I got some new sample scripts in from Marvel. I'm super excited as you can guess. I love reading new scripts!! It's always a nice surprise to see what I get to draw. The San Francisco MOMA? Sure. A '69 Dodge Charger? Heck yeah!! Two space cruisers entangled in a laser gunfight with fire breathing dragons. Yes, please!!!
One of the new scripts is a Daredevil script that takes place in The Cloisters, a group of buildings made to look like Medieval Abbeys in NYC. There is a mob wedding taking place when The Spot, who can open portals in space/time, decides he wants to snatch up the mob's lil girl. The entire time Daredevil is flipping and swinging about over and around the mobsters. Holy Moly!! That sounds like some craziness to draw!!
First thing I do when I get a script is to copy the entire thing into a word document. I then go through and delete all the extra type like "cont. on next page" or "more" or other lil bits that aren't necessary for the art. I then go through and bold face the page indicators, "Page One," "Page Two" ect. and increase the size of the panel indicators to make it easier to see as I flip through the pages. All of this makes it super easy to find a certain part of the story. It keeps you from wasting time searching through the script when you just need to know what happened on a previous page to tie a series of panels together. I then shrink the font down a bit so it takes up less paper. Save a tree!!
Then I print it out and read through it again. I don't even know how many times I read a script. I reread it continually, trying to get a feel for the characters and the various emotions they exhibit so I can capture an overall feel for each person. I also try to pick up lil details left by the writer such as a pin on their collar or the way their hair moves or whether they are left or right handed. Anything that adds to the character, bringing them to life. A lot of times I will make a list of each character and every detail given to me by the writer so I can glance at it any time I need to draw that character.
After I print it out and go over the script again I go through and list how many panels are on each page next to the page indicators. This helps give me an overall feel for how it all fits together. 5 panels on this page. 6 panels on this page. Splash page. This helps give me a feel for the pace of the story.
I then go through and circle the most important panel on each page. Usually the writer will tell you which panel is focus of the page. The most important panel of each page should be drawn just a bit bigger than the rest to help pull attention to it, make it pop out and lead the viewers eyes.
After I have the script all marked up I make a list of everything I need to gather reference material for. In this case I need to look up The Cloisters, wedding gowns, tuxedos, 5 year old girls, even the lil pillows used to carry the ring. Every detail I can think of. It all adds to the reality of the scene. Like Toth said, "Don't fake it!" Once you draw these things for years and years you can pull off "faking it," but when you are starting out or drawing things for the first time you should definitely get your references. I am also going to watch a bunch of gymnastic videos, taking some screen captures, so I can draw a believable Daredevil flipping and jumping about. Ideally, at some point, I would like to have models willing to pose for me. Muscle types, gymnasts, kids, older people, heavy set, thin, the entire gambit of humanity. I would also like to have an entire prop closet with fashion and guns and swords and all that fun stuff. Some day.
After all this it is time to do thumbnails, working on the individual layouts of each page, each panel. This is the most difficult part for me, I tend to be really picky, but once it is done the real fun starts, the actual drawing. And for the record, in case you haven't been able to tell, I freakin' LOVE drawing comics.