Anonymous asked: how long does it take to write a mini comic?
A thirty-page mini takes me a little over a month of full-time work.
To invent the story itself can take months, from the initial dawning burst of inspiration to the fully formed narrative with dialogue and emotional beats and the different scenes hanging together just right. Usually I wait to write it down until it’s complete in my imagination, and all I have to do is transcribe it. Often I’m working on more than one story at a time. Right now I think I have four different stories, between four and sixty pages in length, in varied stages of completion in my notebook.
I thumbnail and script at the same time because it helps me get the timing right, and that’s a laborious process for me. It probably takes about half an hour per page, just the actual physical process of writing it down, and the thumbnails are nothing fancy, but I do them slowly, pause to turn it over in my mind, go back and move things around until I’m satisfied with the blocking and pacing. Sometimes I insert an extra page so a scene can progress more slowly. I’m always trying to slow my comics down.
Once the thumbnails are in good shape, pencilling goes pretty quickly—all I have to do is redraw the thumbnail, but bigger. Sometimes I find that what I thumbnailed doesn’t work so well after all, or I blithely scribbled a pose that’s actually tricky to draw full-size, or I did the thumbnails so long ago and so sloppily that I’m not sure what I intended and have to make it up again. This takes me maybe up to two hours per page, or more accurately ten or twenty minutes per panel, because a page with a lot of panels takes longer to draw than one with only a few.
Inking is the easiest part of the process, and the most satisfying. If the pencils are pretty tight all I have to do is trace them, and seeing the final images emerge is exhilarating. I usually ink the most important parts of the page first, and then go back and add details and backgrounds if I have time. I do several rounds of that. For example, when I was drawing In Pace Requiescat, which I finished just a couple of days before CAB, I made myself a little post-it that said “wide shot backgrounds, mid shot backgrounds, vest, lapels, pockets, stripes?, wall shadows” and you can see when you look at the comic that I only got halfway through that list. So maybe a couple of hours per page for this.
Insert another several hours here for a cover image, title page, endpaper designs, etc.
Laying the book out and preparing a final “original” booklet to print from takes me an hour or two. I do it with scissors, a glue stick, and a copy machine, and thanks to literally decades of practice (!!!) I’m usually able to bang it right out. With my most recent minis, I just drop that original off at the copy shop and they make the books for me, which takes about a day.