Special Topics In Graphic Design: Comic Sequence

About the Project:

This project’s intent was to create my own 6-frame comic sequence that demonstrated one of the following themes: The Sigh, The Look, The End and The Fall. As a class, we looked at examples from published comic books such as Watchmen by Alan More & Dave Gibbons, Maus by Art Spiegelman, Ghost World by Daniel Clowes, and many more.

My Process:

First I decided to make a chart with columns for each of the themes and brainstorming ideas for each of the themes. I wrote down any ideas I had, regardless of if I thought they were good ideas or not. I came up with a lot of silly things, then finally settled on the idea of a herd of horses encountering a band of cowboys. So I chose to apply this concept by using The Scream as my theme.

Next, I started drawing my characters without any frames to limit them. This was mainly for practice. I used references from Google Images, mostly to draw the horses and their expressions because I wasn’t sure what a horse’s eye would look like when afraid, and what a horse would look like if it reared up like in the last frame of the comic. I also looked up a reference on how a man’s eye looks when he is confident, and what the first refined draft looked like after sketching out all my ideas together was what you see below.

After this, I decided that this would definitely work as a final sequence so I chose to start refining it. So I took my initial drawing to the light table and I traced my drawing to get much cleaner lines, then took it into Adobe Photoshop as a scanned image and increased the darkness of my lines so I could get a crisper, more accurate image trace inside of Adobe Illustrator. That product can be seen on the right.

Next, I took the image on the right and opened it in Adobe Illustrator and did an image trace. After adjusting some of the settings in image trace to get a better result, I expanded the image trace and then started to refine and remove lines that were problematic. After that, I placed the outlines on their own layer and started painting it all in Illustrator. I narrowed down my color palette to warm earth tones for almost all of the comic but differentiated the good guys (the horses) with cool tones while the bad guys (the cowboys) had much darker and warmer tones.

Lastly, I had to decide whether to include type in my final image to actually vocalize the scream, but after trying to make it work, I decided that no matter what type I chose the text would only take away from the narrative rather than make it better. Part of what made me feel this way is the way in which the movie Spirit (2002) used almost no narrative at all to tell the story, and relied almost entirely on imagery.