Jeremy: Welcome to part two of the Ouro Bros “behind the scenes” process for the strip entitled “Opportunity Knocks”. Today we’re looking at the early stages of the art. This is what will complete the stage that I call “Sketches” or “Overall Layout”. This process starts with me reading the script that Jeff wrote in our shared folder in Google Drive (shown last week). Let’s break this down into a few stages:

  1. Panel Layout and Lettering: Given Jeff’s direction of 2×3 panel layout, I start with my basic template, which consists of 6 equally sized panels (2 rows of 3). Then I type in all the dialog for the panels, and surround the letters with word balloons or caption boxes. This helps me get a better idea of how much room I have for art. I believe this process is backwards from other artists, who may start with drawing out the comic in a thumbnail or rough format first, then pencil, and add lettering last, filling spaces leftover that isn’t taken up by art. I can’t describe why I like doing lettering first, but it just feels right to me. So, based on seeing the lettering, I start getting a mental image of where the characters and pieces of the scene will go, which also corresponds with any visual direction Jeff gave in the script. This allows me to decide which panels will be wider/bigger, and which will be smaller. Once I get a feel for that I start…
  2. Rough Sketching: You can see a ghost of this in red and blue under the black/gray pencils above. I draw and size these rough shapes and lines in Photoshop (I do everything digitally in Photoshop, using my WACOM tablet for drawing). Once I have a good feel for the rough layout of these shapes, I move dialog balloons around accordingly to get the best visual placement, and move my panel borders to get the closest-to-final position possible. After this roughing is done, I start…
  3. Pencils: This is what you see in black/grey. I use my rough shapes and lines as guides in a layer underneath the “pencils” layer, with the opacity turned down, so that my pencil details are the most visible. Sometimes, this involves a lot of hitting “Undo”, drawing over and over again until I get the details I want in the layer. Some finer details I save for inks, which you will see in the finished page next week. A good example of this is the sound board in panel 5. Right now, it is just a bunch of lines to indicate the placement of where the knobs and channel strips will go. To save time, I will likely just ink those right in. It is all a matter of what I feel confident in just “winging” when it comes to inks. My tastes and feelings change on this, on a week-to-week basis.

I hope you all are enjoying this look behind the scenes of Ouro Bros. As Jeff described last week, I am playing a bit of catch up, as my life has been really nuts recently. Please feel free to leave comments with any other questions you may have about the art process, and I will be happy to answer them! Thanks for reading this week!

Jeff: Yeah! …What he said.