Many readers asked me what my workflow is on the Foolish Lego comic. This post will bring you a general answer to how I worked on chapter one. These days I have a very different workflow.

The Foolish Lego webcomic has, in many ways, been a learning school for me. I made a lot of mistakes, but I got better in the process. I will not elaborate on the mistakes in this post, but one of them is the fact that I don’t have a clear script for this comic. I have a general idea of where it is going and of certain plot-aspects, but I don’t know where the comic is going episode to episode. The biggest problem in this is that the comic turns out to be pretty uneven and sometimes drags. Besides this I sometimes started a mystery without knowing where it was going. On the other hand it gives me some freedom shooting each episode and I notice some jokes come to me the moment I’m working on the episode.

Oh, one other problem this absence of a general script gives me, is that I have relative little time to build sets… that gets me in trouble from time to time so sometimes I stay in a scene too long because I have to find time to build a new set.

For the next installment of the comic, I will have a script though (more on that in another blog-post). Well, enough on this, now on to this workflow.

To be honest the workflow is pretty straightforward.

The evening before publication:

  1. I write the script for one or a few episodes
  2. I put together the panels in text, without the images
  3. I shoot the photo’s
  4. I do a little color correction
  5. If necessary I apply special effects
  6. The photo’s go into the comic
  7. A little resizing
  8. Upload with a little text

The writing of the script is the most time-consuming. Only the story-arc where Willy and Amida were in Willy’s mind was very heavy on the effects, which took a LOT of time, so I was happy when that arc was over.

I write the script for one or a few episodesWorkflow chapter 1 comic

I use ‘Scrivener’ to do this. An incredible versatile piece of software and I don’t use it to it’s full power at all.

Each episode I try to achieve a few things. At the very least it has to be in line towards the end that I have in mind. And I try to give the episode a surprising or compelling end-panel.

Writing the text I also imagine the scene’s to go along with the text

I put together the panels in text, without the images

Workflow chapter 1 comicI do this to get an idea of space in the panels. This sometimes changes the way I shoot the photo’s and helps me envision the scene’s. I’m terrible at drawing, otherwise I would do this in the scriptwriting-phase. I use the excellent software “comic-life 3” for this by the way.

I shoot the photos

For shooting the photo’s I use a Pentax K5-IIs combined (mostly) with a 100mm macro-lens. I shoot the photo’s in Raw-format.

Workflow chapter 1 comicI used to shoot these photo’s all around the house, sometimes even in the backyard in the sunlight. These days I have a small ‘studio’ in the basement. It’s a multifunctional room really. My daughter plays there, my wife works out and I shoot the comics.

The reason I wanted a studio is to get the circumstances the same in each photo, mostly lighting-wise. Also it is good to have a place where you can leave your stuff lying around.

I do a little color correction

Workflow chapter 1 comicI use Adobe Photoshop and NIK-software to do this. (sadly google bought the NIK software, and made it free to use recently… an ominous sign that in the near future it won’t be developed anymore, so hopefully I am really wrong on this one). I also check contrast, sharpness etc.

I don’t do to much correction mind you, just a bit.

 

If necessary I apply special effects

workflow chapter 1 lego comic

When elaborately necessary, this part takes a lot of time. Especially the first time I use an effect. The first time I still need to fabricate the effect (I mostly use Photoshop-tutorials on the Internet, in books or magazines for this.).

 

The photo’s go into the comic

This is the easiest part. I just drop ‘m into the panels I prepared in phase 2. Sometimes I change the text a little.

If my wife is around, she gets to proof-read the episode, which sometimes leads to a change of text and seldom to a new photo….

I save the episode as a comic-life and jpg-file.

workflow chapter 1 lego comic

A little resizing

The original file is too large to go on the internet so I resize it to 1020 x 656 pixels (that used to be 850 x 546pixels). I try to keep the file-size maximally between 500 and 600kb in order to keep loading times on the site as short as possible.

 

Upload with a little text

For the final part I upload the episode to my website (WordPress combined with the (free but worth a donation) plugin comic-easel).

I schedule it for publication!