Sunday, 31 January 2010

Elektra - Evolution of a comic character panel.

This week I have decided to show the introductory character panel of Elektra from the short story I did for Panini recently. Having thrown a bad guy through a restuarant's glass window, our heroine steps after her prey clamly with sai in hand. I liked the balletic elegance of her stepping gracefully through the sharp cutting hole. The intent of her actions is there.

The first panel shows my biro sketch. I normally thumbnail panel layouts in the margin of the script and work out the page quickly on A4 with a pen. This looks as near to the finished page as possible and most of the good ideas come out of this process. Fast and spontaneous, it is very exciting to see the page form so quickly, even in this raw state.

Panel two shows my layouts draft. I work in some shadows here and there and balance out the composition and correct any dodgy anatomy. To save time this is also done at A4.

Panel three shows the pencils (generally done with my inking pens as a kinda practice run of the finished page) This is the stage where I work in all the feathering and textures and some corrections are made here too. Pages are scanned again and turned into bluelines for final stage.

The fourth panel is the inked page. Sometimes I can be confident enough with a story to miss out the third stage pencils and go straight to inks (as on Dare) but Elektra was special and I wanted to make sure I got the details and storytelling spot on. The writer James Peaty had fashioned a tight lean script of only six pages but with near seven or eight panels per page, space was at a premium and getting a nice introductory shot of Elektra was tough.

The final stage is the addition of colour by James Offredi (who did the lovely job on my Knights of the Pendragon collection cover shown here recently) Ed Hammond edited the story at all stages and offered some good advice on creating a PG friendly Elektra for the Panini line, hence the cycling shorts. These concessions are part of the process of working for specific audiences and I feel the end product works very well. The final version appears complete in Marvel Heroes issue 19 on sale now.

Next blog will feature a whole Elektra page breakdown and will show more clearly the different choices and approaches made to create this action story.

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