Now I needed to know who committed the crime and why? No amount of research was going to reveal this. I just needed to start putting words on paper and see what turned up. I also had enough information that I started to inform my artist/partner what I had been up to and gauge his level of interest. So, I wrote a short single page script that contained a narrative and just a few comic book panels. Just to whet his whistle.
Fortunately, he was interested. Now I had pressure to advance the characters, strengthen the narrative, provide a stronger structure and make crucial decisions about the plot.
Now that my artist was on board, I had to put my Production Designer hat on. Writing a comic book isn’t just writing what is on the pages. I consider myself a storyteller first. This includes writing, research, production design, costumes, set and location design, character development, acting all the parts, producing, etc.
I now had a basic story plot and a handful of characters. One of the jobs of the Production Designer is to provide Reference. This includes, pictures and descriptions of people and places. I scoured the internet again and collected a number of photographic references. I sent all of it to Keith.
This was a year ago.
Here are some comments from Keith regarding reference material.
This post deals with production. It’s insight into how he starts visualizing the process once the story is being written. This involves reference, which I will eventually receive and use towards my own production of the characters and the setting. It’s really helpful to know what the writer is thinking and for them to do some of the research for you. I also do my own, because it helps me get into the story on a much more granular level.
I want to note that we use reference to help with detail and accuracy, but the story comes first, so when we use reference we are not beholden to the photos, but use them to benefit the storytelling. It’s important for me try to draw from my imagination and skill as much as possible and then go into the reference to help fill in the gaps. Initially I want my own design abilities and the stage direction from the story to tell me what things look like, not the photo reference. For me I want the final image to bare very little resemblance to the photo used. This is my own way of using reference as every artist has their own way of doing it. – Keith