[PROCESS] THE JOB
Yesterday, we brought you a brand new comic, THE JOB, with art by Kristian Donaldson. Today we’re back with a look at the behind the scenes process for that story, with our own Mike Huddleston.
But first, a reminder- THE JOB, along with 11 other comics, will be included in our [SYSTEMS] Graphic Novel Sourcebook (along with a wealth of world-building and process material), currently available FREE (shipping not included) to Founding and Annual Subscribers. This offer ends April 12th! You can read more about that here, and reserve your copy by signing up here:
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Now, on to Mike…
Mike Huddleston: One of the things I've enjoyed about working on these 3W3M short stories is that I get to intensely focus on a location and set of characters for a week or so and then "Woosh!", be swept away by another script that needs a whole new set of characters and places to be imagined. It's a lot of work, but fun, and it's really exciting to design so much new stuff.
I'd become so focused though on designing new things, it kind of took me by surprise when we had a second script for any of these locations or characters. And not in a negative way, just "Oh cool!, we get to see our assassins again." or "Awesome! More pirates!"
Now it's probably obvious to everyone other than me that learning more about these people and places is kind of the point to creating a universe, but for me it was an unexpected surprise.
Our most recent story (beautifully illustrated by Kristian Donaldson) is one of these where we catch up with characters we've met previously. The last time we saw our System Administrator she was at a top-secret arctic lab, dispatching a thief from her drone ship, and the Highmaster was a barely seen holographic projection.
The script indicated that we were catching up with our Administrator at night on her ship, and that she needed to be in some sort of sleep clothes. When designing her originally I imagined her as a humorless, tough as nails, young professional, and I didn't want to cut against that by putting her into something frilly or revealing. So I went the opposite direction, putting her into an almost Victorian night dress, puffy sleeves and all.
There was a scene inside the drone ship where a panel was opened to reveal an emergency medical kit. It's a small detail, but I enjoy thinking through little things like this, so I sketched out how that would work.
This is the second hospital room I've designed recently, so the question came up if we could just re-use that previous design. I'm not sure if this makes me good at my job or if I'm taking things too seriously, but my thought was "That previous room was in a rural hospital on a different planet. This needs to be a high tech location appropriate for a high ranking Institute member."
Seeing how passionate I apparently was/ am about hospital design the team said "Ok, sure" and off I went. The only addition I made to the script's description of the hospital room was that the nurse is a robot. I'm hoping we see these droids used again elsewhere.
The major new design in this story was a character described in the script as a thief, and in conversation more specifically as a pickpocket. As this story takes place in a solidly futuristic location I thought it was an opportunity to design a more cyberpunk style character. Her being a pickpocket contributed directly to her clothing design. I felt she could use a super bulky coat to hide stolen materials (as well as weapons), and under that she should be in athletic gear just in case things go bad and she has to ditch the coat and run.
One of the cool things about this story is that it gave me a chance to design another active camouflage suit- similar to the one worn by the thief in the Lab story. It was fun to revisit the basic concept and imagine a different model of the suit. Maybe this one is newer, or the other is more high end... who knows?
And that's it for this story. A smaller batch of designs this time around, but for me a real treat as we're getting to know our characters more. Being on this side of a project sometimes you're a creator making stuff, but other times you're a member of the audience just excited to see what happens next- this story definitely made me want to see what happens next.
Let me know below if you have any questions or comments!
Or maybe just to turn the whole thing on it's head, how about do a process/live with mr. hickman trying to script something out of Mike(s) designs?
Always amazing to see how much work and thought goes into each panel. This is fun! If I could add juts one thing to these[ process] posts would be to display the original script from the writer. This is by far the easiest way to peel back the curtain on how many layers of creativity the artists end up building on top of the original script. Look, just to say I'm not painting mr. Hickman as lazy writer here (ha), this is also fun for dense scripts as well. More times than not, after reading a very detailed description, I'm always surprised to see how much the artists end up translating and imprinting on what was already a very though out idea.