After recently reading all 40 years of the French SF graphic novel "Valerian and Lareline" by writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières and the 6 volumes of the amazing "Orbital" by writer Sylvain Runberg and artist Serge Pellé, I wanted to try something along those lines.
They mix world building, amazing SF tech and their world view, into something truely amazing.
It is inspired by Japanese Manga and the French Album approaches, rather than Marvel or DC Comics. "A Contract with God" has also been a layout influence. We have so far managed to get a page a week done on it.
I'm sure "Orbital" would have taken a month per page with his elaborate oil pastel artwork, so I cannot say I'm trying to be the equal of those works yet.
I have a mix of styles in it so far and it really would take sometime of doing it for that to settle down to a "Terraform style". It has my industrial Design mecha design Dry Marker style, along with Manga-ish characters and then some more realistic stuff. I am more interested in actually finishing it than worrying about a mish mash of styles though. A learning exercise for me, and something I'm not getting paid to do.
I am working with A4 paper, as that is what our scanner works with, and generally make a panel as big as will fit on such a single sheet. I use 0.5mm uni BLUE Nano Dia color leads in a mechanical pencil. That is then directly cleaned up and inked in Faber-Castell PITT artist pens black. Mostly SX, F, S and B sizes.
That is then scanned into Photoshop, just the blue channel selected, levels adjusted and this becomes the multiply lines layer. That has made the blue disappear leavening just the black lines. Colour is put on lower layers, using selections taken from the line layer. A Wacom ArtPad makes that useable. Generally cutting back the colour saturation, so it doesn't look like an American comic. As it is in Photoshop we can still edit the line work, and do things like add hard black shadows.
The panels are then brought into CorelDraw where we add the text, balloons and other drawing type things. We use the BLAMBOT font "Heavy Mettle".
The style is different, and the design of characters are very different from the "Heavy Metal Garage" webcomic I did a few years ago. Intentionally so.
I spend some of the week after work making notes and scribbles about what panels should be on the next page. I know where it is going, it is a question of how fleshed out to make the story, and I could finish it faster by putting in more text than panels. I then spend a half day on the weekend to get that done.
How long is it?
16 pages at the moment. Imposition for printing on paper means it has to be multiples of 4 pages with my target of printing at A5 size. It is standalone, with the option to come back for different aspects of the story later.