At last, I’ve had a look through the script for the Charles Waterton comic and I’m onto the first pencil roughs stage, quickly going through the scenes doing what in the theatre would be called blocking in; planning the movement of characters. Even with something as chaotic as a punch-up with poachers I don’t want to keep changing the point of view too much so that, for instance, the character on the left is inexplicably on the right in the next frame. Based on a true incident recalled by Charles Waterton, this near fatal fracas ends up with a touch of Laurel and Hardy slapstick because, Waterton tells us, the poacher ran away with his hat and he ended up with the poacher’s.
Despite having read the Dummies book and watching several video tutorials, I’m still struggling to get up to speed with Manga Studio EX4 but at least it is easy to draw up the panels to see how much action I need to fit onto each page. I might very well draw the panels by hand in the final artwork, I haven’t decided on that yet, but at this stage I’m happy to have a grid to work in. Obviously I wouldn’t go for such thick ruled borders alongside my pen and ink drawings.
I can see the advantage of getting friends in to choreograph the fight and take reference photographs but at the moment fast pencil sketches, getting the gist of the action, are all that I need.