EMPOWERED is drawn on cheap, letter-sized (8.5 X 11 ) copy paper thats so flimsy and fragile that I cant tape it down and rule off panels with a T-square, triangle and ruler, as I would normally do with more conventionally robust art board. Instead, I measured off a grid of thirds and quarters* on the sheet of letter-sized paper above, and now use this panel grid to mark off panel sizes on other sheets of copy paper. More specifically, I make marks on either side (or top and bottom) of the new paper at, say, the 1/3 proportion, connect em using a pencil and my trusty triangle, then go back over the resulting lines with a Sharpie marker (and triangle) to produce the bold black panel borders seen in EMPOWERED. (Note that I can bias the Sharpied borders to one side or another of the original line, in order to gain a lil bit more size for a particular panel.)
I originally developed this variable grid technique strictly to cope with the fragility of the paper, but Ive noticed a few other advantages to it: A), Tracing marks off a pre-ruled grid is much faster than taping down art board and measuring panel sizes with a ruler; and B), working off a grid tends to make my pages a bit more simply laid out and easier to read. Much of my earlier work often featured sharply tilted or angling borders and other somewhat exotic layout techniques, which might be offputting to comics noobs, if you will. As Im interested in EMPOWERED being as readable as possible to a wider audience than much of my other, more techy-oriented material might be (er, despite EMPOWEREDs adult-skewed content, that is), this was a bit of a happy accident.
Note that theres one more step I could take to make EMPOWERED even more readable... Namely, I could use manga gutters on its pages. In manga, the vertical gutters between panels are very thin and the horizontal gutters are VERY thick (usually in a 1:3 vertical: horizontal ratio), in order to ensure that the readers eyetrack stays on a particular (horizontal) tier of panels and doesnt stray down to an out-of-sequence panel below. In general, I recommend the technique to almost all comics artists, especially ones aiming for a clearly manga-influenced vibe to their work... but I myself DONT use the technique. Thats because the extreme thickness of multiple manga-style horizontal gutters on a page would lop off the equivalent of a few lines of lettering space from my word balloons, which would be highly problematic**... especially since EMPOWEREDs lettering size is quite large, for maximum clarity. This problem is worsened by the fact that EMPOWERED is drawn 8.5 X 11, a far shorter, squatter size than the normal, taller proportions seen in most comics pages. Thus, vertical headspace is always at a premium... and THATS why I dont use manga gutters.
*And, youll notice, some assorted measurements BETWEEN the quarters and thirds, for when I need more space for a given panel.
**Obviously, this isnt an issue for the vertically oriented copy of Japanese-language comics.
I know i'm on an older thread, but would you be willing to show an example of your completed work on the "cheap and flimsy" paper before you transfer it over? I know at least i'd be interested to see how it looks at this stage, instead of just the before-an-afters that i often find. I feel others might also benefit from seeing the work on this grid pattern to help give a visual to the documented explanation above (at least i would).
I definitely need to attend one of those to learn these post-Empowered "guerrilla comicking" techniques. You are like, the Che Guevara of comics right now.
....just sayin. *nudge nudge*
Unfortunately, papers, leads and brands vary per country, so there's no other way back here than try out every brand until the artist reaches the desired result.
I stocked a large collection of pens and leads back here because of that...
You finaly accessed a superior range of zen conceptualisation of what the symbolism of comics should be!
No, seriously, thank you very much for sharing your tips. Smart method, thank again for sharing
thank you Mr. Warren.
It's also a relief to see that a pro is drawing on copy paper too
Thank you very much for your advices and, again, sorry for my raw english!
Also, the interaction between pencil leads and paper stock can vary considerably, with different manufacturers' leads (and papers) giving very different results... The only 3B lead I like is Mars Lumograph, as all other 3B leads I've tried are too hard or too chalky or otherwise inadequate. Unfortunately, Mars Lumograph recently stopped producing 3B leads, much to my annoyance... So, one my stockpile of discontinued 3B leads runs out, I'll have to find a new penciling medium. Ouch.
Also, I sometimes switch over to much harder HB leads for lighter shading tones, usually as delicate shading on "fleshtones" or as an intermediate background tone. Along with the fact that I use H leads to draw my perspective grids and base "underdrawings" (which are occasionally still visible in EMPOWERED pages), this means that I often have five different leadholders at hand, each with a different lead in 'em!
Whoa, five leadholders at hand at the same time? And no cramps? You lucky man...
By the way, sorry for the delay in my answer (okay, I know you weren't waiting for it!), but in the past weeks I had an amazing mix of little accidents and pressing works to finish, so I didn't come round here very often...
Thank you very much, as usual!