Wednesday, August 1, 2012

El proceso detrás de una página de CHEW: SECRET AGENT POYO.

Lo justo es justo, este post no lo escribí yo y como es tan largo ni siquiera me tomé el trabajo de traducirlo, mi vagancia ha alcanzado una nueva marca con esto. La cuestión es que me gusta tanto el trabajo de Rob Guillory que me encontré con este post en otro blog y decidí postearlo así nomás. Siempre me tomo el trabajo de traducir todo lo que uso, pero hoy hago una excepción. Aquellos menos acostumbrados al inglés pueden recurrir a la ayuda de Google o del Babylon translator. El resto de los anglo parlantes, enjoy!

By Rob Guillory

The first page of an issue can be a bit…difficult. There’s just something about starting things that can be tough. Especially with something like CHEW. Every issue tends to be pretty episodic and fairly different in tone. Some issues are Sci-fi-heavy, some are heavy on the drama or intrigue. As a result, I find myself having to get in a particular mental space before tackling an issue.

Enter SECRET AGENT: POYO, featuring CHEW’s most popular (and most ludicrous) character, who just happens to be a luchadore fighting rooster who recently became cybernetic. It’s crazy stuff, so when starting the issue, I decided to mentally zone in on two words: “Over-Dramatic” and “Awesome”. Those would be my inspiration in establishing the tone of the book. Though, “Over-Dramatic” might be two words. Whatever.

First, it all begins with the script. Layman’s scripts are tight without being lazy, descriptive without being verbose. Plus, there’s a lot of room for re-interpretation and improvisation. As long as I nail the action of the scene, along with the right beats, all’s well.
Everything begins with the thumbnail sketch. I work out most of each page’s design issues at this stage. Here, I figure out how I’m gonna make each panel aesthetically pleasing and effective in storytelling, while also working together with the other panels as a graphic whole. You know how those little Transformers come together to form that one BIG one? That’s how the panels should work on the page.

Here’s the rough thumbnail. Heavy on mood and shadow on this, the very first page of the issue. Not a lotta funny here. I’m going for a Six Million Dollar Man, sleek, espionage feel since this page shows our lead, POYO, under the knife and at Death’s door, as doctors rush to save his life with cybernetic enhancements.

Next, we go to the 11×17 page. Remember what I said about “Starting things can be hard”? This applies. A blank comic page can be as intimidating as a blank screen to a writer, I think. The infinite possibilities can freak you the f*ck out, if you let them. That’s why I ATTACK the page. I throw down super-fast layouts of each panel, working out approximate character positions, action, perspective, etc. Heavy on the gesture, light on the detail. This takes me around 10-15 minutes to do, since I do them early when I’m a bit half-asleep.
I work in red Pentel graphite. Same principle as blue-line, but it’s a bit easier for me to see. Plus it’s less waxy, so I can ink right on top of it without smearing the ink with my stupid hand.

Then, after I’ve beaten the blank page into submission with my rough layout, I start laying in the detail. I work out human figures out first, generally. Then I work out environmental details. I leave facial expressions for last, because I’m most anal about that part of the drawing, and don’t want to slow up the progress of the rest of the page. I tend to erase and redraw faces until I get them just right, because they HAVE to be right.

Once the pencils are good to go, I start inking with a Micron. I know, drawing with a Micron is a little bit of self-hatred because I’ll have to come back and ink over the lines to establish line weight and depth. Well, sorry. There’s just something quirky in the line itself that is only capable through pen. I find the line I want with my Micron, cementing detail and contour. It’s a bit of an anxious stage, because turning back from here is a bit of an ass-pain. End result: I don’t turn back from this stage often.

Next is the stage where I really wish I had a monkey. Next, I brush in large areas of black for shadows and whatnot. This is the stage where a lotta artists that don’t ink their own work just put a big “X” where the big areas of black go. Why? Because it’s BOOOOORING. Anyway, it’s not the most interesting stage, but it’s gotta happen.

From there, I go back with larger pens and establish line weights. The general rule of thumb is thicker lines are for outlines, thinner lines for detail. Also, thicker lines for closer objects, thinner for farther ones. Really, it’s just all about not leaving the line shallow and uninteresting.

And lastly, I scan the finished page at 1200dpi on my Epson GT-20000 scanner. Then I crunch the dpi down to 600 to really make the lines dense and crisp. And Voila…. our first page of SECRET AGENT: POYO is inked!

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