JAson Franks said...

I love seeing this stuff.

I hate thumbnailing if I am going to be penciling--I put most of that energy into the script or into the penciled page and my thumbs are very very rough--they barely show me how to divide the page up into panels and I'm ure they're completely indecipherable to other people.

This has caused me a lot of problems--in a couple of cases I drew three times as much as I needed to, threw away most of it, and I still wasn't happy with the outcome. In one instance, a scene I had written at 2 pages came out at six and I had to shuffle a lot of material around to make everything fit.

I have sometimes been asked to provide thumbnail layouts to other artists, and not always from my own scripts. (Often this is a favour for another writer).
If I do layouts for another artist I seem to put in more effort and the results have been good. What's more, I really enjoy it... I guess I'm not impatient to get on with the real thing.

-- JF
-- JF

Bobby.N said...

JASON SAID:
"in a couple of cases I drew three times as much as I needed to, threw away most of it, and I still wasn't happy with the outcome."


This is why i started doing things this way - (Writing, thumbnailing, inking.) - because I was discarding so many nicely inked panels & pages because I was working out WAY too much in the later stages. I still redo inked panels at the end when i see that that the story can be improved, but it's far less common than if I hadn't thumbnailed first.

Thumbnailing really takes the fear of the unknown out of laying down a page. It's a nice map.

-B.

Zeno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zeno said...

Another one here who's often too lazy to put the care into good thumbnailing. When I do thumbnail it will be for a page or two (usually to work out a complex scene in my head) - I have never laid down a whole story before I attacked the first page with finished pencils.

Part of it can probably be scratched up to laziness but I love the sense of discovery and excitement in making the panels and pacing up as I move along. My script is usually really loose for this reason too - so I can take the story along a different, more interesting and unexpected road than the one I originally intended.

Appreciate these posts, please keep them coming.

John Retallick said...

These posts on your process are really interesting Bobby. Keep em up.

I also finally listened to the mp3s from Armageddon - they were cool too. Good to hear from J Marc Schmidt as i hadn't heard him or met him.

Cheers

Bobby.N said...

ZENO SAID:
"When I do thumbnail it will be for a page or two (usually to work out a complex scene in my head) - I have never laid down a whole story before."

I've never done a whole novel in thumbnail myself either Zeno. If it's for a larger story, I end up doing thumbnails of arcs or chapters - but have never done the whole book. I admire people like Craig Thompson who spent a whole year just making a thumbnailed book of BLANKETS on photocopy paper, before he spent the next 3 inking it. Thats amazing. His current project HABIBI is a monster of a GN (much bigger than BLANKETS) - and I think he did the same. Insane!... but praiseworthy.

JOHN RETALLICK SAID:
"I also finally listened to the mp3s from Armageddon - they were cool too. Good to hear from J Marc Schmidt as i hadn't heard him or met him."

I picked up EATING STEVE from Mr Schmidt there at Armageddon, and read it that night. The book was great. He's a real talent, and a friendly guy too. Upon meeting Marc, I sensed him to be very immersed into his craft and we found ourselves nodding our heads in agreement to the same ideals about making comics.

Its a lot of fun sticking microphones in people's faces isn't it John? - :)

-Bobby.N

Jason Franks said...

I've spent the week redrawing a couple of old pages where the storytelling wasn't right when I was supposed to be thumbnailing out a big sequence, which sort of terrifies me. I'd never be so loose if I was writing for another artist... even one like the above-mentioned Marc Schmidt, who is much more capable of laying out a story than I am.

Speaking of whom... wait til you see his newest stuff. I'll bring the pages he sent me yesterday to the the meet next week.

-- JF

Bobby.N said...

Great!

-Bobby.N