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Creating comics: Behind the scenes

Sarah Leavitt gives us a behind-the-scenes look at creating the illustrations for the Caption This Comic Challenge, including a drawing she hated, an optional ending, and a pose in the bathtub. 

Now I am going to show you a drawing that I hate. I’d always wanted the flowers to be identifiable. But in this drawing, which I actually almost finished inking before realizing how bad it was, I was obsessive about the details of each flower to the point that they lost all life, and the poor little man became a stiff, malformed afterthought. 

I went back and focused on the man again and how to make him more dynamic and engaging. My research included using pictures of myself as a reference for how his body would be positioned in the tub. Here I am being startled by an imaginary cat.

I probably did three or four versions of each of the panels. Here’s one of the rejected versions of panel one:


Once I had my final pencils, I inked and scanned them, and did some final clean-up of the lines in Photoshop.

I don’t usually use colour. For this project, I had originally planned to leave the drawings black and white, with maybe just a touch of colour on the flowers. But once I started adding colour, I realized I wanted to colour everything but the man, and that would be a way of getting him to stand out against all the detail of the flowers. As far as choosing the colours, I just played with them as I went along, adjusting them until they looked balanced to me. In the third panel, I really wanted the houses to fade into the background, and I wanted a bright, daring colour for the car. At first it was lime green, but it clashed with the houses. When I tried the hot pink I was pleased by how it looked with the background, and also I felt like it somehow expressed the personality of this little man, whom I have become quite attached to. He is adventurous, self-indulgent, and a bit flamboyant. 

The whole process has been challenging and also a lot of fun. I’m quite excited to see where the finalists take my little man, his cat and his flowers. 

  
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