The journey of a Lou Scannon comic from brain cells to the printed page is a long and tortutous one. Behold this somewhat interesting process!
With the exception of Issue #1 (which was concieved and written on a long-haul flight from Australia to the UK in 2010), every Lou Scannon comic starts with a story meeting between Messrs. Carter, Bampfield and Harris. This meeting takes place in a local pub, for obvious reasons. After an influx of soft drinks/alcohols and pub food, the chaps will thrash out story ideas, gag suggestions, and general ideas how we can play about with (or feed into) the established story arcs. These ideas get scrawled down in a very loose fashion, along with any quick design ideas, sequence sketches and any other assorted stuff that may be useful.
Kris (or sometimes Jim) then takes these barely legible notes and maps out the story, breaking it down into 22 pages. The pacing of the comic is laid down and sorted out here for the most part. With the story, plot and actions now planned, Kris then hammers out a first draft script with dialogue and everything. Dan and Jim then look over the first draft, and amend dialogue, re-work sections that they feel don't work, or address any plot issues. Dan also keeps the script in-line with his overall story for the entire series.
Once the script has been redrafted to a point where we're all happy with it, each page is then thumbnailed by Kris, and Dan can then start the process of pencilling the pages based off this 'roadmap'. In Dan's own words...
"When I receive the thumbails and script from Kris, I give the script a read through then pretty much ignore it and spend some time studying the thumbnails. I look at how Kris roughly plots out a scene and then I make the changes that I think might work better. Normally there isn't anything much needed but I may occasionally add a panel or restructure a page to convey the story more. I do this with my own thumbnails and then match that back up to the script to double check it all works.
Then I start on my rough pencils. I use "Deleter" comic book paper (Type A, size B4) at the moment. I prefer this to the paper of some other providers (such as "Blue Line Pro") as it doesnt have a glossy, oil-like texture to the area you're drawing on (which I sometimes find ruins the pencils). Sometimes I will do the rough lining with a coloured pencil and then later go over it to put in more details with something like a 2B pencil. At the moment though I'm roughing it out with a 3H or 4H pencil and then jazzing that up with a 2B. Once this is done, since Kris mucks about with the levels in Photoshop, I don't have to worry about any inking.
Which is good because I SUCK at inking.
Then due to the size of the paper, I have to scan each page a half at a time as it won't all fit on my A4 scanner. I put the two pieces together on Photoshop and email it off to Kris and Jim to have a gander at. That's a shortened version of what I do but I think a longer version would bore you to tears even more than this shortened version has. PEACE!"
Cheers Mr H. As scans of Dan's pencils start filtering in, they're passed across to Kris, who cleans up some of the messier lines, then levels up the pencils in Photoshop. Grayscale shading is then worked over the page, using Adobe Photoshop. At time of writing, colour is too expensive to print cost-effectively, which is why the comics are black and white. They are coloured natively in grayscale as well - as this is essentially unpaid work, these pages need to be cranked out as quickly as possible so as not to intefere with Kris' freelance gigs, and working straight to black and white is much quicker. At least, that's Kris' story and he's sticking to it. The final shaded pages are then saved as hi res grayscale TIFFs, and moved into Illustrator once more for the lettering, word balloons and sound effects. Once lettered, the finalised page is saved once more as a high res grayscale TIFF.
Once all the pages are completed, they're imported into Adobe InDesign and the issue is paginated and starts to take shape. The cover (completed months earlier for promotional reasons) is added, and extra content for the issue decided upon and produced. Jim's back-up strips and other extra content is also supplied at this point, and the letters page finalised. The whole shebang is then pulled together into a high res CMYK print-ready PDF (with crop marks and everything, cos we are SO pro!), and passed to UKomics to lay down some industrial printing on our behalf. A proof copy is produced, checked over, and any last minute changes are made. Then finally, it is done... and the process starts all over again. Usually in a pub.