Q: What tools do you use to make The Glass Scientists?
I write this comic in plain old Google Drive documents (so I can edit them from wherever). I draw my thumbnail, sketch, and tie-down passes in Photoshop, then bring the image as a flattened JPEG into Manga Studio, where I make the panel layouts. I then export the file as a PSD and bring it back into Photoshop to do the final linework. Meanwhile, I roughly paint a color script right over the sketch lines, stick it in a folder with the linework file, and send that over to Tiina for the final color pass.
I use a Cintiq (which I love) to draw, but I used to use a Bamboo Fun tablet in school. I do almost nothing traditionally because I’ve gotten really used to digital tools and it speeds up the process enormously. I’m really, really bad at doing anything more than a napkin drawing on paper.
Q: Are you planning on printing/running a Kickstarter for TGS?
Yes! As soon as I have a couple chapters under my belt, I will be launching a second Kickstarter. It will probably be quite similar to my Bleeding Heart Kickstarter, save that this one will be in color and probably feature neat things like hardcover binding and those little ribbons they put in extra fancy books to keep your place.
Q: Can you make a tutorial on how to draw a comic?
I can make a tutorial about how I draw my comic! After I finalize the script for a new chapter (based on the outline for the entire TGS story arc), I start thumbnailing out my layout drawings for each page.
I like to have all my thumbnails ready for the entire chapter before I start seriously drawing! These thumbnails are extremely quick and loose, focusing on staging, pacing, and visual storytelling. They are also basically incomprehensible to anyone but me.
Can you tell what’s going on? No? That’s fine! No one else sees this stage. I just need to be able to decipher the basic visual information in the panel–Hyde in the foreground, the Society in the background covered in smoke. (Uh, those are the squigglies on the right side of image.)
2. (Tight) Rough Drawing
Here’s where I make my scribble into a real drawing. It usually takes me at least two or three “passes” of a drawing to get it to this stage, gradually figuring out the poses and detail with each pass. I don’t usually indicate shading at this point, but in this image I’ve shown where fire damage will go on the final image.
From here I trace over the my rough image to produce the final lines. This is a pretty mindless, if time-consuming phase–although I do have to be thoughtful about line width. I tend to ink when I’m tired after work and can just put on a podcast or audiobook to listen to! This is also the time that I add in the panel borders (using Manga Studio) and text/speech (using Photoshop).
4) Color script
This is a two-part phase! First, I block off any recurring characters in grey and indicate character shadows (on a separate layer set to “Multiply”). Then I roughly paint in the background colors and effects (including the white streak over Hyde’s hair–that’s caused by a sheet of glass in the foreground).
5) Tiina cleans up the colors the colors!
At this stage I hand off the page to Tiina, my colorist! She cleans up the background colors and drops in the base colors for each character (based on a color script I provide whenever a new character appears). Then she hands it back to me for . . .
6) Touch-up and Lighting Effects
For the characters, I adjust the colors of the shadow layer and add extra lighting layers (color washes and gradients set to “Hard Light” or “Overlay”). In this shot, I also tinted Hyde’s colors and faded his opacity at the edges to help him read as a “ghost image” reflected on glass. Finally, I tweak the background colors and add in any extra detail work. That’s all!
Q: Would you ever consider making The Glass Scientists into an animated series?
If I ever met an animation executive willing to greenlight TGS as a series, I would love to make it! But the animation industry here in America would have to change a whole lot before that could happen, so I’m not holding my breath on that one. Plus, I don’t relish having to answer the question, “So, what are the demographics for a show like this?” Haha. Oh God. Even thinking about that question is making me nervous.
Q: Why are you writing Jekyll and Hyde fanfiction? Can’t you just write a new story with all-new characters?
The Glass Scientists is fanfiction– in a very, very loose definition of the word. So is Wicked, Sweeney Todd, Romeo and Juliet, Dante’s Inferno, and (depending on how your read them) a good percentage of stories in the Bible. Stories are adapted and reinterpreted all the time– that’s just what happens when people tell stories. The stories of Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Frankenstein have been adapted so many times in particular (possibly the most of any story in Hollywood history) because they can be reduced down to a few simple, potent concepts and evocative visuals. Dr. Jekyll’s story in turn draws on any number of ancient myths and folklore on dopplegangers and duality. Plus, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is in the public domain, so. You know.
Seriously, though, TGS isn’t much of an adaptation, and if you’re hoping for a real adaptation of Strange Case, you may be disappointed. While some of my characters share the same names as characters from other books, they have been written through my own weird interpretation and follow plotlines that really don’t resemble their original stories at all. (Granted, almost no adaptation of Strange Case has ever followed the plot of the original novella, with its non-linear time and understated action. Most adaptations follow a theatrical adaptation released shortly after the book’s publication that established many traditions of the Jekyll and Hyde genre, such as- uh. sorry. Nerding out a bit.)
Q: Where did you get your books printed?
I got my art books printed at Burbank Printing in Burbank and Bleeding Heart printed at Nonstop Printing in Hollywood. Both are local LA printers, so if you’re not in the area, you may have to look elsewhere. Sorry!!
Q: What did you use to make this website?
This website uses WordPress and the theme Comicpress. All the customization was done by tweaking individual lines of CSS and looking to see what was different. I learned to build websites in the early 2000s, when everything was made of tables with lots of bevelled edges and there wasn’t any mobile thing to be ready for. I can explain things to you if you need help but I will probably explain it all wrong.
Q: Did you mean to name this comic with the same initials as the show on 30 Rock?
Nope, but it’s kind of an awesome accident, right?