The process

Here’s a rundown of the process of making a page of Happy at 90 Miles. (Check them out on the STORY page.)

First there’s the script. After listening to Jorge tell the story I have to fashion a coherent narrative around it, imagining the scene, the characters.

While I write I have to be aware of how much I can fit on a page, usually between 5-6 panels, but it can be as many as nine panels or a just one big drawing filling the page depending on the rhythm and the storytelling effect I’m going for.

Here’s the script for page 3, exported from Scrivener, which I use to write in.


1 – Uncle Alberto hands Jorge a pole with a sharpened metal point.


That was young cane. There’ll be no harvest for the bastards to report this year.

Here boy. Time to do your part.

2 – Uncle Alberto points to a couple of wagons loaded with sugar cane.


Pinch the tires. The load of cane will rot when they can’t get it to processing.

3 – Jorge aims the pole at the wagon tire but hesitates. His uncle is dancing in front of the burning sugar cane.


They think they own us, you know. A whole island of slaves!

4 – Uncle Alberto turns and sees Jorge still paralyzed.


What the hell, Jorge! Be a man, will you!

5 – Jorge grits his teeth and leans with all his might. The wheel punctures.


6 – The wagon leans as the wheel loses pressure, causing cane stalks to spill onto the ground. Uncle Alberto laughs loudly.


HAHAHAHA!!! That’ll teach them a lesson! HAHAHA! Get the other tires!

Next I draw a thumbnail, meaning a quick sketch, about 3×2 inches to see how the panels work together. As you can see, I have made a change, combining panels 5 and 6 into one.
(You can click on the images for a bigger view)

pg_03 layout

I print the thumbnail onto 11×17″ paper and using a lightbox I trace the general panel sizes onto good drawing paper, in my case 2ply Strathmore Bristol 500 series. Then I go ahead and draw, using HB pencils. Since I’m inking this myself, I don’t have to scan the pencils, so I ink right on top. For the inks I use a mix of Pentel fountain pens and India ink applied with brushes.

When finished I scan the page at 600dpi in two parts and join them in Photoshop. Here’s the inked page:


For the lettering, I use Illustrator to place balloons and text onto the page. The font is Enemy Ace 2, purchased from the developers.
Since I left enough space when I drew the page, there’s no problems of fitting it all.

Here’s the final page, lettered and ready to print.


Well, hopefully this was interesting/useful/not-a-waste-of-time.
Thanks for following and please help spread the word!


Written by IPH on Jul 07,2009 in: |

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