Wednesday, February 14, 2007
So here's what Annette gets before she starts colouring. You can start to see the sort of choices she makes when you see the black and white artwork. While I send her some notes, the buck stops with her.
I've already spoken about how I got the gig, so I thought I'd talk about the process. I got the job and the script about 11am on saturday morning. I didn't finish work until midday. Frank was at work late on a friday night (big time difference as I'm in Australia), and needed to approve layouts before I could get started. He had about 3.5 hours to approve these layouts. If I missed the boat then I'd have to wait til his monday (my tuesday) to get started, and that would make the friday deadline impossible.
So I ran home (not literally) and began work on the layouts. Layouts are small sketches of the page. Little more than stick figures to show the editor (Frank) and the network (NBC) how the pages are going to look. They basically looked like this:
It's important to stick to them, because when they've been approved any changes you make might have to be redone.
While it seems simple, doing layouts burns my brain out. Trying to conceive things from all possible angles is a real nightmare. I realised I wouldn't get through more than three pages over the weekend, so I just layed (laid?) out the first three pages. Frank approved them immediately and I got to work.
NBC's main concern with my layouts was that there was too much unused space (also called negative space). My theory was two-fold:
1. I wanted to keep panels wider than they were taller to maintain a "widescreen" feel to the comic. The closer visually it could look to the show, the more accepting readers would be.
2. When I read the online comics, I downloaded them as a PDF and zoomed in so the pages were as wide as my monitor and then scrolled down. The problem was that long thin panels forced me to zoom out, and thus disrupted my reading. Wide panels mean that the reveals are all vertical. This means that as you scroll down, you see what happens next. The layout is conducive to the PDF reading format.
1. Check out the newspaper article up close (you will need to download the colour one on the site - we were specifically asked to place those newspaper headlines.
2. The name of the beer is Northeast Brewing Company, as a smart poster on the 9th Wonder Message boards noted, the acronym is NBC.
3. The script didn't call for Sylar to go rummaging through a charity clothes bin. That was my decision. I just felt that if you're covered in blood from two gunshot wounds, then it's unlikely that someone's going to give you a ride. If I'd received the screen caps for episode 15 earlier, I would have given Sylar the green wide neck top.