Creating a noir comic book – part 6

Parts I, II, III, IV and V.

In the last post I talked about how to find an artist, and picking the right one. No matter how many precautions and good karma you put on the table, you’ll never know if you mesh as a team before you’re deep in the project.

So, luckily, it quickly turned out that not only was Emerson Dimaya quick, responsible and easy to communicate with. He also took what I had written and ran with it. Fusing it with details and decisions only a talented artist can.

We started pretty much that same week with character sketches and some concept work. Emerson hadn’t been in London, or South London where much of the story takes place. But I supplied him with a lot of reference photos he could pick and choose from.

Here are some of the concept sketches he did.

Alleyway BlockeyStreet

And some character sketches from loose descriptions by me.

Abdi Jawari Ruel Marudo Troy Scott

And then some study sketches of our leading lady, our vigilante character.

Olivia Jensen

Initial sketch

After the initial sketch, I suggested we’d make her blonde instead, and Emerson came up with one distinct aspect of her that makes her stand out. The glasses.

Olivia Jensenv2

Version 2

Emerson added the orange glasses, and I knew right away this was a hit. The only comment I had now was her skin tone. Which I wanted to be really white, British, so a few of the planned themes I had in mind would work well in the story.

Olivia Jensenv3

Final version

Olivia. From dark-skinned brunette, who was too much alike Lara Croft, to a female character that stands out in a crowd. We had found our lady.

Then, we needed her vigilante get-up. We talked a bit about the practicality of it. It had to be practical, but it couldn’t be all military black. I also knew how I wanted her face make-up to look. Here’s what we came up with.

Spiral02

Emerson continued the orange details, and we now had our main colour for the book. Slightly military in appearance, but also theatrical and wild-looking. This was Emerson’s first sketch with her get-up on. And it was a perfect match. I did ask for a couple of tweaks to the face make-up, but we fell back to this original sketch pretty quickly.

Spiral01

With night vision goggles and fighting staff.

Now, only a week and a half after we agreed to work together, we had the look we wanted, and all our (13) characters sketched out. Next up was to go into the script and make some brilliant pages.

Next round we’ll take a look at a couple of pages, from script to finished artwork. And further confirm that Emerson Dimaya was the perfect match, not just for the project, but for me as a writer, as well.

Until then, be vigilante!

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