The book is taking shape. Slowly, but it’s coming along.

For the past few months I’ve been working on digitally pencilling the book. It’s a tough stage, but rewarding, moving from the quick and rough sketches created in the thumbnail process to pages that are close to how they’ll look when the book is finally done.

Compare below the move from thumbnails to pencils.

Pencilling offers a nice balance of looseness and accuracy. I can sketch out an image not having to worry that it’s perfect – letting scratchy lines show and any small mistakes remain in place until they are finally corrected in inking. At the same time, I’m getting things right when I can – putting time in getting perspective and anatomy right, making sure that it’s all going to come together when I come to ink. In these ways, each page ends up looking something like finished, while still retaining a scrappyness that means there’s still room to improve later on.

Having moved to my iPad for some of the pencilling, the greatest boon has been the perspective tools built into ClipStudio. These tools allow me to throw together scenes in a way that had never been easy of possible before, freeing me to get more adventurous with perspective and offer more of a sense of place in my backdrops.

There’s still a long way to go on pencils, I’m afraid. I’ve done about 60 of 160 pages so far. It’s been a lot slower than I’d expected and wished, and I’ve long passed the deadline I’d aimed for way back at the start of the project. It’s frustrating but I think worth it – my expectations had been based on Filmish, where I could pencil 3 or more pages a day. Life has changed since then – I’ve got two kids and more responsibilities than I did five years ago. And the standard I’ve set for these pages is higher – with more adventurous imagery and a new set of challenges in illustrating the medium of games in my comic style.

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