Occasionally I find the time and inclination to have a crack at something different. The weekly Oz comics face book group challenges offer this sort of opportunity and it's always great to compare and contrast what different artists come up with.
I use the sequential challenges to practice my comic page layout, lettering and inking. I find experimentation easier using other peoples work than my own, benefiting from a detachment from the source material I think. I always try to add a little personal flavor or plus the story in a way not covered in the script page. In this instance it was having the character reluctant to join in the brawl pick up the stool tossed out the window and go to sit on it as he delivered his line, and having Killeroo go into the bar fight with a cricket bat and ball. What's more aussie than having a kangaroo fighting bikies with a cricket bat?
Anyway here is the progression of working up the page from rough , inking and to final rendering. The script for the challenge and model sheets can be found here.
Rough blocking. I pretty much use the same process for drawing comics as I do when I storyboard. Here I lay out the the panel frames and block in the visuals and speech balloons. I also tend to think cinematicly when drawing comics and tend towards almost beat boarding the story as if it were a film. I also like like the 180 rule of cinema camera placement which I think a lot of comics could benefit from adapting. I also try to make sure I'm telling the reader as much , if not more in the pictures than the speech balloons are. I'm a show not tell kind of guy and like to think that if you pulled the speech balloons off the page the reader would still know what's going on.
Inking or clean up. This is where I tidy things up and draw things properly and inject a bit of style. Some people pencil things before they ink. Because I work digitally 80% of the time I can just ink over my rough blocking. If I want to refine something a bit more I'll do a more detailed rough before inking it. I did that with the two foreground guys in the last panel.
Rendering or coloring in. For this page I was undecided initially weather or not I was going to color it or just use grey tones. I was keen to have a play with the half tone function in Manga Studio so I decided to go with a grey scale render. However I wasn't that happy with how the half tones looked in the final render. The dots were too big and it just looked untidy so in the end I just used solid grey color blocks. Really what it is, is layers of black on about 5 different layers and with the transparency set from 20% to 80%. 5 tones in all but over layered in areas to give the appearance that more are used. Using the transparency of black layers this way makes adjusting the layer tone very easy and doesn't effect black line work.
You may also notice I completely changed the 4th panel. This was because I didn't like the layout. It was too wide, I felt it gave the emphasis to the wrong character in the scene and the dead space to the left of the foreground character looked crap. Also the layout was too similar to the preceding panel which made the page look boring. That and because all the characters looked like they were standing still killed the energy and momentum of the action and page flow.