B*W: Creating ‘Mine-Field’

Some notes on the creation of the ‘Minefield’ strip ^

The initial sketch

I thought I’d give any other budding comic creators out there a look at this. And who knows? Perhaps those more experienced than me can offer me some tips!

minefield001_sketch_sml

Rough sketch on A4 paper

It really didn’t change that much between the sketch and the finished piece did it? The second panel was improved – with more facial expression. And I flipped panel 4 – so that the characters are consistently walking from left to right.

Text-flow and Rhythm

I was very pleased with how the text flowed – and delighted with myself when I came up with the CLICK – BOOM – SQUELCH idea. However – there was a wee problem…

Text-flow comparison

Initially, I had Jim scream “AGGHH!!!” – because that obviously adds to the comic effect and impact of a – er… child being blown to pieces. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this? Oh, ok… moving on.

There’s a probem with the rhythm here. You can see how the eye makes an awkward diversion in the original [top] version? What I wanted was a more fluid, regular – tick-tock-tick-tock progression. So I removed the “AGGHH!” and it worked. Then I also moved the BOOM! to get it more or less half-way between the CLICK and the SQUELCH! I should have done it like that in the first place but sometimes I get over-confident (and a bit lazy and just bash stuff out without lightly pencilling it in first).

Panel-beating

I’m pretty happy with it now. What I’d like to try soon is to break outside of the rigid gutters and try some different Eisner-eque panel layouts.

“First of all, these black gutters? I hate that.”

When I started drawing comics again a couple of years ago I tried to run before I could crawl. I showed some ALIEN comic pages ^ to editor Lauren Sankowich of DC comics and she really hated them. Opening words were: “First of all, these black gutters? I hate that.” And she told me that a simple, old-fashioned, traditional, row-by-row rectangular panel arrangement “was good enough for Jack Kirby” so I went back to basics. You have to learn the rules befre you can break them, right? So I worked my way back and then onwards again to this ^. C.B. Cebulski of MARVEL had been pouring parise on the same pages about 20 minutes before – so it was a bit of a let-down, but tough as it was, I had to admit that she’s a lot more experienced than I!

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Above: Going from basic regular panel layout to something a bit more expressive ^

Learn more about ALIEN age 11 comic here ^

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