Getting ready for MECAF – my first minicomic!

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I’m going to my first MeCAF this weekend, and though I’m not exhibiting at a table (still too much of a newbie for that I think), I don’t want to show up empty-handed. I was told that MeCAF was a great place to meet other newcomers in the scene, so the gears started turning on what I could to do basically introduce myself to other folks, especially since I’m a total unknown!
I posted this question on Twitter and someone had a great suggestion that, instead of business cards (ick, so formal!), that I should hand out a mini-comic instead. OF COURSE! Kind of ashamed I didn’t think of it. Comic convention! Minicomic!

I’d never attempted a minicomic before so everything was knew – from formatting to story pacing, this was a lot of new territory. The gallery above shows some process pictures I was posting on my Instagram account.

Here’s a bit more about what I learned during the beginning stages.

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What I did: I knew I wanted to make an 8 page minicomic printed in full on 8.5 by 11 paper (so each page would be a quarter of that). I had some template paper but it was Legal sized and not Letter, so I had to do a bit of ~**~*~ MATH MAGIC ~*~*~* to get the proportions right. Man, that took quite a while. But once it was done, I started pencils in photo blue.
What I’d do differently next time: The template was fine, but I created all the pages in the exact order needed to print and fold the paper into a minicomic, and not in the final reading order. This would make a lot of sense if I was just copying the template and printing directly, but I ended up doing a lot of digital post-processing and layout work. Putting the pages in the final reading layout would likely have helped panel and page flow a bit more (though, in the end, this is just a minicomic and it’s not going to shake the world).

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What I did: Inking directly over the photoblues on bristol.
What I’d do differently next time: I’d like to try to ink digitally to keep things a little neater, though right now I am still faster inking by hand than digitally.

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What I did: I scanned the inked pages into Photoshop, cleaned it up and added tones. Final step was lettering.
What I’d do differently next time: I need to get a lot better at understanding how exactly to use tones. I basically winged it, but some of them are very dark and others super light… for no real deliberate reason.

When it came to lettering, I did actually plan out where I’d place my lettering and I think that aided my compositions a lot. But it wasn’t perfect. I was also not really sure what font sizes to use that would still be legible shrunk down proportionally for the final deal. Thankfully my day job involves a lot of print work and I was able to make an educated guess past on past experience, but I’m still not a fan of the font I ended up using. The quest for a better, more legible font continues.

I also feel that I got lucky in terms of the amount of text I put into dialog and narration boxes. It seems like an art and science determining how much text is right when you’re in the scripting phrase. Of course, once it’s time to put that text in the boxes… more editing. That’s just part of the fun I guess ๐Ÿ™‚

Printing the comics was interesting – lots of printing and reprinting until I figured out art bleed allowance. Hopefully this is one of those “learn it once and apply to all future projects” things…

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