From Layout to Color


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This week I thought I'd share a couple examples of our process of taking layouts to final inks, to colors. I specifically chose 2 pages that rely more on storytelling and character interaction instead of intense action. There are plenty of action scenes in this graphic novel, but it's also good to have slower paced scenes interspersed in order maintain tension.

You can see in this first example that there were a number of changes from the layouts to the final inks.


The first difference was that we changed panel 1 to a downshot. This gave the reader a better perspective of the entire scene before we moved the angle down to the characters.

Then, starting in panels 2 & 3, I really wanted to change the feel of the interaction between the couple being arrested an the FBI agents. I liked the way the panels looked, but the problem was that the couple came off as too belligerent. In the story, this is a young couple being arrested after providing refuge to the main characters, which is of course a big no-no because that's "harboring terrorists."

We made some slight changes so that it would be easier for the reader to sympathize with the couple. You can see in panel 2 that the woman is tilted forward in an aggressive stance. We toned that down so that it came across more like they were being lead away, the agents were doing the action to them.

Then in panel 3 we're looking straight into the man as he's yelling. We're seeing it from the viewpoint of the FBI agent, which naturally makes us relate to that character because we share the same vantage point. So instead, we switched the vantage point. The man is still yelling, but we're seeing it from his point-of-view,  looking at this cold and arrogant agent.
Moving on to the next example, here's a page featuring our four main characters. We also made a number of changes from original layout to final inks.


Starting in panel 2, you can see flipped the angle from layout to inks. I wanted to do this for 2 reasons. First, I wanted a better angle to see the main characters squished together in the front of the garbage truck. And second, I wanted the truck driver up front closer to us since he's the one driving (pun intended) the action in this sequence. He's the one taking the other characters to this location and giving them their instructions.

Then I thought the pacing would work better if we stretched out panel 3, get the point across that they're just standing there waiting, not sure what was going to happen next. But I still wanted that extra beat in there of Hannah picking her head up to see the approaching car so we stuck panel 4 in there at the bottom of panel 3 before moving down to panel 5.

In this last panel you can see that again I swapped the angle so we were watching the scene from the vantage point of the main characters instead of from the approaching car. I wanted the reader to be in the same position as the characters, looking at this strange approaching car and having it be a mystery to them.

I also wanted Shannon's body language toned down. In the layouts she's got her arms up in the air, really questioning what's going on and I didn't think that was quite the right mood. Instead, as you can see in the final inks, we still have that same inquisitiveness conveyed in her body language, but in a much subtler fashion. As a matter of fact, I thought that it was so clear that I even took out the word balloon that was suppose to be in there. I thought her pose said it all.

The only thing left to mention is the colors. It really makes it worth it for Andy and I to put so much effort into the storytelling and layout when it's going to be colored this well. We know we can slow the action down and pace it out because it's still going to look visually stunning.

Both Andy and Jordie did a great job on these two pages. I'm really please with how they turned out.

See you with more next week.


Tyler Chin-Tanner started his own publishing company, A Wave Blue World, where he wrote and drew layouts for Adrenaline, its flagship series, Adrenaline and wrote its latest graphic novel, American Terrorist.
© 2011 Tyler Chin-Tanner.  All rights reserved.
Email: tyler@awaveblueworld.com



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