A few months back I featured the entire “Premier” issue of Leprechaun, which was released in 1992 as a promo for the original movie. Most sites on the net mistakenly attribute Kris Carter as the creator of this collectors edition (It was Illustrated by my brother William Clausen, who was able to ADD the correct information to the following link, but Kris has still not been deleted from the page). Since the San Diego Comic Con is drawing nigh, and I have recently talked about MY process of lettering the 3rd issue of Alf that will be given away by my brother at the Richard Alf Panel, I thought I would share with you this post that Chris did about HIS process and approach to illustrating a Leprechaun issue.
The making of Leprechaun – by: Kris Carter. Re-blogged from Comic Monsters.com
OK, bear with me this is the first time I have ever written about what I do so I might be a little verbose and meandering.
So what has gone into the making of the Leprechaun comic book?
I never have given that much thought myself until I was asked to write this article. I just do what I normally do. My current comfortable way to approach a new project is:
1: Read the script twice
2: Do first impression sketches
3: Research the locations and characters
4: Get approval from the Editor for everything you have done up to this point.
Notice how I said that this is “my current comfortable approach”? That is because I have worked differently from time to time and change up what I do. Always looking for ways to improve the work.
So, I am going to break down each of those steps, glossing over the first one because, really do you need to hear about me reading a script? What I will say is that the reason I do read it twice is, invariably I miss something in my first read through. Also in my second pass I jot down little notes and sketches in the margins of the script itself. This helps when I move into the layout phase.
Now with that out of the way we move into one of my favorite stages the “first impression” sketches. These are the images that popped into my head while reading the script. Everything I do here is straight from imagination and without research. For me this part is all about getting the feel of the characters and the environment that these people inhabit.
At this point I am not worried about anatomy, composition or any of the more technical aspects of illustration. I am just trying to get the raw images from my head on to paper. Notice how old Leppy doesn’t really resemble Warwick Davis from the movies in these? That is because I was trying to draw him from memory. A 10 year old memory at that. I love cheesy horror flicks but I hadn’t seen Leprechaun in a long time.
That brings us into the research part of this project. I purchased and watched all of the Leprechaun movies, omitting Leprechaun in the hood. Now I began to see what Leppy really looks like. Memory is a funny thing, don’t rely on it, it will fail you 90% of the time. I also had to do research on a lot of odd things. High end PC’s, catcher’s face masks, sarcophagi, and Celtic design work are a few of the things I now have gigabytes of reference material for, just for Leprechaun. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of using reference in comic book work. You should be trying to create a believable environment for you characters to live in. The environment should be just as much if not more fully realized than the characters themselves.
I don’t have much to say about the next step, Editorial approval, except that doing it and making sure everything you have been doing is acceptable will save you so much time and headaches down the road it is imperative that you do this step multiple times throughout the process. Making sure at this point, before you move into the thumbnail/layout phase, will make the transition from layouts to finished pencils much smoother.
This is an example of one of my layouts from Issue 1 of Leprechaun. When I first start working with a new creative team or Editor, I try to do tighter thumbnails. For this first issue I “inked” all of the thumbnails so what I was portraying in the layouts would translate to everyone else what I was going to do. Once I am comfortable with an Editor, and he/she is comfortable with me, I tend to do looser thumbs, that are just in pencil.
Either way I make sure all of them get approved before I move on to the final step, actually penciling the book.
I don’t blow up and trace my layouts as a lot of comic book artists do. I personally think this makes the work tedious and stiff. My stuff has a natural “stiffness” to it so anything that helps me avoid that is what I am going to do. At this point I pull out a 11×17 art board and lay out out the page. I start from panel one and go in order straight through to the end of the page. I don’t bounce around the page like a lot of other artists do. I find that to keep a good flow and accurate story continuity you have to start at the beginning and end at the end.
Above and below are two finished pages notice the similarities and differences from the thumbnails. Working the way I do gives me a good frame work for the finished page but allows me a ton of freedom to change anything I see that isn’t working the way I intended. You can also notice refined character designs from the original sketches. I am always trying to improve the look and the feel of the art and story and that process is never complete until I send the final page in to the Editor. I am sure I will be asked, because I always am…about 2 pages a day on a day without interruptions.
That is it for me. You can always contact me or see some more of my work on my artblog kristecarter.blogspot.com. Feel free to ask any questions I didn’t answer here.
Shown below are a plethora of un-inked Leprechaun pencils. They are on offer at Serendipity Art Sales. See you next week.