Modern Grimm, Sketches, Writing

Thumbnailing the Frog

So I’m THIS close to saying “screw it” and just use the font as it currently is, making changes to it later so I can start working on the second font I want done. Kerning for DAYS. x.x (Most of the English letter and symbol spacing is already done, I just need to finish the lowercase-to-lowercase spacing to make it usable for English.)

So while I am working on the fonts, I have started the sketching/thumbnailing process for the first story:

So much DERP on that first face….

Generally, thumbnailing is the process of setting up the basic layout of the image on a smaller scale, before working on an image at a large scale. In the case of comics, it also is getting the layout of the panels as well as individual compositions. I do thumbnailing on printer paper cut in half, or scratch sheets pads of about a quarter-size. By doing this at a smaller size, it forces me to work on composition rather than detail. Additionally, I can layout all the pages to look at them all at once to make sure that they are relatively unique and that page layouts are not constantly being repeated within a certain range. Once I start doing more detailed work on the computer, poses will be refined to be clearer or more dynamic (where it makes sense), panel shapes will change, and some panels will even be shuffled around, added, or removed.

ribbit.

This process also allows me to make further notes for research, detail editing, and overall composition. For example, on the second page in the second image, I have notes for moving/resizing the frogs in the first panel, the sky shot to be day fading into night, and lighting notes further down the page. I also have my [initial] dialogue and balloons laid out, which are subject to change for clarity, brevity, or ease of reading. There are research notes, such as where I need to create/find reference images (the very first page, for the lime/linden tree as well as the pose), and what additional references I should find to complete rendering (dress, setting objects, etc.).

I will say, though thumbnailing is tedious in its own way, it’s also probably my favorite part of the process. It’s where the story gets its first breath of life, and the characters are really humanized for the first time, rather than just being descriptions on paper or notes on sketches. Their personalities come through in both actions and interactions, besides their individual appearances. It’s also the first time a world is explored, as far as where things are and the spaces the characters live within–another opportunity to show the personality (and even backgrounds) of the characters. While the reader gets to (usually) only experience the final rendering of these worlds, as an author/artist, I get to watch them grow and develop from the initial concept to the well-known.

Art, Comics, Modern Grimm

NOPE. Damn.

So, I still haven’t finished what I want to finish — I keep getting distracted by my classic summer hobbies of anime and video games. x.x

In the meantime, I am working on the fonts, just very slowly. I have two fonts I want to finish before I start.

GRIMM CASUAL

This is the letting font I want to use for making the Modern Grimm comic specifically. This font is meant to be readable at smaller sizes, but also retain a handwritten look and feel with (somewhat) unusually shaped letters. I wanted to make my own font so I could add additional language support through new characters in the future, if it gets to the point my comic gets translated into other languages with extended alphabets. (I wish!)

Right now, I’m in the process of kerning the font, or adjusting the spacing between the characters, and doing some minor readability modifications to ensure that there is no confusion between standard Latin characters and extended characters used by other languages, such as German and Polish.

Ideally, this font should be able to be used as a part of the Modern Grimm site design, and support translation apps when used in place of a specialized graphic to provide a consistent experience to all users. Because of the modifications, it does take a while to complete the work, even with some of the automated tools I have with my font software. (Shout-out to Type 3.2 by Allan Murray/CR8 Software!)

Где “Ё”?

GRIMM FANCY

I haven’t even started to digitize this one. This is for titles/headers, and meant to look similar to classic black-lettering, like with “ye olde English” or Gothic fonts, but also a little more modern with serifs and smoother designs. This one I’ll probably pump out as quick English prototype with just the alphabet so I can just work on tweaking it later while still being able to do titles and “illuminated” letters for some text spaces. I can do a lot more detail with this font, since it is meant for larger sized text than the “Casual” font, so it may take a little bit longer to churn out a finished-ish font than the Grimm Casual Font.