Posts tagged Garen Ewing

Rainbow Orchid – from start to finish

Step 1: script notes

Step 2: full script

Step 3: thumbnails

Step 4: rough sketches with lettering

Step 5: pencil images

Step 6: ink images

Step 7: add colour

Step 8: Add lettering

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‘How to make a graphic novel’ with Garen Ewing

Hi again!  Yesterday I told you a little about my comic, The Rainbow Orchid, and why I love comics.  One question I get asked a lot is ‘how do you make a comic?’ You could ask almost any comic creator this question and you probably wouldn’t get the same answer twice, but here is a brief guide to how I make comics…

Once I have my plot worked out and written in note form, I start by breaking the story down into one-page chunks – detailing what has to happen on each page of the comic. The next thing to do is write the script, which is rather similar to what you might imagine a film script to be – I describe the scene in each panel and write out the dialogue said by the characters. At the same time as writing the script I’ll sketch some very rough page layouts which are called ‘thumbnails’, because they’re so small, just to give me an idea of how the panels will fit on the page, with perhaps some loose composition for the actual drawing in there too.

With the script written and the thumbnails as a guide, the next thing I do is draw larger rough versions of the page so I can work out how the drawings will look and where the characters need to be in each panel so they can talk in the correct order (speech balloons generally need to be read from left to right) and also to make sure their actions and the visual aspect of the storytelling is clear.

Those rough drawings help a lot when it comes time for the next stage – pencilling the actual artwork. I’ve already worked out, in rough form, the poses and composition, so now it’s just a case of spending a lot more time on the drawings to get them looking good. After pencilling (and lots of rubbing out along the way) I need to ink the drawings. This involves using a dip pen and a pot of Indian ink and drawing over the pencils to end up with a nice clean finished drawing.

This is the point I turn to modern technology and scan my black and white line art into the computer at high resolution. Using Adobe Photoshop I colour the artwork and also make up the speech balloons. Although I do the lettering in the balloons to make sure they’re the correct size, my publisher sets the actual final lettering onto the page so it is as crisp and clear as possible for the printer. The font used for the lettering is one I created myself based on my own hand-lettering.

When all this comes together you have a finished page! Depending on how detailed the page is, a single page can take me anywhere from two to four days of solid work. Making comics is a lot of hard work, but you get to play the part of writer, director, set designer, special effects wizard and actor, and it’s always rewarding when you see the finished book finally come together.

Tomorrow on the blog, you can see images of the process from start to finish.

Enjoy your comics!

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Graphic novels – just another way to tell a story

My name is Garen Ewing and I’m the author and artist for a graphic novel called The Rainbow Orchid.

Graphic novel? What’s that?

Put simply, a graphic novel is a term used for a comic (as in ‘comic strip’) that is published in longer book form. It may be a book that collects lots of shorter episodic comics together under one cover, or it may be a comic that is created and published as a book in its own right. Graphic novels and comics can be about anything – adventure, science-fiction, biography, superheroes, soap opera, comedy – it’s a medium that is able to accommodate any genre you you can think of! There are comics for boys, girls, children, teenagers and adults … everyone. It’s just another way to tell a story.

But what an excellent and compelling way to tell a story! Comics are a wonderful fusion of words and pictures that engage both halves of your brain and pull you right into the tale from the first panel. You can make anything you want happen in a comic and you don’t need a huge special effects budget to do it. Basically, comics are great!

So what is The Rainbow Orchid?  A few years ago I wanted to make a comic that would be the perfect story to suit my own tastes; a comic, basically, aimed at readers just like me. So it’s got everything in it that I love – a soaring adventure story featuring ancient mysteries, exploration and plenty of excitement and intrigue. Many of my favourite comics come from the ‘Franco-Belgian’ tradition, particularly those that are drawn in a ‘clear line’ style (such as Hergé’s Tintin, Jacobs’ Blake & Mortimer, or Chaland’s Freddy Lombard adventures), so that’s the style I decided to lean towards when I drew it.

The story itself concerns the search for a rare and possibly mythical orchid that takes the main character, Julius Chancer, and his friends from the south of England to France and then on to India and the hidden valleys of the Hindu Kush, with a bunch of nefarious villains in hot pursuit.

Read my next post to find out how I create a graphic novel.

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My new favourite graphic novel – The Rainbow Orchid

Cover imageI have just discovered my new favourite graphic novel – The Rainbow Orchid by Garen Ewing.   It’s an old-style graphic novel, similar in style to the Tintin comics by Herge, with loads of action and adventure, and that’s the reason I love them. 

Set in Britain in the 1920s, The Rainbow Orchid is the story of the search for a mythical flower that was last mentioned by an ancient Greek philosopher hundreds of years ago.  There is a huge cast of quirky and sinister characters but the main story centers around Julius Chancer, the assistant to the great historical researcher, Sir Alfred Catesby-Grey, who sets off on a quest to find the Rainbow Orchid which lies somewhere in the mysterious sub-continent of  India.  However, there are others willing to stop at nothing to make sure Julius doesn’t get his hands on the orchid, including the slimy Urkaz Grope and his sinister personal assistant, Evelyn Crow.   Their journey starts in Volume 1 and continues in Volume 2 with Julius and his companions in India, with Volume 3 is due out next year.

If you love old-school adventure stories, with detailed illustrations, quirky characters, narrow escapes and car chases, then you should try The Rainbow Orchid.  Garen Ewing also has a fantastic website where you can learn more about the characters and find out what it takes to create a graphic novel.

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