|The Making of THE WALKING
by: Charlie AdlardOK - let me first say that my approach to The
Walking Dead is SO simplistic I've included some other projects
to show the diversity of ways I can approach a page.
The main reason The Walking Dead is so simple in it's approach from concept to
finished page is based mainly on the fact that it's a monthly. I need
to get 22 pages plus a cover penciled and inked every month. So it's
a big work load. Consequentially I've devised certain ways to speed
up the process and get it done.
One thing to note is - as from 36 - I started drawing The Walking Dead at almost
the same size as the comic. Before - and with most other side
projects still - I drew in the standard A3 size. Again, it was to do
with speed, but, as we'll discover, it all works in the comic's
favour in the end.
The example I've chosen to show is a page from
issue 56 - a fairly typical page. There's one notable exception - in that,
I've changed a panel, which is rare for me in the pencil to ink stage.
Normally - I tend to find I'm quite natural and fluid in my initial page
designs - so much so, that I don't need to do thumbnails for The Walking
Dead - the first idea is nearly always the best... and if the design of
the page doesn't come into my head in the first minute or so after reading
a script - it's going to be a struggle!
So - this is a rare occasion where I've penciled
a panel - seen I can do it "better" - and re-drawn it for the inks.
Anyway - once I've read the script - I layout the page as
illustrated. The pencils are pretty loose - I'm inking it myself so I
don't need to see where the blacks go etc. It takes roughly half an
hour to 45 minutes to do each page, and if Robert's sent me the
script to a whole issue then it takes roughly 3 days to do the whole
thing. I like to get the layouts done in a chunk like that - I don't
do one page, finish it, and go onto the next one. So, it's all quick
rough and ready... and then we go onto the next stage, my favourite
bit, the inks [or finishes].
The reason I like inking more than penciling is
because I draw a lot in the inks. I find my creative juices really flowing
then. Penciling is a bit of a chore to me - it's the working out, the
placing of all the elements correctly to read as well as possible... it
just doesn't feel as, well, creative... I have more fun with the finishes
- I can really let rip! It takes me about 2-3 hours to ink a page, depending
on the complexity. And then, that's it, it's done.
Working small - I've discovered - has had a positive effect in the
printing stage. Because, with The Walking Dead, everything is the same size - I
never lose any of the inked line work and the line weight is thicker
too, which I prefer. Before, when I was working A3, I noticed quite a
few lines [the thinner ones] getting lost in the printing and
reduction stage - so it was quite frustrating. Now that process is
much better for me.
I'm not one for using the computer with the actual drawing -
everything is done "live" and by the hand, straight down onto the
paper... there are no electronic tweaks at all. I've never really
seen the need to do drawing via a graphics tablet... even though I
own one! I don't shun the computer totally though - everything is
scanned in and electronically sent - as I'm sure most artists do
nowadays... and there are a few other little things I use it for as
detailed in my next paragraph...
As I said in my introduction - let me talk about
these other pages here. I've included these to show sometimes I don't
just rely on the The Walking Dead approach - sometimes things can get
a bit more complicated! First we have the "Breath Of The Wendigo"
Breath Of The Wendigo is my first European graphic
album [it should be out before Christmas and is published by French publisher
Soleil]. French [since that comprises the "bulk" of the Euro industry]
comics tend to be much more detailed and more panel heavy. Consequentially
I decided to do detailed thumbnails - to work out the panel arrangement
and to place the speech balloons. It's the first time I've hand drawn
the speech balloons directly onto the art board - so I needed to get it
right. I also used them instead of pencils to get page approval from Soleil
- they were detailed enough. So it's interesting to compare and contrast
the very open and loose thumbnails with the obviously much tighter finished
art... and, even though the finished page is better, there's something
about the thumbnails - a kind of naturalness - that I really like about
them and I can never capture in the end result.
The other example here is a page from Codeflesh.
Image are collecting the original run in colour and Joe Casey and myself
decided to do an extra 12 pages to make it a bit more special. I started
printing out certain backgrounds [photographs, screen grabs etc] in blue
line directly onto the art board with Breath Of The Wendigo - just to
give it that extra element of realism and I thought I'd continue it with
Codeflesh, since it's another heavily realistic book which requires heavy
reference. This blue line page from Codeflesh [as of writing, I haven't
even inked it yet] is an extreme example of this. I don't normally have
so many elements on one page like this - it was just the way it worked
out - but, I thought it'd be interesting to see the beginnings of this
type of page and how eventually the inks will change all the initial blue
I hope my ramblings have provided an insight into how I work. Sometimes
I find it hard to talk about this type of thing because it all comes quite
naturally to me - it's very intuitive - as I think it would be to most artists
in this field. Plus the fact that I've been doing it professionally for
15 years must count for something!
Anyway - if anyone is interested in seeing more of my work beyond The
Walking Dead - please pop by my website - www.charlieadlard.com
- where you can feast your eyes on a lot of my professional output [The
Walking Dead included] plus a lot of interesting "other" stuff.
Comment on The
making of The Walking Dead.