This is where it all starts. Just a tiny little pencil sketch. It's rough and raw, but there's quite a lot happening. Almost all of the key visual storytelling choices are being made with this preliminary work.
Lyndon has broken the script down into panel-by-panel descriptions, but translating those into a visual format isn't always a simple task. Other considerations crop up from time to time, but these are the some of the most common ones:
- Matching the illustration with the description in the script, or doing something else that communicates Lyndon's intent better.
- The camera angle and composition inside each panel, and how word balloons and captions will fit alongside the illustrations.
- How to fit every panel on the page, and what sizes they should be relative to each other.
- How well the pacing of the story works in a visual format – is each panel and page working as a little chunk of the story, and do the transitions between them make sense?
- Whether any of the moments in the script would work better combined into a single panel or split into several.
- If a new character or scene is introduced, what should they look like?
- Is the text to image ratio well-balanced? Is there room for Lyndon to add more dialogue, or a need to trim things to fit the space available?
The thumbnails are a start and help me begin planning my approach, but they don't make a whole lot of sense on their own. The next step is to blow them up to a readable size, clean them up so others can recognise what's happening, and insert some preliminary word balloons and captions.
I'm batching all of this early work together so Lyndon and I have an entire chapter's worth of storyboards to evaluate before moving too far ahead with any one page. But seeing as this is my first comic, I have taken one page a bit further, just to figure out how I'll approach the finished artwork. I don't usually show a whole lot of unfinished work in public, and there's quite a lot I'd still like to refine about the painting process I used here – but I think the people who've been following the Aspire Project for a while deserve a brief glimpse of where things are headed: