When I was going to do this article series LAST YEAR (grumble grumble) I was going to use Art & Story’s “Your Comic From The Ground Up” series as a guide. Well, a year has passed and while it’s still a good guide to follow I need to do this my way…as soon as I figure out what that is. Anyway: Ninja Ballerina.
There are many stages to creating a comic series, both good and bad. Stage 1 we saw in the article linked to above: create an idea. In the prologue which is now Stage 1 (concept), we came up with the idea of the comic, thanks to a throw-away joke by Brian “Disco” Snell. Now I need a cast of characters. While Jake & Leon actually started with a cast first and the concept formed as I went along (so occasionally these steps are interchangeable), I came up with the idea first and started figuring out the characters.
The conclusion of this stage is to actually design the characters and figure out as much back story as you need for the current story. With this concept this was rather easy; it’s a one-shot story about a woman who imagines her roommate is a crimefighting ninja. From there we have the important characters to this story.So for this concept Meg’s imaginary scenario will be done a bit simpler. You’ve seen the two art styles for some of the Jake & Leon skits. This is how I will tell the two realities apart. For example, this will be the “real” world:
And this will be the world in Meg’s head:
The “fictional world” will be a bit more cartoony in nature, and the “real world” will have more detail. I first practiced this using the “concept sketch pages” that came with that comic book kit.
But I have about six characters to sketch and there are only two pages. On the bottom (you can’t tell between the size and watermarkings) are spaces for character information. However, when I would do these character models as a kid, I followed what they were doing in the binder version of Marvel Universe Handbook, where were in the form of turnarounds. So these pages really aren’t that useful to me. I can sketch in a sketchbook, which is what I did for the remaining characters, and put them all in the turnaround layout. I don’t know if there is a template for that, so I went and found a book that would allow me to not only present the character at all necessary sides, but some space to write their character profile.
Yes, I used a first-grader’s letter practice pad. Don’t knock it, it works. Here’s May again in turnarounds.
One pitfall I have, besides what will obviously keep me from being a fashion designer, is keeping consistency between drawings, so that’s something I hope to work on during the test comic. This is May in the “real world”, and here is May in her ninja costume in Meg’s fantasy.
Here’s Meg herself, who has no fantasy counterpart.
I tried to give her head something of a heart shape. Both girls are depicted in (what my art skills can represent as) ballerina outfits, since the only other outfit we see May in is the ninja costume and Meg will be under the covers or in her nighty.
Every hero needs a villain and a villain needs minions. I’m keeping the minions under wraps (although you did get a sneak peak if you read my Twitter feed last night), but here’s our mad scientist, because every hero has at least one mad scientist in his or her life.
The hard part was coming up with a name. While part of his personality was based on The Spoony Experiment, his field of science is more about “modifying” animals into killer cyborg mutations. My first thought was “Dr. Killpeople”, which I got off of an old Bugs Bunny cartoon where he disguises himself as “Dr. Kilpatient”. however, some thought brought me to work on both mad scientist and “modifying”, so introducing Doctor Maad. I envision a limited appearance, but it’s a short story.from
And that’s Stage 3, an outline of the story. While it has been playing in my head for a very long time, it’s time to bring it out of my head and form…not a “script” exactly. I’ll explain in the next installment, which will hopefully be this year. Hopefully.