Development diary: week 9

Character Bible- 6th June (3.1)

After creating all the designs character, I finally put everything together. The characters were all drawn on paper, then the colour was added by using adobe sketch app on the Ipad and a specialised pen for the Ipad called Dagi. The alien and the main character designs were finished on the end of week 7, however the security guard design was finished much later, this is why this was not written up from week 7. After designing all the characters, I put them together with the written content on Photoshop.

Here is the character bible:

First page, whats it aboutJames Buckell character pagesecurity guards character pageAliens Illumincai character page

These designs were created before the art style was designed, so these designs are merely how the character will look throughout the art styles.


I believe the character bible is alright however it is very simple. This is because it only contain the written content and character designs, no background designs or anything else for the matter. The character bible is able to achieve its purpose and that’s all. I can improve it, however I do not know if I have the time to improve it, so I shall only improve once I believe I have done a fare amount of work to keep me ahead.


Creating the front cover- 6th- 7th June (3.1, 2.1)

Now that I have the title and logo, I will now be working on the art of the front cover whilst also taking into accountant that the front page will be a parallax.

First I began to sketch out different poses for the main character (James), all focused around him sneaking past the guards but in a way that seems cartoonish. I drew it by pencil then went over it with pen.

imageAfter designing a couple, I believed the first one was the best choice as it is iconic for all characters that sneak, it also fits well with his body type. The other two are nearly the same thing however the difference is with the legs as the second one is more high up as the leg supporting him isn’t bent as much, where as the third one has more of a bent leg and his body is also curving over towards the left.

Next I designed the background for the characters, I designed two types, one is a big corridor, the other design is a hall. This is because the comic takes place in a well guarded mansion. I will also being using references to create theses, so they match the real thing.

imageI have decided to go for the hall design, this is because it is more spacious and grand, allowing the reader to understand what kind of place this is, a mansion. I will go over this with pen, however I need to readjust the door on the left hand side, I will do this on Photoshop with graphics tablet.



says, V.P. (2011) Uptown haunts: Ghosts stories of Inwood and Washington heights. Available at: 6 June 2016).

Victorian & gothic interiors (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 6 June 2016).

Next are the guards, in the page design I wanted two guards patrolling together. Again I will do the same thing like the design with the main character. I first did a couple of rough designs to find how I wanted the guards positioned and what they are doing, whether its patrolling or having a chat.


I chose to use design number #2, as they are professional security guards who have a reputation to up hold, so they cannot be chatting. Also I couldn’t have them running to a scene as it is set before the main character has been spotted by the guards, and for the first design I will merge it with the second, so one will have a torch. Once I had that down I began to draw out the characters and then go over the sketches with pen.

imageI didn’t draw the below the waist as I plan it to be out of the shot to show that they are close to the camera.

Now that I have all the assets drawn, I will now begin to edit and colour them on Photoshop. I first got the images I took and uploaded them to my creative cloud files, this would allow me to access them on Photoshop. I then went on to Madefire’s motion book tool software and found out the dimensions of a landscape Ipad setting, which I set the page on Photoshop.

Page size

I first put the background (mansion Hall) into the Photoshop page, I realised that it would not properly fit as I had sketched in a very small box. So I decided to position the back ground image top centre and draw the rest of the image by graphics tablet. I selected all the lines that I had drawn over with a pen with the magic wand and created a new layer, I then used the bucket tool to fill the selected area.

creating the background step 1

I made the room bigger and longer so it could fit the page. I then redrew the door on the left and corrected any errors of the lines, such as random blobs. I also created a group on the layers, and placed anything to do with the background into the group, this will help organise every asset and allow me to export them separately for the parallax.

creating the background step 2

After I hand the main layout, I created a new group inside the background group and called colour, this is where I shall keep the layers that have to do with the colour of the background. I began creating new layers for every colour I would use in the colours group, allowing me to edit every colour without interfering with other colours; I use this technique through every asset of this front page, this includes the guards and the main character.

creating the background step 3

After I had all the colours, I created two more groups, one was for adding detail to the environment instead of being one plane colour, the other was for shading. I also created a new layer and used the bucket tool to make the whole layer black, I then turned the opacity down to 65%, this would make everything a lot darker as this takes place at night. I used a special brush called “A Flat Point Medium Stiff” to add the detail and do the shading.

creating the background step 4I then began working on the guards, like how I did the background I began by creating a separate layer for the outline and used a combination of the magic wand and the bucket tool. I then corrected any mistakes and continued by making the groups needed; I also hid the background group to allow me to see any issues with lines as it is a lot easier.

creating the background step 5

Once I had the groups ready, I began colouring it in. Using the colours I had decided for my characters on my character bible I applied them on to the security guards, along with the main character.

creating the background step 6

Once I had the security guards coloured, I began to apply shade and different light elements. However once I compared it to the background, I found the colours to be to light; to combat this I went the outline layer for the security guards and selected the background of the layer with the magic wand. I then inversed it so it selected around the security guards, this allows me to create a new layer and use the bucket tool to fill where area where the guards are and to finish it off I turned the opacity down to the same percent as the backgrounds (65%). I also added some light bouncing off the security guards goggles.

Once that was sorted I moved on by working on the lighting more, to create the light around the flash light, I did the same with shading but with a bright white yellow. I created three layers, all with different opacities to show the different light levels as the light spread out from the torch. The first is at 50% and is only a small ball in the centre of the torch, the second is a more focused beam at 45% and the last is the rest of the light coming from the torch at 15%. I then decided that I wanted more shading difference for the environment, so I created more layers on the shading group for the background and used the brush called “Round Fan Stiff Bristles” and created what you see below.

creating the background step 7

I then began working on the main character (James Buckell), Again I created the outline layer and corrected any mistakes I made.

creating the background step 8

I then coloured in the character, using the character bible as reference for the colours and began on working on the next step, shading.

creating the background step 9

When shading I used the same brush and did what I usually do, however I also took into account, the main characters goggles glow red. To create this effect, I created a new layer and turned its opacity to 30%, I then used a bright reddish white to colour around and inside the goggles, adding that glow effect I wanted. I also came across the same problem with the main character as I did with the security guards. The main character was not matching the same lighting I wanted, so I used the same method as the security guards and fixed it.

creating the background step 10

Once I had all the assets ready, I began exporting them by right clicking on the group that made the asset and exporting as a PNG. This would allow me to apply them separately into the parallax so it can work properly and the reason I chose a PNG file was because it allowed the layers to bleed into each other, such as the light from the torch is separate from the background but still shows the background as it keeps its opacity.

creating the background step 11

When placing the assets into the parallax layer on the motion book tool software, I ordered them to be “security guards”, “James Buckell”, “Front cover title and logo” and “background”. I placed the logo behind “James” layer because I didn’t want it to move as much as the other layers.

creating the background step 12

I also deceased the range of horizontal and vertical motion down to 50, this is because any higher and it would show the bottom of the guards which is nothing and where the light actually stops and becomes nothing. Once I did that everything was done for the front page, however I have realised that comics usually have sub heading to show which issue it is, so I will be coming up with one later on.

creating the background step 13

Here is the final result:


I believe I have done very well with this task as I have created all the main assets in very good time, to be precise within a day. It is also in very good quality and after getting some people to review it (e.g. my family), they believe it is very good and well done, especially with the guards. I believe I have achieve my task in a good amount of time and I shall try to keep it like this for my other tasks.


Creating the pages- 8th to 11th June (3.1)

I will begin to create the panel templates using Photoshop, this will allow me to draw the content inside the panels and scan it in to edit and apply to my comic.

Here they are:

Page 1 layer 1page 1 layer 2page 2 layer 1page 2 layer 2page 3 layer 1page 3 layer 2page 4 layer 1

I will print these off and begin drawing the scenes on them to later edit on Photoshop after I go over it pen.

Here are the results for page 1 layer 1:

page 1 layer 1 template filled

I used references for the tranquilizer gun the main characters is equipped with, here is the reference:

Chang’s tranquilizer gun (no date) Available at:’s_tranquilizer_gun (Accessed: 9 June 2016).

And here the sketches I did to create the design in the art style:


Once I had the 1st page layer 1 scanned in on the computer I began to work on adding colour, detail and shading to the panels. To do this I put the scanned in drawing onto Photoshop and created three separate layers, these layers are for each panel so I can export them separately. I then used the magic wand and bucket technique I created to make the outline on each separate layer for each panel and began correcting any errors for the outline.

page 1 layer 1 step 1

After I fixed all errors and improved the outline I began to work on panel 1, I created three groups for each panel and labelled them correctly, I then created three more groups in panel 1 and labelled them “shading”, “detail” and “colour”. I then created three more groups within colour and labelled them “background”, “James” and “security guard”, this was for each element I was going to colour.


Once I had everything set up I began to add colour, detail and shading to the panels.

page 1 layer 1 step 4

Once complete, I realised that the comic would only have panels and no background; to combat this I created a new group below the panels and used the techniques I used to create the panels for the background.

Here is the background:


Here is the background with panels:

background with panels

Once I had layer 1 for page 1, I began working on layer 2, again using the same techniques I used to create layer 1, drawing it out, then adding colour and shading on Photoshop.

Here are the results of that:

page 1 layer 2Once I had both pages, I began to implement them into the motion book tool to create page 1. I used the fade in effect to make each panel fade in, I also ordered the properly so that layer 2 would appear above layer 1.

Creating the speech bubble

Once I had all the panels set up I began to create the text box for the panels. To do this I went on Photoshop and created a box using the brush tool and the grid view, I made it big enough to fit the text in.

speech bubblt step 1

I created a rounded box around the first box I created and made the inside red and its boarder black. I then used the magic wand to select the red inside and used the same technique I used to make the light bounce off the title, to make the light bounce off the box.

speech bubble step 2This would match the theme of the title, making the colour red have light bounce off it a reoccurring theme. I then exported it as a PNG and implemented it into madefire and applied the text from the script.


Whilst looking at the script, I found out that I wanted panel 2 of page 1 to have animation of the gun firing and a dart hitting the security guard. To achieve this I went back to Photoshop and opened the page 1 layer 1 design. I then  created three new groups for the animation. The idea was to draw new layers over panel 2 and have them to match the background and what ever they are connected to, this way when I placed them into madefire’s motion book tool and have them fade in, they would fit panel two with no colour, shading or outline problems.


So in each group I created the more groups like the panel groups for colour and shading. I first created the outline and added colour and shading that would fit panel 2. Here are the end results:

end results of animation

Once I had all the assets for the animation, I again exported them as PNGs to implement in motion book tool. I placed them above panel 2 layer and adjusted them till they fit panel 2. Once they fit I used the fade in tool to make them appear, setting the duration time very low, the times were 0.2 and 0.1. Once all done, created the appropriate tap points for the page, taking into account when each layer fades in and finishes.

Once it was all set, page 1 was finished, here are the results for page one:


I believe I have done huge amount of work over these 3 days, I was able to create the 1st page of the comic whilst also creating the first narrative boxes and using new techniques to create motion in the comic. The work I have done is very high quality, with the colour detail and shading, further more the body language and positions match very well with the comic, staying with realistic positions whilst using cartoon body proportions.


Page 2- 12th June (3.1)

 Layer 1

For page number 2, layer 1 would use three different art styles on three different panels, this would be when the main character is having a flash back to his life at home, school and work. Each art style would have some sort of connection to what it is trying to say.

The first panel would of his childhood and life at home, so this would be a very long time ago, a distant memory. The main character also talks about how it was “Plain”, so this can be used as well.

Page 2 panel 1

I wrote in the script that I wanted a silhouette, this would reflect how it was a very distant memory, so I used that idea along with plain colours to match the how he describes it. For the third panel it is his school life, again this is also a distant memory so I wouldn’t use loads of detail but unlike his home life, he found some of his school life interesting and sometimes fun.

Page 2 panel 2

I was going to use colour full shapes like the script intended but I chose a different root, I came up with the idea to use no lines. This would show that there is still somewhat memory of it, however he does not remember it in full detail. The colour would also be bright to show that it was a lot more fun than his home life.

The last panel is about his work life, when he became an adult and began work, he can remember this very clearly as it is not too long ago. The memory is also the worst out of all the other memories, as he remembers it being boring and not fun, just continuous work.

Page 2 panel 3

I again used what I suggested in the script, to aim for a polygon look. The art style first came up when I was doing my first ever designs for the main character. The art style fits with this panel as it is very plain and angular, which reflects on how he feels for the job he did very well. The colour is also very dull, which again connects to how plain and dull his old job was.


The inspiration for the polygon art style is design number 6#


To create the first and third panel, I drew them on the templates I created. However for second panel I did that entirely on the computer as I believed it would be easier. Here is the paper design:

image 5


Creating page 2 layer 1 has gone very well, I was able to create good quality and different art styles for the comic that match what they are depicting. I took into accountant how the character saw each stage of his life, along with how distant the memory was, this helped to create each art style and decide whether it was good enough and whether it represented what the character thought.


Research into bubbles- 10th June (2.1)

I was able to do a little more research at the end, this was for speech bubbles. I did this before creating the speech bubbles and positioning them on the page, however I have not wrote up my research, so I shall write about it now.

Figure drawing for comics and graphic novels_Page_1Figure drawing for comics and graphic novels_Page_2

Placement of bubbles

From what I have learnt from page 152, bubbles should be placed in a left to right position. This is because we read naturally left to right like books, this is why the layout inside the panel matters as if the bubbles do not read from left to write the panel becomes a lot harder to understand. If the contents of the panel are positioned wrong, there are a couple of ways to solve, however these techniques are discouraged so they should only be used when rushing because of a deadline.

Crossing panels:

It is when two speech bubbles cross over each other to allow it to be read from left to right.

Panel size and placement:

It is when the speech bubbles are placed using an order, one above the other. The sizes are also changed to show that the biggest goes first.

Script changing:

Altering the dialogue to make the scene more understandable and allowing the panel to read from left to right.

Lettering and sound effects

To emphasise words that a character is saying, such as if the character is shouting it or it has a very important part to the story, a comic book creator would usually bold out the words.

Bubbles working with the background

Speech bubbles can work with the background to allow the story telling to flow easier, such as the background can gradually work to the foreground from left to right and the bubbles will be placed from left to right. This would allow the viewer to perceive the background and speech bubbles without having to stop and look back, keeping the flow of the story.

Narrative caption

When a narrative sequence begins in a comic, you can use and blend different techniques to show it is converging into a narrative flashback. The example on page 154, the technique used was combining a standard straight border line panel with a squiggle designed panel, this helps shows the transition very well, allowing the view to be able to understand without having to stop.

The book I used:

Cooney, D. (2012) The complete guide to figure drawing for comics and graphic novels. United States: Barron’s Educational Series Inc.,U.S.


I was able to learn more about speech bubbles from the book, I learnt how the placement of speech bubbles can be used to help the flow of the story, how the panel is laid out can effect the speech bubbles and some techniques to fix it and how to use different techniques to show the transition to a flashback.


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