I’ve got to admit that I’m completely fascinated by the entire process behind the production of the Marlin & Percy comic books. The communication and coordination between Caleb and Tyler is uncanny to mere mortals like myself! While there’s a bunch more that goes into the day-to-day production, in my mind, the process is simplified to 4 different steps: concept, script, sketch, digitize and color (see the evolution of page 2 below of Marlin and Percy comic #2 that will be released in early September).
In the concept stage, Caleb takes into account a bunch of variables that include the character’s history and what the reader has already been exposed to in both the 4 panel story and the full-length comics. Where the story is heading or its direction is also a major part. The Marlin and Percy concept has been especially hard, as this all initially started as just some simple 4 panel comics to be released in schools across the country. Now that we’re off and running with the full-length comics, we’re committed to releasing at least 4 in full-length format (with your help in spreading the word, hopefully lots more). Despite all the different factors, I’d guess that Caleb has years of storyline mapped out in his head, as he’s recently shared with us his concept of “super monkey” from his childhood.
Following the concept is the script. Gotta admit this is the part that fascinates me the most, as I have no ability to visualize 3 dimensional space without seeing it (just ask my wife). How Caleb can not only write what the characters are saying and turn it into a coherent story, but then also give Tyler the specific direction about the page itself and the picture angles, etc is incredible. The script is also difficult, as we’ve decided on a 24 page comic format, so the entire story has to fit and make sense in that specific space.
Once the script is completed and agreed upon, Tyler works his creative magic. Though my parents are some of the most incredible artists on the planet, I didn’t inherit any of the artist gene, so the anticipation I have to see how each frame is drawn is huge. There’s no doubt that Tyler was made to draw, though, as he cranks these pages out in a matter of days! The pages are drawn in pencil by hand to start, so that edits or reworking of the art can be easily done before digitizing.
The final step is to digitize the artwork and color it. The pencil lines are “inked in” and then a high resolution scanner is used in order to convert the art into digital form. Once digitized the art is manipulated and colored to fit the correct page specifications, etc. This is the step where the story comes to life for the reader. Wow! Can’t wait to share the completed comic with you soon…