Creating issue 4: plotting

Tuesday at 7.10.08

Okay, as promised, let's begin to document the creation of issue four, so that you can see the process that we go through. I'm going to try to show you each step - although this is specifically issue four, we go through this same process for each issue, always in the same order. The process began four or five months ago, when Vince and I initially put our heads together to work out a detailed plot for the first six issues (which will form the first complete story). We started this at the Bristol Comic Convention, discussing the characters, coming up with a few hopefully fun twists and turns, and agreeing what our two leads were like. This initial stage was very much a joint thing, both of us chucking in ideas, until we finally arrived at a general storyline we both liked and thought would be exciting to read. 

Over the course of the following week, I took my notes away and refined this into a three page document, detailing the plot for each issue - probably about half a page of guidelines for each issue, and the major parts of the story as it progressed. It's this 'master' document that you can see in my hand in the photo above (all photos in this post taken a couple of hours ago, at tonight's plotting session at our local pub). Vince, meanwhile, started gathering the visual references he was going to need, visiting London to take loads and loads of photographs of the Russell Square / British Museum locale where the story was to take place, and working out the look of our characters.

So... before I get bogged down in the initial creation of the story (I'll come back to that another time) - there we were at the pub this evening, bringing with us that master document, some paper and a pen, and our mighty brains...

Vince then listened patiently as I went through the main beats of issue four, first giving him an overview. On the train back from Birmingham, I'd come up with a new six page opening sequence that we were both excited about, so the first thing to do was get that down, and work out how we could fit it into what we'd already established. Typically, Vinnie draws small thumbnails of each page (see this photo and the next one), around which he takes notes as I talk. We take it scene by scene, where I describe roughly what I need to happen in each scene, and tell him how many pages I think this should take up, sometimes specifying full page images, sometimes giving him specific things I need the characters to do, but also giving him plenty of leeway to interpret this in whatever way he wants. The visual side of it (as we'll discover when we get there) is pretty much entirely down to Vince, so this session is all about breaking down each scene for him, and letting him know what needs to happen. It's a small variation on the 'Marvel style' that Stan Lee used to use back in the 1960s, and we've found it works very well for us. Clearly, there's no script at this stage, the art comes first.

By the end of the session (which typically takes us no longer than an hour, over beer and crisps), Vinnie has a page of notes and small thumbnails, detailing what happens page by page - and it's not all just a one way process, Vince throws in ideas and comments as we go along, pointing out any inconsistencies, throwing in things he thinks will work - we've found that two minds are better than one at this stage, and is probably one of the most enjoyable parts of the collaboration, no ideas stomped on, each of us free to guide the process. As a rule, however, I'm mostly in charge at this stage, the story my responsibility, which Vinnie then takes away and fleshes out when he gets to the full thumbnails... which we'll get to next time...

Drop in tomorrow for a little more about what happens between thumbnails and the photo sessions...



Post a Comment

<< Home