Saturday, July 20, 2013

The making of The Mighty Enlil

At the request of a few readers, here’s a brief, succinct glimpse as to how I made The Mighty Enlil.

Step 0 - The story.

The Mighty Enlil evolved as I created it. I didn't have a complete story in my head that I put down to paper on a script to follow as I drew. I've tried that in the past with other comics but I lose interest in stories that I already know. In this case, the story developed as I wrote and drew the comic, sometimes rewriting or casting aside entire pages or whole sequences. On the left is an example of a panel from an unused page. 

Step 1 - The thumbnails

I jotted down whatever ideas I had on an A5 moleskine sketchbook that I carry with me at all times - ideas can come anywhere at any time. These could be little images, whole sequences, plain dialogue or some combination of all the previous. This was probably the most creative and time consuming step as I tried to make sense of everything and make the pages as clear as possible. To me this was mostly an intuitive step, following my visual storytelling instincts. Sometimes I drew preliminary miniature pages as the ones seen on the left...

Step 2 - The pencils

I created one page at a time, from beginning to end. The drawing started in rough, simple shapes, without details, just the basic shapes.This was mostly done using non-photo blue pencils or markers on plain photocopy A4 paper. I feel very comfortable drawing comic pages with set panel grids (be it three, four, six, eight or nine). I find that it adds to the effect of simplicity and narrative that I'm aiming for with my comics, so I opted to have a set six-panel grid on this comic.

Step 3 - The inks

For the most part, I inked all the outlines using Faber-Castell Pitt black pens size S or XS. I tried to make this and the previous steps as spontaneous as possible because I tend to lose motivation if I spend too much time on a single page.

Step 4 - The colors

 I colored everything on my computer. I think this was the second most time consuming step, leaving an important part of the storytelling to the colors. I tried to use colors in a symbolic way, sometimes also trying to evoke different moods or environments according to the needs of the story.

Step 5 - Lettering and balloons

 I lettered everything using digital fonts. After having placed the text where I wanted I drew the speech balloons, always trying to create a visual flow that would help direct the eyes of the reader zigzagging across the page, from left to right and up to bottom. Sometimes there was no text as in the last panel of the page on the left. I find silent panels very important as they help create a beat or a pause in the rhythm of the narrative. Sometimes less is more.

And that was it. After each page was done I'd post it on my blog and email it to Brant Fowler at, who graciously formatted everything in order to be viewed through their website.
Hope this helps those of you who make or want to make comics too.

1 comment:

Ron Fortier said...

Of course being the humble sort, Pedro failed to mention the entire MIGHTY ENLIL will be published as a regular one shot comic soon from Redbud Studio. Stay tuned.