Orienteering: Behind The Scenes

By Erika Moen on September 23, 2011

When I first finished the artwork for Orienteering in 2007, I wrote up a process journal about creating those pages for my little old Livejournal (man, remember Livejournal?).

Here’s a somewhat edited version of that original post!


I sat down with Sara Ryan‘s script and over the course of two days went from rough pencil sketches to the final, fully marker-rendered pages.


Two different versions of page 1. The second version I added in two extra panels at the very beginning, to help clarify the difference between the dude that causes our heroine’s consternation and the lady who shows up at the end. Sara approved of my changes, so we went with the second version.


Pages 2 and 3

I didn’t take pictures of the inked pages by themselves. What I did was trace these rough pencils onto my nice bristle paper and then inked them with some kind of sumi(sp?) ink. Normally I ink on printer paper with Microns (That’s what I did in 2007, now in 2011 I ink on Bristol Board with Windosor and Newton Indian Black Ink and my Windsor and Newton Series 7 #2 brush!), but markers need thick, resistant paper and ink that won’t run when it touches it.


I started out focusing on filling in the backgrounds first, trying my best to create a nice, smooth gradient from lighter to darker colors. This would be the most labor intensive and easiest part to eff up, so if I would have to start over again I wanted it to be here in the beginning stages. How awful would it have been to color everything else, save the large, hard bit for last, mess that up and then have to start over on EVERYTHING? Much better to have less at stake should I have to start from the beginning again.


Filling in the smaller blocks of colors, like the clothes and fleshtones. In order to make sure I used exactly the same color on the outfits, I would color all the jackets across all the pages in one go, instead of completely coloring each page and then starting the next one.


Almost all colored


All colored, shadows added to figures, snow flakes painted on and smoke added with colored pencils.

The interior of the room came out way too orange and there’s some other color discrepancies that I’m going to correct in Photoshop.


Now the word balloons!
I specifically left them out so that I wouldn’t have to color around them. Instead I’m doing them on printer paper with Microns pens and then I’ll drop them on top in Photoshop. This is NOT how I normally letter my comics! Usually I keep the word balloons and lettering on the same page as the artwork, but in this case it would be easier for me to create more consistent color fills with my markers if I didn’t have to go around a bunch’a word balloons, y’know?


The word balloon pages above the artwork pages! The closest they will be to each other until I combine them in Photoshop.

Here’s the pages after a little Photoshop-ery to smooth out some of my jankier attempts at creating gradients and also to really punch the colors up:


Here’s a little before/after photoshopping of the last page.

Man, I hardly ever use my markers any more, but this really makes me wanna bust ‘em out again. HMMM!!!

Anyway, now that you’ve seen all the work that went into it, why not go read Orienteering to see it in its finished state?

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