As with many other graphic novels out there, this project also began with a script. From there, the storyboard was developed to lay out the panel-to-panel transitions. This process involved rough pencil sketches to plan out how each page is to be filled up (placement of characters, dialogue boxes, etc). Following this, the initial pencil sketches were improved with more detail followed by retracing everything in black ink. The latter process is more commonly known as the ‘inking’ stage. Some do it digitally these days, but I prefer to use assorted pens. At this point, we end up with black-and-white artwork as shown in the picture above. This is also where the artwork stage ends if one plans to produce a comic in black-and-white. The inked artwork is then scanned onto a computer for final processing (i.e. lettering). I did consider this approach in the beginning as this was a lot easier, saves a huge amount of time and most importantly … much cheaper to print! However, I felt that it failed to capture the ‘mood’ of the story. So I decided to color it anyway.
Deciding on the art direction for ‘Catatan Pengembaraan Seorang Flowerman’ was pretty straight forward once the script was finalized. Growing up reading American superhero comics, their penciling style has strongly influenced me. As a result, I am not that good in drawing ‘cutesy’ Japanese manga characters 🙂
In terms of color scheme, I have always been fascinated by the sepia tone. Particularly, after purchasing the Transcendence album by Butterfingers back in 1999 (amazing cover art!). In the case of ‘Catatan Pengembaraan Seorang Flowerman’, I have a strong feeling the sepia tone will work. Overall, the coloring process was the most time-consuming stage in the production of this work. In coloring digitally, there are two main phases:
(1) Flatting – This is where each object in the artwork is ‘individually separated’. The more ‘objects’ you have on a page, the longer this process will take. This is usually done using a graphics tablet. But I used a mouse instead. Hopefully, I’ll afford a graphics tablet someday.
(2) Rendering – This is the fun part of coloring as it involves introducing gradients, lighting effects and textures. I see this as a ‘reward’ for the tedious flatting stage.
The coloring was performed using Adobe Photoshop CS3 [this is a pretty old version]. Finally, the wording and dialogue bubbles were placed using Adobe Illustrator. In a major production, most of these tasks are performed by different individuals. As a results, you get things done better and faster. I wish to form my own team sometime in the future. Hopefully, together we’ll create more magic!