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Okay, how do you PLAN your comic's pages?
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Liliy



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 268

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...plan? What is this...plan?

XD

Ha...foreign concept. WAM is 90% ad-libbed the night before it updates. The other 10% is the in my head concept of what I want to happen in the chapter./Section.

Now Granted, my comic's only half story driven; the other half is gag a day so this works well enough. If I were to shift into full blown story...I'd probably still ad lib b/c Im lazy.

Now if I wanted to really get into it and get into more depth, like symbolism, or deep plot lines - I'd probably write out the entire story first and then story board it out so it could be proof read and have someone help me find the continuity errors.
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katastrophe



Joined: 19 Aug 2008
Posts: 287

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My comic's a bit... odd... in terms of plot. (Actually, I could probably have stopped at "odd", but sticking to the question at hand....) I do actually have a plan for it, in terms of "character X will end up at point Y", but on a day-to-day basis it's basically a lot of people wandering around having stuff happen to them in a moderately interesting/funny way.

Basically the plotting process goes like this:

A) Come up with a storyline that either moves a character towards that eventual goal, shows something about the characters or world that I want to show, or amuses me. Preferably all three.

B) Figure out how many pages it is. Since I update three times a week, I largely think "how many weeks does it feel like this runs?" and then try to poke the storyline into that shape. If I can, I make big reveals or major shifts in tone/scene/time/whatever within the storyline fall on Fridays, because it feels like a better break.

D) Sketch out what I want to happen in each page. What moves plot-wise, basically, and what information I need to get across, and the punch, and how many panels it's going to be, and so on. I've been trying to think more about layout in this stage too. Almost all my stuff is three- or four-panel, but I'm not sure whether that's necessity or laziness.

E) Script. If I'm being good, anyway -- I will admit to occasionally winging it and doing the comic from the rough idea I came up with in D), but it's much better if I script. Saves those last-minute surprises like, "oh, damn, they wouldn't have a 'book' per se in the future, need to come up with a different metaphor" or "oops, I really should have him say that in French, where'd I put the reference books....?" Amazing how much that can slow you down.

And then I, you know, do the comic. And it mostly seems to work. My readers haven't shot me yet, at least....
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Lavenderbard
^_^


Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 845
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, er...
1) I have a story roughly shaped out in my head.

2) I write a script for the whole story (that is really more like a play script than a comic script -- dialog and a few stage directions.)

3) I take the script and draw storyboards for the whole story, writing in the dialog and sketching all the panels. I try to get each page to move the story forward... if I think it didn't I do a little snippage. I also try to end each page on a significant moment, a joke line, or a cliff-hanger. I don't always manage, but I try.

4a) If this is Black Flag, I go into Poser and discover that my storyboards don't actually work in three dimensions, and redo everything as I do the actual renders.

4b) If this is Scent of Spring, I redraw all the storyboards as "good art" usually making only minor changes, but adding a lot of detail.


Doing storyboards may take longer, and when we're talking Black Flag I do redo a lot of stuff, but I find I'm happier with the results anyway. If I decide to do major revisions anywhere I usually go back and do a new set of storyboards.

Edit: Forgot to say that I try to get test readers at each stage in the process. With try being the operative word.
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Varethane



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 559

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

katastrophe wrote:
My comic's a bit... odd... in terms of plot. (Actually, I could probably have stopped at "odd", but sticking to the question at hand....) I do actually have a plan for it, in terms of "character X will end up at point Y", but on a day-to-day basis it's basically a lot of people wandering around having stuff happen to them in a moderately interesting/funny way.

This is pretty much what I do, all the time. <_<

...Well all right, there is a bit more, although it varies from page to page. Scripts and I don't seem to get along, for all that I enjoy writing them and have done so religiously at least once for nearly every chapter. Thing is, I'll write the script and then never look at it again except for when I feel like I'm going too far off the rails or that I've forgotten the overall progression of actions within a sequence. Mostly I just make pages based on the logical progression of the characters and their reactions to the page that came before. So character X just got insulted? What will he do? I could look at my script (if I haven't diverged too far from it already), but I know character X and his speech/reaction patterns, and I've probably already thought of something for him to say. Sometimes it's close to what I wrote the first time; other times it's way off, but usually fits better anyway.

Ordering the panels is generally the trickiest part for me (which is why my panel layouts are so plain compared to other manga-inspired comics), followed closely by figuring out what angle/exact point in an action or scene would function best to portray what's going on. So I know what the character is going to be saying and doing.... do I draw the beginning of that action, the middle, or the end? Do I break it up into two or three panels? Do I put my 'camera' behind them, below them, above them? Do I fit in another character, or show a glimpse of the monster creeping up behind them?

I decide these things based on what I did for all the other panels-- if I've already done an extreme-angle shot from below on one page, I won't do it again (or if it would fit better the second time, I'll erase the first and figure out something else).

I have this tendency to not put as much as I want to in my panels. Other comics can fit entire figures into one small panel; somehow I have to force myself to draw any smaller than what usually amounts to about half the figure, or a bust shot. This could be because I work small, as far as comics go-- I've been considering sizing up my pages from letter-size. Maybe it'll be easier then (or I'll just put more panels onto a single page.... then again, I wouldn't mind that either. All in the interests of moving the action along faster!)
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munkymu
Postpostpostpostpost!


Joined: 30 Nov 1999
Posts: 1735
Location: Canadia

PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have some vague idea of where the story's going next. I write out a few paragraphs about what happens next until something clicks. I do a rough draft to test my pacing and composition and make sure I'm not trying to cram too much into one page and the page actually moves things forward. Then I do the good version.

Most of the planning actually happens in the rough draft/thumbnail (well, most of it happens inside my head) so there's often large holes in my "script".
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Harrington AW



Joined: 26 Oct 2008
Posts: 879

PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For Spying with Lana I sketch out a loose layout of each episode and scribble the dialog next to it so that I can refer to it when I do the actual comic.

For Outrageous Fortune, I do nothing. The final product is also the first draft. I just put down whatever i think of at the time.

Maybe that's why Spying with Lana is the more popular of the two....

-S
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dpat57
Ich bin ein webcomicker


Joined: 11 Aug 2008
Posts: 2632
Location: Sunny/wet/windy Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I keep the story in my head, I've found this is just as efficient as writing it down, which seems kinda pointless when new ideas keep popping up all the time and the story changes accordingly. I know how each story is going to end and I've already imagineered (insert pretentious wank smiley) the sequences I need to create to get there. Same thought process as when I write a short story or novel chapter. Anyways...

I doodle-sketch the latest sequence on sheets carelessly ripped from a writing notepad, thus showing my contempt for any kind of organization, and scribble snippets of key dialogue just to remind myself what the hell's going on, e.g.



...Maybe I should be saving and framing these to sell on eBay instead of throwing 'em in the bin! Ketchup and butter stains artfully added. Actually my keyboard already represents all the major food groups, a quick rub should do it.

When I've got maybe 8-10 panels rough-sketched, I'll execute these using software and create jpegs, which I then edit to add layers for dialogue, balloons and background. Dialogue is expanded from the rough sketch -- when I script dialogue in advance it usually changes anyway so that was another step to cut out.

Sometimes reading just-created panels can result in better ideas popping up! I'll see the opportunity for a better joke or a clearer action. When this happens I might stop, go back and rewrite dialogue, insert new panels, or trash entire sequences and start over. All part of the fun creation process.

Harrington AW wrote:
Maybe that's why Spying with Lana is the more popular of the two....

Agreed, it must be the lack of script, it's absolutely nothing to do with Lana's being a hot babe.
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chrispco



Joined: 09 Jan 2009
Posts: 109
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once I get an idea, I begin throwing characters at it in my head until something sticks. I give them some free will and observe where they take me. If the story seems to be funny and interesting, I stay in my head and start tightening up the theme and storytelling.

Next I open up Word, jot down a brief outline for each strip in my head, and begin fleshing out the lines as they play out. Being a character-driven strip, my kids naturally propel a story along, often resulting in lots of potential ideas and constant additions to what I have. With them all in front of me, I cut things down to the best parts, ideally leaving batches of six, representing a week of strips. I don't plan to keep Sundays in continuity.

Once the script is written, I block out the strips in the template and do further dialog editing to streamline things. Very few strips end up matching the written script in the end. Once the words are in place, I draw in the characters. If it's a complex strip, I'll do sketchbook work first to figure out the best approach in drawing. This is the last chance to change things around, as I'm not confident enough in inking control to ink on a whim.

I try to work as far ahead as possible, giving me fresh eyes with which to view strips. It's a lot easier to cut a weak strip when you're a few weeks ahead than when a deadline is rapidly approaching.
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NobbyNobody



Joined: 16 Nov 2007
Posts: 678
Location: England

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plan?
Ha ha ha ha ha ha aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha aha ha ha ha >snort< ha ha ha ha ha ha ha aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
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munkymu
Postpostpostpostpost!


Joined: 30 Nov 1999
Posts: 1735
Location: Canadia

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NobbyNobody wrote:
Plan?
Ha ha ha ha ha ha aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha aha ha ha ha >snort< ha ha ha ha ha ha ha aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!


This looks extra-funny with your sig pic, Nobby.
Very Happy
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Varethane



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 559

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cdrcjsn wrote:
I just updated my comic strip process, now with pics!

http://www.familiar-ground.com/about/the-comic-process/

Thus reminding me that I actually put up my process on the site a little while ago... what little of it there is! The scripting and storyboarding is pretty much done all spur of the moment.
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