Here are more sketches done in preparation of Portugal.
This video made during an exhibition organized by the Alliance Française of Washington around the book Three Shadows (published in the US by First Second). It was especially intended to be viewed by students at the Baltimore MICA Art School. That’s why the captions and commentaries are written in English (an approximate English, corrected in part by the friendly participation of Thomas Delooze).
The book mentioned in this document, Portugal, will be published by NBM this December.
The upcoming series of posts will show some behind-the-scenes images created during the making of Portugal.
So we’ve gone through all the motions. Script, layouts, artwork, a new script. After all that, this is what the final result looks like:
For me this moment is always somewhat bittersweet.
There’s nothing better than seeing your story come together. At the same time, this is when I have to lock it in and move on to the next scene. No more scripting, no more notes for Noel. This is the point where I have to let go and be happy with the work we’ve done. Probably the most difficult step of all.
Once Noel’s finished his work on a scene it’s time for me to go in and give the dialogue one final polish (I’m something of a perfectionist). Sometimes I don’t need to make changes at all. Usually, however, I do.
For instance, this scene saw the addition of one or two panels on each page. Obviously this means I need to review the dialogue’s placement, making sure it’s still appropriate given the page’s new layout.
From there I want to make sure the dialogue compliments the art. Sometimes Noel’s work isn’t exactly what I pictured in my head. Sometimes it will say enough that I can delete some dialogue. Other times, I need to add a line or two for clarity.
This scene saw a few minor tweaks. The biggest came on page 66. You may remember that initially there was no dialogue in the first panel. When I saw it, however, I didn’t think reader’s would understand the old man was coming out of his desk because he was angry and felt the addition of a line or two was called for.
Once I’ve finished tweaking everything I send a “lettering script” to my letterer with the art. He takes it from there.
Here’s a look at what one of these shortened scripts looks like…
Dawson (standing): PLEASE, TIM. YOURS IS THE ONLY HOUSE WITH A STORM SHELTER FOR TWENTY MILES.
TOM (on left): THE CHURCH IN TOWN HAS A CELLAR.
JACOB (far right): AN’ IT’S FILLED TEN TIMES OVER BY NOW.
TOM: I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU TWO WANT, I DO. BUT UNTIL MY DAUGHTER IS SAVE NONE OF THIS IS GOING TO BE OPEN FOR DISCUSSION.
JACOB: BUT MY DAUGHTER’S HERE.
TOM (off panel): I KNOW THAT, JACOB.
DAWSON: CAN YOU LET US DOWN FOR NOW? AS SOON AS KIM SHOWS, WE’LL–
TOM (off panel): IT’S NOT GOING TO BE THAT EASY.
JACOB: GODDAMNIT, SHARDER!
TOM: YOU KNOW? I THINK I’VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF THIS!
KIM (off panel): DAD!
TOM (far right): OH, THANK GOD.
KIM: IF I’D KNOWN…
TOM: I KNOW, SWEETHEART.
JACOB: YOU TWO JUST REMEMBER WHO WAS HERE FIRST.
This one doesn’t require much explanation. Once Noel and I are both happy with the layouts, he goes to work. A few weeks later, I end up with something like this waiting in my inbox…
I know, I know. Someone shouldn’t get to work with an artist THIS talented on their first book. But hey, someone has to be the exception that proves the rule. Might as well be me. 😉
Yesterday I shared an excerpt from THE BROADCAST’s script, today I want to give you a look at the next step — layouts.
Essentially, Noel takes the script and does a very rough version of the illustrated page. It’s a vital step in the process because it gives us a chance to make sure the story is being told visually.
While you want the art to work hand-in-hand with the dialogue that will eventually be included, a good artist will tell the story without a word on the page. Just look at the first set of layouts…
Already, we know three men are meeting behind closed doors (see how Noel stuck that panel in — and rightfully so).
We know that two of these guys are here to see the old man, and we know they’re pressing him about something (see how one of them is leaning forward, hands on the desk?)
We know it isn’t going well. Just look at the body language in panel five. Even in these rough drawings you can see he is getting upset.
And finally, we know the situation reaches a boiling point when the young guy finally snaps and pounds a fist onto the desk.
You’ll notice Noel added two panels to the second page. The last panel is a particularly important addition.
I initially wrote this page to end with Jacob’s dirty look — but showing Gavin and Eli as they watch Jacob storm away is a far stronger moment to end with. After all, Gavin and Eli are two of our most important characters. Leaving this scene without showing their dumbfounded reaction would have been a huge mistake.