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Viking Birth Control Sketches and the Importance of Thumbnails

October 1st, 2012 by

Viking Birth Control sketchesI don’t just throw these comics together; thumbnail sketches are super important! This is a scan of a 14″ x 17″ (35.6 x 43.2cm) sketchbook. I don’t make tiny little thumbs on tiny little pages. Here’s the comic if you need a refresher.

That’s right, I use the whole page. And I want you to see the whole thing, so beware: this is a big picture. Below I will try to walk you through this mess of a sketchbook page by corresponding to the letters and numbers I drew over the thumbs.

A) Here’s the original thumb. I really work well with the three-panel layout for my comics, so this is my default starting position.

B1 & B2) At some point I decided on four panels being the optimum quantity to get the comic across. It’s way better to do this during the planning stage than when halfway through the inking stage on the final comic.

C) Since I hand letter almost every comic, even the digital ones(I’ll tell you some other time how), I like to work out some of the word arrangement well before I start on the final comic.

1) You can see the change from A to 1 that I rearranged the characters in panel 1. This also serves to put the word balloon first in the panel. The tail then points into the panel, leading the eye.

2) Panel 2 final decision. There are multiple versions of this all over the page before winding up on the final one. You can see them all over because who cares! Draw wherever you want. It’s your sketchbook.

3) All versions of panel 3 look pretty much the same. Probably because I’m lazy, but how else do you draw a bunch of folks around a catapult that’s flinging a baby toward the horizon?

4) There’s only one sketch of the last panel because I(in my opinion) pretty much nailed it in the sketch. Was this the most successful version that could be made? Who knows? I wanted the father to be pushing the kid backward and in USA comics culture, anything going left is seen as the opposite of progress. Thus, the overbearing weight of the father’s arm is awkwardly pushing the kid backwards as he implies that the kid’s life will be sent in the opposite direction of progress, i.e., death.

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