Building a Comic: Location sketches


This week I am building locations (backgrounds) for my sci-fi/ fantasy comic called Celestial Child. I will be recording the process I go through to create different parts of the comic. In my process there is a difference between ‘location sketches’ and ‘environment design’. ‘Location sketches’ are a rough exploration of how the background will look, while ‘environment design’ is more specific and takes into consideration specific props that are needed for that scene. Above is a sketch of a kitchen in a house where the main character, Celeste, lives with her Grandmother Iris. This is step 3, in my comic drawing process, to catch up on the previous steps start at this blog post .

Before I begin, I would like to say that backgrounds are not my strongest skill just because I have less experience in drawing them; I have always been more interested in drawing people. So for this part I had to check out some tutorials to help me. A good chunk of drawing is thinking about the structure of the object you want to draw, so I wanted to see how other Illustrators structure their backgrounds at the beginning of a drawing. I realized that when I draw a character I almost always start with a character base (check out my class on character design), however for some reason I was not using a base when I was drawing my backgrounds.

Here are the videos I watched to prepare for my location drawing:

The location sketches help me quickly get an idea of what each area in the comic looks like without being too focused on details at this stage. This way I can quickly look at all my backgrounds and see if there is consistency. Just like the character outfit designs, I can see how multiple cities compare with each other in terms of their personality and function of the buildings. At this stage I can also decide what the large pieces of furniture are and the general layout of the background. Because I have done this part early, I can storyboard with ease later; deciding where characters should stand, what is behind them as well as the camera angles I will use.

Next step Props and Tools that are important to the storytelling.

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