Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Well, thought i might finally show something from Frankenstein. Here's a step by step process of how a page gets made.

First of all, i do a small thumbnail after having read the script. Here, i roughly work out the panel layout, keeping in mind who's talking, in what order they speak in, and what importance each panel plays. This is the first page where we see Victor Frankenstein, so i knew the panel where we first see him properly would have to be bigger in order to focus on him. The script also called for panel one to be big, so taking in those important points i decided on the appropriate layout. I initially thought of adding a panel before panel 1, but then decided against it.

Next was the more defined layout, drawn about 7" high. I used a grey tone marker just so i could loosely render the page without getting caught up in specific detail. Best not to get too detailed at this stage as that can distract from concentrating on the storytelling. Here, i also manage to get a rough idea of how i'll spot my blacks. Since they're in an icy landscape, there isn't much black, so i decided to use black panel borders to balance the page, and also, to heighten the contrast of the panel borders and the stark, cold landscape. I find white looks a lot whiter once there's some black next to it. This page was approved but it was suggested i change panel 3.

Next comes the pencils. I lay out my page reasonably quickly, since most of the decision-making was already taken care of in the more-realised layouts. I changed panel 3 as i was asked, and scanned the page only realising afterwards that i forgot the dead dogs in panel one (sometimes these things slip by you, you have to be careful of silly things like that). The pencils were approved, but my art director, Jon Haward, pointed out that The Master's (2nd character, panel 2) fingers were a bit too long in Panel 2 and to fix them before i started inking (he was dead right, they were way too long).

Then finally, the inks. All corrections have been made, so i just knuckle down with my pen, brush and eraser, and finish the page. Voila!

One down, One-hundred and ten or so pages to go.......



Rich said...

Very nice, how are you finding having an art director?
Will this be coloured or staying B&W?

Rich said...

Just having a look at Sean Phillips new post for a Criminal page and I noticed a real strong likness to his work when your working in dry ink brush.
Just something I noticed and thought I'd mention.

Stephen Mooney said...

Man, does all this back and forth not drive you nuts?! Its driving ME nuts and I'm not even the one doing it!

Declan Shalvey said...

Thanks guys.

Frankenstein will be in full colour. Colourists are being auditioned but no one finalised.

Yeah, i really like what Sean Phillips does with drybursh. He doesn't go mad with it, just uses it where it's needed. I love how artists like him and Michael Lark can loosely render their backgrounds and not loose out on authenticity. It's moodier. I like it.

Also, Criminal is my favourite comic these days. Sean Phillips creates a great mood in the book, and i'm hoping to get some more atmosphere in my pages, so the comparison is much appreciated.

Having an art director is a different experience. On the negative side, i find it slows me down a bit, cuz on Freak Show i can bang out a finished page, From thumbnails to inks, in a day. The extra process of Frankenstein slows me down a bit, but i've always something to work on anyway.

On the positive side, Jon spots little things that i've missed, that would embarass me if they ever made print, like the fingers in the page i posted. On another page, i drew an abnormally long arm. So glad Jon caught that, it was a stupid mistake to make.

In the end, it'll just make a better looking book, so it's cool by me.

Colm Keegan said...

its lookin good - the art director isnt a bad thing either. Collaborative work is always tighter.