Making of…a small comic

So, I thought I’d share a few process pics of how I made There’s a Tiger on the Bus. It’s only a small adventure in comic/book-making but it’s a nice first step for me, I had oodles of fun with it, and I’d love to do some more :D I even got a few copies professionally printed and the colours just blew my mind! When I can afford it, I think a pro printer would be a wise investment.

Firstly, I had nothing of this idea written down (which is naughty, I know). It literally came together in my head and I drew it and amended it on the fly. I would not recommend working like this all the time or for bigger projects xD

I started with a really rough sketch. Because I knew I wanted to make a physical version that folded in to a booklet, I laid out guidelines for where the artwork could go. I also wanted nice white borders – fewer problems when it comes to printing. Originally, the little boy was going to narrate the whole encounter, so I made scribbles for text placement.

process1

Next came a second pass at the sketch, tightening up the details and refining overall. You’ll notice the bus interior has changed. Some reference photos helped massively to get the perspective and layout right. The mum has also changed a wee bit and the tiger changed scale in panel 5. I thought I’d need a third pass at the sketch but I was quite happy with it at this point. So I took a break.

process2

With fresh eyes and a fresh head, I went to Paletton to get a colour scheme sorted. Then I started to lay down the flats, usually in just any old colour then I would return and fill with the colours to see what worked. I didn’t have to change the background too many times, purple just seemed the best fit. Everyone bar the tiger started with mid-tones. This changed in the next pass at colours.

The mum worked better with the bright yellow-green, but the boy still didn’t fit in. I went from the dark blue as seen above right through the other blues in the colour scheme, then just took a chance on tweaking my own bright blue colour. Success! And break.

The final step was putting in the details and any text I was planning. I have recently been trying to reconnect with my love of sketching and inking but I know I’m not the ‘delicate’ type of inker xD I’ll always start with black for the better visibility and then change the colour later. I found, surprisingly, that the black worked fine. I didn’t change it, though a part of me still wants to see what coloured line work would look like.

process8

process9

The final hurdle! :D The lines are down, the colours are nailed, now it was time to make it shine. A few background elements were finished off in the bus interior, and I took a chance on changing the colour for the last panel entirely. I was a bit scared this would ruin it in this format – when folded in to a booklet, this last panel has much more effect because you have to turn the page to reveal. But that’s what learning is all about :) And finally the text. After some input from my other half, he suggested stripping the text right down to just a few speech bubbles. I actually really love wordless storytelling but I genuinely thought I wouldn’t be good at it, so I thought this would need narration. I was pleasantly surprised that this still worked without it.

Ta-da! :D All done! This was immensely fun and a confidence booster. I can’t wait to do some more.

A video posted by Amy (@tiger_tea_illo) on