The Process Behind "Holiday Wars"
"Holiday Wars" is a team effort. I do the writing and oversee the whole process but at the end of the day it's a collaboration. So I thought now would be a great time to introduce the rest of the team and explain our workflow.
- Penciler - Michael Odom
- Inker - Arturo Said
- Colorist - Giuseppe Pica
The basic workflow is as follows: Writing, Pencils, Inks and then Lettering.
The writing all falls on me since... you guessed it, I'm the writer. I studied film when getting both my bachelors and masters degree so when talking about writing, I most comfortable working in a screenplay format. What does that mean? It means that "Holiday Wars" was first written as a 120 page screenplay. Then it was re-written. Then re-written. Then re-written again and again and again. Then it got showed to editors and re-written some more (the whole process took MONTHS).
Once I had a finished screenplay in hand I started breaking it down into a comic book script. It sounds easy but for me it's something that was really hard. I've done it before and knew what to expect. The issue is that I'm not a "director." I've said before that 75% of the time I don't care about the aesthetics of the panel as long as it doesn't get in the way of the story telling. So having to break down the full screenplay panel by panel was a major pain in the butt.
Comic Book Script Breakdown:
With a finished breakdown completed, Michael Odom (our wonderful penciler) works his magic. When we first started working together he would send me roughs and then I'd give him notes and then he'd go and do the actual pencils. Then sometime in the past year we stopped doing that completely.
He started to really get what I liked and wanted and has since been able to jump right in without having to do roughs. Every now and then I still give him notes on what to change or tweak with the pencils, but for the most part he always nails it. Even then when changes have to be made they are normally are plot related setting up something that needs to happen down the road and have nothing to do with his art.
Then after the pencils are done Arturo handles the inks. Inking and coloring are both normally a smooth process. Both Arturo and Giuseppe have copies of the script breakdown so that way they know what they are inking if it isn't clear from the pencils. I'm not slighting Michael when I say that. An example is that near the midpoint there is a cloud-like object and if you look at the pencils it looks like a cloud. However when Arturo and Giuseppe check the script breakdown they will see it's actually a purple mist and not a regular cloud.
More than anyone, Giuseppe and I have the most back and forth in terms of giving notes and tweaking things. It's not that he does anything wrong it's more that sometimes you can't really describe the coloring in words. So he will send me a flatted page and I'll be like "The clothing and all is fine, but let's give the trees a more spring or summer type look instead of fall."
Once I get the colors, I do the lettering. Generally I do batches of 10 or more pages at once. It's just easier to letter in scenes and sequences then one page at a time. Plus I also do some re-writing when lettering to make sure the dialog fits with the finished artwork. For example look at the finished episode below and compare it with the script breakdown from above. It's minor changes, but they do make a difference.
So there you have it. That's how "Holiday Wars" is made.
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