The aesop story about the fox and the eagle
Stage 1: Breakdown and ideation
The story about the fox and the eagle:
The eagle and the fox became friends and decided to live near each other. The eagle built her nest in the top of a tall tree, while the fox built her home in the bushes below to raise her young.
One day while the fox was away, the eagle, unable to find food for her babies, swooped down and picked up a young cub for her brood the feast on.
Returning, the fox discovered what had happened and was less grieved for the death of her young one than her inability to get revenge on the eagle.
Meanwhile the eagle had found a village nearby where a goat was being roasted on an open fire. She snatched a piece of cooking meat and flew back to her nest not realizing that she was also carrying a burning cinder.
A breeze rose to fan the cinder and soon the nest was ablaze. The young eaglets could not yet fly and were roasted in their nest and dropped down dead t the bottum of the tree.
There, in sight of the eagle, the fox gobbled them up.
Morale: Do unto others as you do unto you.
I start out by sketching, getting my first ideas down on paper. Everything should be loose, nothing is wrong,
just let one idea form the next.
When I have a more firm feeling of where I'm going with the style. I break the story down into pages. My focus is to tell the story with as few actions possible by breaking the story down into its most essential elements.
In this case 4 pages.
Page 1: The fox and the eagle are friends, the eagle doesn't have food, fox leaves.
Page 2: The eagle snatches a cub, fox returns, eagle leaves
Page 3: Eagle returns with a burning ember.
Page 4: Nest catches fire, fox gobbles up eaglets.
Stage 2: Thumbnails
I then go on to drawing the layout in thumbnails. I try to improve everything I can from stage to stage, seeing each stage as a new start.
Stage 3: Rough Sketches
When I have the layout in thumbnails I do a rough sketch in a larger format. In this case A4.
Stage 4 to 6: Critique, self evaluation, Going back
When I've made a larger sketch I always try and have someone else look at my work. Preferable not some too close personally, but someone who is able to give constructive criticism. At the moment I'm lucky enough to have a whole class to critique my work.
In this case most of the critique was on the readability. Since I see it is a bad sign, if you have to defend your work too much. I realized that I had tried to bring in too much extra story. After this conclusion I decided to start again from scratch and focus on telling the main story with clear readable shapes and silhouettes.
Above: First drafts
Stage 7: Back to thumbnailing
One of the important elements in making a comic is NOT to think of it as a completely linear process. If something that doesn't work, go back to the last working stage and start from there. In this case I went all the way back and made new thumbnails.
I had an idea about making the shape of the tree function as a kind of panel grid as well as establishing the setting. This idea lead me unto thinking that it could be kind of fun, if I could also integrate the negative shapes into the storytelling in other ways. I also thought the more abstract paperclip style fitted the Aesop story well.
Stage 8: Rough sketches
I did some new rough silhouette sketches. Focusing on having clear and interesting shapes letting shapes transform into other shapes were it felt natural. But always trying to keep the main story elements clear. Because of time pressure I made rather big changes to page 2 and 3 because I wanted them to work as a splash page. This is not the best way to go about making big changes, it is better to do it in the thumbnail stage.
Stage 9: Tight Sketches
After I had a better idea of the layout. I tightened everything up using the lasso tool. Still refining the silhouettes as I tightened it up.
The text still need refining.
But I really wanted to try and ink a page. So I also made a half finished style test page by printing out the first page in light blue and inking on top.
It still needs a lot of love but hopefully you'll get the idea.
We also had to do a rough layout sketch for a reduced 2 page version. My version is very rough but my idea was to make the splash page into the 2 page version. Taking the most important visual element of the 4 page story and tying them with as few words as possible.