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!


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).


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!


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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