Here are my roughs for the page.
Clearly, these are truly roughs and will need to be refined. But I wanted to share how I go about creating a page, in case anyone would like the insight, or could maybe make use of my technique.
When I’m working from a script, that’s pretty easy-you just try to fit what’s in the script on to the page. But when I don’t have a script, for instance on this piece, I find it a little more work to translate what’s written in to art. But what I find works really well is to think of each sentence as an idea. That doesn’t necessarily mean each sentence becomes a panel, but maybe it’s more accurate to think of each sentence as a bullet point of information. It’s important and should, to the best of your ability to fit it in to the narrative of the page, translate it in to your art. So try to take each sentence of story and then convert that to an idea. These ideas can then stand alone, or be meshed with other ideas on the page to create a panel.
In terms of actually doing the page, the assignment suggests we should be picking up in the middle of the story. Now, because of this, I don’t necessarily need to identify where the people are, in regard to how they got there, but I NEED to show their location. So I put in an !establishing shot. You don’t need to begin with an establishing shot, but EVERY page needs at least one location shot. Let your reader know where your characters are!
The rest of the page is broken down in to fairly basic points taken from the assignment brief. I establish location (and the number of characters in the team). Panel 2 is a tighter group shot. Panel 3 has one of the characters realizing another is gone. Panel 4 pulls back again to show there’s nothing but darkness out there beyond the rim of their torchlight. Panel 5 shows the resolve of one of the characters. He WILL push forward to unlock the magical door. Panel 6 (currently looks too much like panel 5, so I’ll be changing that angle…no worries) shows that same character rushing forward to unlock the door with the magical tome. Panel 7 (intentionally put down on the last tier by itself) shows the doors opening…from the inside, which adds suspense and drama.
This is generally how I try to tell a story. I hope this has helped. I’ll be posting up a more final layout shortly.
Thanks for looking!
I forgot to mention my placement on the page. If you’ll note, I generally try to keep my art within the borders of the inner dashed line. This line indicates the outermost area for text, meaning all text MUST fit within this space. This is not necessarily my artistic preference. I really prefer large, widescreen panels. However, after I had to rework and fix every page for Gutter Magic issues 1 and most of 2, because it wasn’t thought full-bleed pages worked aesthetically, I try to keep art close to this area…not always, but often. It’s just something to bear in mind when you’re working on your piece.
Here’s generally what I would go with for layouts.
I think I could have gone with a little more mixing up the shot angles and depth, but I think this generally gets the idea across enough for an editor to know where I’m going with the story.