The Script

When we (Roonas and I, that is) make Sacred Pie, everything starts with the story. We've got loose notes and plans for things to happen in the next five or ten years, but current chapters (and often the following 1-2 chapters) are more specifically written in what I like to call the "script." In this stage, I work out the order of events, jot down important pieces of dialogue and sometimes add sketches of things I'd like to see happen. One page of script may cover 3-10 comic pages. After a script is written for a chapter (or two), Roonas reads over the pages and checks for mistakes, breaks in flow, etc. (If you're interested in making you own comic, ALWAYS have someone check over your stuff. Things might make sense to you, but you're the creator. Make sure everyone else gets it too.)

The Storyboard

Once the script is ironed out and double checked, I begin to draw the storyboards. The storyboard is a loose draft of the comic pages themselves. They include panel compositions, dialogue, and help me to work out the specifics of the story. I'll typically do 20-30 storyboard pages at a time to assure that there's plenty of time to make changes before the "real" updated pages are due (For example, while I'm drawing/inking/publishing page #3 of a chapter, pages 4-40 or so will already be storyboarded.) Again, once the storyboards are done, Roonas takes a look through the future pages to check for consistency, flow, errors, awkward dialogue, etc. At this point, a page would be ready for its final incarnation (though changes are still possible- even probable.)


Because Sacred Pie is an online comic, I get to take some shortcuts and skip some processes that a print comic author wouldn't be able to. Sacred Pie is entirely drawn and inked on 8 1/2"X11 photocopy/printer paper. Most "true" comic creators cringe when they hear that's how I do it, but publishing digitally allows for the lack of size/resolution (more about that later). Essentially, what happen at this stage is drawing the page that had been storyboarded with a pencil (mechanical, in this case). This is usually where the final decisions about the look of the page are made.


Once the pencils are complete, I move directly to the inking stage. Again, unlike other comic artists, I ink directly on top of my pencils (and erase the pencil lines later.) Traditionally, inking was/is done with the use of a light table/board. Due to my full-time job (as an art teacher) and a "life", Sacred Pie is kind of squeezed into the cracks of free time here and there. Drawing on photocopy paper and inking directly on the penilled pages allow me to do Sacred Pie anywhere (much to the chagrin of my family and friends). Nonetheless- inking is the stage where I can add some line weight (thickness of the lines) to help the illusion of space (thicker lines up close, thinner lines far away) and add some shadows or hint at light sources.

Prepping the Artwork

After the inks are finished, the page is prepared to be colored. Stray pencil marks are erased, and the page is scanned into Adobe Photoshop. (Photoshop, by the way, is an expensive product and many other programs can get the job done- choose according to your level of interest/ skill with image manipulating software.) After scanning, the brightness and contrast of the page are tweeked to get nice, crisp blacks and whites.


Okay, so Sacred Pie is not really in color. But, it IS (since halfway through Book 2) given some life with a greyscale pallette. In Photoshop, I duplicate the page into a seperate layer and set the top layer's mode to "Multiply". (This allows me to color "under" the lines). I tend to skip around the page while coloring to assure that the whole page is balanced well (as far as light/dark values are concerned).I also spread the panels out to allow for text as well as movement of the viewer's eye between panels. Since Sacred Pie doesn't have to fit on a piece of paper, the pages can be as tall or wide as I need them to be.

Text and Publishing

Once the page is done being "colored", I use the rectangle-selection tool, the text tool, and the Edit>Stroke functions to create voice bubbles with the appropriate text. Oftentimes, this is the stage that determines the final dialogue (sometimes based on space within the finished page). The page is then split up and saved as two or three seperate chunks (to help our readers with slower online connections- most full Sacred Pie pages are under 150k and the "chunks may be as small as 30k!)

Finally, the pages are uploaded to our server (I use Cute FTP) and the html is hand typed to edit the new and existing pages. And that's it! A standard weekly update (2-3 pages) can take up to 15-20 hours to crank out (between scripting, storyboards, pencilling, inking, coloring, and uploading.)

copyright 2000. philbob