Thursday, 19 December 2013

My Page Creation Sequence

This blog entry is a rough over-view of the process I follow when drawing a page for my book. I'm sorry to say the pictures in this blog are from photographs, and therefore a bit dodgy.

After the initial research and working out the script and layout I begin drawing the final artwork.
I use a mechanical pencil with an HB lead, on A3 Bristol Board which is available in pads. This is convenient for me because I don't need to cut larger sheets down to size.
I made up a template to mark in the page border with panels already measured out for up to 8 panels. These are varied as required, but usually I stick to 6 to 8 panels per page. The template saves having to measure and mark each page. I just lay it on the page and mark the outside border. Then use a T-square and set-square to rule the panels.
I then rule the lines for the text using a Linex ruling guide. I've seen these advertised in "How To" books as "Ames" ruling guides. These make ruling the lines very easy and always the same size. I bought mine at Eckersley's in 2009.
Inking the text
Then I pencil in the text, and edit the story as needed to fit it into the available room in the panel. This is often tricky as only so many words will fit into a given space. I have tried at all times to have no more the 12 lines of text per panel. Six at the top and 6 at the bottom. Any more and the panel is way too "wordy". So then begins a game of linguistic gymnastics to find words that mean the same thing but are smaller, etc.
Once this is finished I draw the pictures using as much reference material as I can find.
Then I began to ink the text with a firm pen like a Post Office nib. All the lettering is done by hand; no digital for me.

Borders finished, and Contour lines being added.

I then ruled the borders, and drew speech balloons with an ellipse template and French Curves. Next I inked the drawings mostly in outline using dip pens or sable brush, with only a little shading and shadows. I like a flexible nib like a Gillot 303 for drawing. My favourite sables were Windsor & Newton #2 and #4, and also a Holcroft #4. 
Ready now to rub out the pencil lines.

The next stage was to rub out the pencil marks with a rubber that didn’t create big ‘crumbs’. The big crumbs tended to absorb some of the ink and when caught under the rubber in the rubbing motion they sometimes caused a black ink smear. This problem was probably the result of using low quality ink. 

Mistakes like these are fairly normal for me... worse luck.

Once all the pencil is rubbed out, I apply correction fluid to fix text or pen lines that are not right. (If not done in this order the correction fluid is liable to be dirtied from the act of removing the pencil marks.) I use white-out pens, and have recently read in a "How To"  book that this shouldn't be used. ???? I don't know why, because it works alright for me.

Finally I do the corrections to the text and/or the drawings; also add extra shading, and spot blacks as required.

Then start the next page.

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