After the skeleton stage, I sketch using drawing pencils. Most of my artwork is 50% sketching and 50% erasing. When I am satisfied with the sketch, I trace it using a drawing pen. What you see above is the pen portion of this equation. At this point I am basically committing myself to my drawing and layout decisions. The only thing that changes after this is purely cosmetic. The outline, shading, shadowing, and color.
I imagine you are thinking, “What kind of crap is this, Bob? Are you trying to pull the shenanigans over our eyes, or something?” I don’t blame you. It is not very artistic. In fact, it looks like a bunch of scribbles. However, this is just another step in the process of creating a Chico and the Chupacabra comic strip. I call this, “the skeleton stage”.
Let me start from the beginning. The first thing that has to happen when creating the strip is the “spark”. This can be a funny word I heard, a funny sight I have seen, or a funny thought I have had. Second, that spark is translated into the Chico world. This was represented by the drawing in my last post (Chico Practice). I draw freely, while keeping the “spark” in the forefront of my mind. At this point, I am basically trying to determine if the spark can be melded with the characters and setting. If things are looking good, I move on to the third stage. This is the moment I believe that I might have a funny idea and I need to start planning how to present it to the public in the most logical, clear, and funny way. The skeleton stage is where I decide the positioning of characters, the dialogue, and just the general layout of the whole thing.
Stage four is too revealing, so you will see the finalized Chico and the Chupacabra before I post any more stages. I don’t want to ruin the surprise! See you next time. Have a good day.
This appeared in Flint Comix #86, The Made in Michigan issue honoring all local contributors.