Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Plan, plan, plan! Busy, busy, busy!

So I'm trying to finish the layouts for the first issue of Slaughterman's Creed. I've been so busy with workshops/teaching/mentoring for the last few days I've barely had to time to put pencil to paper. However, I will be cramming tonight to get them finished so I can start the actual pages asap!

Anyway this has reminded me of one of the first things I learned while drawing Cancertown; don't do layouts one page at a time (or at least read and re-read the script)! In the first few pages of the graphic novel, Morley falls out a window and finds his way up and back into the apartment again. Now I'd read the script a few times, but didn't think the type of window was important to any future panels. Turns out that it was meant to be a foldy-outy type window so that Morley could lean out by holding onto it later, while I'd drawn a slidey-upy type window.

Whats that you're thinking? "Thats the most trivial mistake an artist could ever make!" Yeah, I just drew him leaning out a little less, but considering this was the first 5 pages I'd ever handed into a publisher it annoyed me that I'd already made a little error. So i made sure from then on I'd do rough layouts for a bunch of pages at a time. I try to do whole issues, but sometimes I just get itching to start on the actual pages. I do make little notes though as I read the script, jotting down what props I need for earlier pages (which often changes the layouts).

It's come to be a good practice this week. One example; the opening scene and the 3rd scene of Slaughtermans Creed are set in the same place, but when we return to it, the slaughterman is washing his tools (don't be crude!) and in order to use the angle I wanted, I had to go back and make sure the sink was in the earlier panels/pages. I've had a reread of chapter 1s script again (terrible memory) and drawn a little layout of the abatoir that will help me keep things right.

See we artists are more than just character illustrators... we're fashion gurus, interior designers, and architects (just don't try to build anything I draw, it probably wont stay up!) :P

So yeah I guess the lesson was really just to plan in advance, its a whole world we're creating after all, not just seperate drawing on a page :)

Thats a little character sketch of the Slaughterman above. I've done another little prototype piece in colour that hopefully I'll be able to share soon.


  1. You're finishing up the issue #1 layouts already? That's amazing!

    I just posted your fantastic Creed concept cover over on my blog. Hope you don't mind; I just couldn't sit on it any longer. :)

  2. You must have been really really wicked if you have had that little rest!

    As for me, I have been really good - but there will be no rest for me either if you are ready to start drawing again :)

    The cover is fantastic. Very "sticky" as Mr Green might say...

  3. I tried having a rest but the drawing board kept calling me back. Damn you Cy and your high concept scripts!!! :)

    I know you didn't really want a break anyway Nic :P

  4. OK you caught me. I didn't keep up with your blog. However this is a really interesting post. I hadn't considered that factor of getting what you draw to match what the writer was thinking. It's really interesting to hear about the dumb details, they are what no one thinks about but they are so important to making the whole thing work.