Thursday, 3 December 2009

Living up to its name...

As I've previously mentioned, I've drawn an eight page story for Heske Horror's 2012: Final prayer anthology, written by Bob Heske himself. Its a lovely looking book with some great short stories so I'd recommend picking one up.

I love seeing artist's process work, and I experimented a little with my approach to the following page, so with Bob's permission here's a little 'script to finished page' post:

1/ Bob send me his script:

Page One

6 panels.

Panel 1:
Exterior Nursing Home. Night.
Snow is on the ground. A shoveled, paved walkway leads us to a brick building.
A sign outside: Rosebud Nursing Home.

How’s she doing today?

Not one of her better days.

Panel 2:
Interior nursing home, a drab, depressing room.

ANGLE ON – A 65‐year old woman (AIDA) who sits in a chair by a window. She looks much older – her hair is white, her skin loose over her brittle bones. Her eyes are blank, her mind lost in a fog.
There are blinds in the window, a crucifix on the wall, and ugly print wallpaper on the walls.

Frankly, mom’s best days are behind her.

That’s true for us all, Dex.

Panel 3:

REVEAL – DEX, a 40‐year old man with a boxer’s sturdy build wearing a wool coat. Beside him is the attending nurse, DOTTIE, whose ample cleavage fills out her white uniform quite pleasantly.

Between them, hanging on the wall, is a calendar. It shows December with the 21st day circled.

At least the world didn’t end. December 21st, and we’re still here.

Another false Apocalypse. Like 1984, Y2K, and Planet X in ‘03.

Panel 4:
ANGLE ON – Aida, in her own world, almost appears to be listening to their conversation.

Looks like we’ll be here to celebrate Christmas after all.

Panel 5:
Dexter watches Aida leave the room, admiring the view. His right hand reaches inside his coat.


Panel 6:
Dexter pulls out a REVOLVER and stares maliciously at his mother with dementia.

Some of us will.

Apologies to Bob as some of the formatting is lost while transfering to the blog. Bob also embedded lots of really helpful reference material into the PDF, which were extrememely helpful in picturing the scene as I read the script, but since I didn't directly reference the images and this blog will be long enough as is, I've left them out.

2/ Small thumbnails to layout the panels and figures:

Often on first pages, I like to make one panel larger than the rest to pull the reader into the scene. In this case though there was a lot of information to portray; most of the panels are establishing shots of different characters and the last is the 'action' shot. I made panel 3 a little larger than the rest as it establishing arguably the main protagonist Dex, but I had to make the other panels stand out clearly as well. The above jpeg is probably the actual size I drew it, at just a few inches tall.

3/ Pencilling (work in progress)
Drawn on 11 x 17 inch bristol board. I looked up some photos of old ladies and I think the side view of Aida in panel 3 was pretty close to the imageI found, as I needed to see which way glasses sit on the nose, but for the most part I didn't use much direct reference. I wanted Dex to look different from my other male characters, so he's based very loosely on Bruce Willis on panel 3, just to give me a starting point. I've heard he look like everything from myself, to an angry Gary Barlow, so I don't think the likeness is too obvious.

4/ Working out panel 2: I'd just downloaded a free 3D modelling program called DAZ3D and was having a messaround with finding a nice pose for Aida on the chair:

I experimented with different angles, but ended up ignoring the model and just going for a simpler angle as it was the first time Aida appeared in the story, I needed to establish the calander on the wall, and leave room for dialogue. I also felt it was appropriate to start off with an almost mudane angle, then go for the more extreme angles when the action started on panel 6.

5/ Inking:

I starting inking the piece, tidying up and refining the artwork using mostly the new Rotring ink pen I'd just picked up and a little bit of brush for the bigger black areas. This was my first time using the Rotring on a proper comic page, I felt the pen would bring a grittier look to the page, which I thought suited the story.

- We're only half way through and the blog's getting a little image heavy so I'll call this Part 1 and show the redraws, inks, grayscaling and lettering/finished page in my next blog post...


  1. It's interesting to see the kind of information you get in the script, thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks Ferret, Yeah you're getting a bit of the writing process as well as the art I guess :)