Making of Zapp Your Planet

I recently created a small (2xA6) comic strip for "Zapp Your Planet" and thought it might be fun to show a little bit of the stages that made up the process of creating this piece.

TIP: Click an image to open it in gallery mode, then browse left and right to easily see the differences between the various stages.

Here's the final artwork that went to the printer:

And here's the initial sketch that I sent to the client for scenario approval:

It's a very rough sketch. Just enough to tell the story and give you some idea of the layout, really, because the concept may well be rejected. Luckily, the sketch was well received and I could go ahead making the pictures into decent drawings.
The picture that changed most from this rough version is the top right image. In this sketch it's still just a 'talking head'. I think any picture should really add something interesting, and here I made sure the picture communicated strongly how very warm Freek is in the burning sun.

This pencil drawing is still a little rougher in some areas than I would usually prefer. The next step is inking (right) in Illustrator, and I don't like having to make choices during inking. Still, in this case I knew there wouldn't be a problem.

I imported the ink drawing into Photoshop, moved around some elements a bit and started coloring/painting. I decided to make some small layout changes, opening it up by removing some of the frames around the pictures. This also allowed for more space for the text balloons to 'breathe'.

Coming up with creative layouts that help tell the story most effectively is one of the most fun parts of creating comic strips to me. A fun example is the trunk in the middle of page 2: I chose to have it come into the picture from the edge of the paper, literally appearing 'out of nowhere'.

Finally, I imported the final image back into Illustrator, where I added text balloons and text. The reason I use Illustrator for this and not Photoshop, is that this way you end up with sharper text when the image is printed.

So there it is! I don't create comic strips often, this was actually my first in almost twenty years. It certainly was fun to do, and who knows, I may well one day decide to create a graphic novel.

You can check out a large version of this comic strip in the portfolio section.