Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Comic Creation with CTON

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Comic Creation with CTON

Here's a little ditty showing my ritual for creating a comic for Owl Magazine, a great Canadian children's magazine. I do a regular column called 'CTON's Corner' whith this little orange dude and a green blob, named 'Blob'. Its a ton of fun, and allows me a lot of freedom to create. (This comic first appeared in Craig Battle's blog - he is the editor of Owl Magazine).

One of the biggest questions I get asked by people is 'how do you think of a comic'? Well thats a good question.

Since most of my comics are straight to the point and fairly simple, I try to come up with a main concept and then work out a punchline for the ending. Sitting somewhere in my house, I do a really rough sketch in my notebook and see if it works. If not, then I sit longer, or go stare out the window. Eventually ideas come to me after hours of procrastinating.

Once a good idea is worked out, I take it to the drawing board where I create a 'better' pencil rough. Most of the time I use blue pencil to get the size, story, and frames right. I also make the drawings more elaborate than my cruddy thumbnails. This is where I struggle to draw things like bicycles and other things I never learned to draw properly. I tend to work out the wording and story more at this stage as well.

Once all is nicely laid out (in a really messy manner), I draw over top with a pencil so it's scan-able & tighter. Most comic artists do this and their line drawing over-top usually looks AWESOME. Mine doesn't. The pencil is usually more simple than the blue line, but is still quick. My work has always taken a more graphic approach so I'm always looking for ways to make my drawings more stream-lined. Sometimes though, I do take the more detailed route where I in turn get really carried away and draw WAY too much. Its fun though so who cares. Drawing is all about the fun, right?

Once the roughs are done, I scan them in and send them off to the editor(s). After many revisions (or none!), I print out the final edited rough and place some bond paper over top for the inking process. I used to ink with a brush, but switched to a brush pen (cheater!) as it was quicker and less messy. Plus I like how it looks. That and the brush method was inducing carpel-tunnel syndrome in my wrist.

After 'inking' my work, I scan once more and colour it all in photoshop using a Wacom Tablet. Finding out about this tool was a complete life-saver (Thanks to Jillian Tamaki who enlightened me on that one!). This also makes it very easy to change colours, shrink/enlarge to the page size, print copies, etc.. All that great digital stuff.

Anyways, thats my process. More skill-based than all fancy and creative. Kind of like assembling a toilet but with the bull-crap already included. ha.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Clayton Hanmer

Clayton Hanmer (aka CTON) is a Toronto-based illustrator, author and graphic artist. He is the creator of CTON's Corner, a popular feature in OWL Magazine, as well as the author/illustrator of CTON's Super A-Maze-ing Year of Crazy Comics.

Go to Clayton Hanmer’s Author Page