Hello dear readers!

First of all let me say I’m sorry that I did not have the time to write a blog update last week Thursday as Sarah did on the German page. I don’t like to do this but it could not be avoided this time. Therefore you get a translation of last week’s blogpost today and I will try to make it up to you faithful readers out there!

So here we go with the second part of an insight into Sarah’s current other project, Astrum Noctis (aka the reason the ponyfarm only gets a new comic on Monday’s at the moment).

This time it’s all about layout. Let me explain to you what Sarah does with the script, let’s call it the visual translation, by looking at one panel as an example.

1. Read panel description and analyze. 

Lisa closes the door to her room. There are posters of old films on the wall. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Rear Window starring Grace Kelly. There is a computer on her desk. On the keyboard there is a small package and a rose on top of it. 

What is important in this panel?

1. The surroundings in this panel, Lisas room, should say something about who she is. In the completed script it’s made clear that she loves elegance and beauty. She is quite full of herself and acts smug towards Florence and dreams of being called to a higher cause. This will be important  later on in the story.

2. The package. Who sent it, what does it contain? Tantalizing! The reader’s viewing direction should be pointed towards the package.

2. Research

The story takes place in an elite boarding school, so typical boarding school room pictures are needed. In this case the author had sent numerous photographs as reference. Naturally she can combine elements she likes.

3. Compositional sketch

Impressive, isn’t it? ;)

With this thumbnail sketch, about 2 1/2 inches wide, Sarah wants to nail down the compositional arrangement. The reader should get a grasp where he is and what Lisa is up to. For this purpose a lot of the room is shown. Nevertheless the focus lies on the package. Therefore Lisa is looking towards the desk, the rooms diagonals lead towards it and the box is situated in the foreground. This way the readers attention is on the box with the rose.

4. Perspective

Since this project has a more realistic style, Sarah has to construe the background with a realistic perspective. She takes a lot of advice from books such as Manga aus der richtigen Perspektive. It contains quite a few pro tips as well as basics. Also suitable for non-manga-ka.

Back to the picture. Horizon-line on the rose. Let me take a short-cut here and just say that Sarah got tired of drawing help-lines onto her page, so she positioned in some help-lines and vanishing points with Photoshop tools.

Veeerrry helpful indeed.

This helps to construe the diagonals. Don’t forget a few organic elements, to make the picture more lively. On to pencilling the page…

5. Final artwork

Whoops, the pencilled page is gone, because she inked it already. This is the final version. A few changes were done. Lisa is a Twilight-Fan now, which matches with her dreams of being special and her fondness for grace (blecch). Also it’s more timely than the vintage film posters. Elements in the foreground are inked with thicker lines than things that are farther away. Line variation is important because it adds to the sense of perspective. By now I guess you want to know what is inside the box, don’t you? DON’T YOU?

Whew, I hope I could explain a little bit of the process that goes into planning a panel. If you have any questions, just shoot and we’ll try to answer them. :) I will also try to give you more insight into the production of this comic project later this week.

And of course there will be a new ponyfarm strip coming up on Monday!

Until then, enjoy and so long!