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The Making of: MONO, Ep. 1

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Meet the characters, and peer into the making of the world of MONO: the gentlemanly ape-man, spy, adventurer and main character of the eponymous Madefire Motion Book, created by Madefire co-founder Ben Wolstenholme. Find out how Ben brought MONO to life—in his own words. And stay tuned for MONO, Episode 2—coming this fall!

 

Page 3 ink. The character of Heston was inspired by a mentor of mine – George Englund – he is a dapper man, fighting fit into his eighties with one of the densest life stories. The start of MONO is quiet reflective – and it’s a chance to introduce the history of Heston by his walking past many of his achievements. Detail in the rooms is key exposition.

 

Page 5 sketch. This page runs ahead and shows many of the villains and arch rivals that MONO and Heston have faced. It’s a vision, so Heston is underlit – and MONO looms, the most intimidating figure of all. This is a snapshot I took part way through the pencil sketch. I was considering rendering it in vertical ink lines, hence the rubber marks.

 

Panorama ink. This panorama was a bit of a beast. I decided to think of it like a 5-page fold-out and really give it some detail. It is viewable zoomed in close, to allow for a lot of exploration as a reader. I decided to draw it out in greyscale so that more depth is created as the scene drops away into the distance – this enhances the feeling of dimension when added into the Madefire Motion Book Tool.

 

Building detail from panorama. This panorama art was done during early development of the tool, so I planned to allow for layers. The panorama got more insane as I went forward – this house and tank are all but obscured in the final image

 

Panorama final colored artwork. I was sick of the sight of the panorama as I finished the greyscale! Fin Cramb was busy coloring the other MONO pages and Liam Sharp offered to color this panoramic – I was thrilled to hand it onto him! And he did a stunning job – in a nauseatingly short time. It was a magic evening, seeing it really come to life over Liam’s shoulder. We went for a beer afterward :)

 

Page 9 ink. This is the first panel where we see MONO in action . He needed to be totally outnumbered, his back literally to the wall. So this scene demanded a line up of German soldiers in a few layers , all set against a bombed out Caen, and like a full stop at the end – a Panzer tank.

 

Page 9 detail. This is the pencil stage. By this point in MONO Ep. 1 I had swapped from a graphite pencil and dip pen (pages 1-5) to a Cintiq tablet. This image is a digital pencil in Painter, prior to digital inking with a Sumi-e brush, which I matched to the dip pen characteristics. Much more efficient workflow for layered files!

 

Page 9 alternate sequence. I have planned all my pages to be printable at a later stage, once the story has rolled out digitally. However, as we built the flow in the tool, we realised we could build more anticipation if we staggered the sequence across two screens. This allowed for more space in the sequence and a moment for MONO to pause before the ‘violent’ storm…. :) the process has been fascinating for me as, a first-timer on about every single front! Huge thanks to Liam for a killer script and for guiding me along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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