The Making of: The Engine, Ep. 3
In Episode 3 of The Engine, by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton, we get better acquainted with the character Gavrill Marin–best-selling author, celebrity, all-around cad, deadbeat, and now: inmate facing death at the wrong end of a gun barrel.
Before you venture back into the depths of our caved-in Siberian mine, get into the head of artist Jimmy Broxton, and read about the making of The Engine, Episode 3–coming soon!
Each episode starts with a script, which I always print out (I stare at a screen to much as is). I’ll often start the storytelling process by scribbling little thumbnail layouts directly onto the script. The beauty of the Madefire platform is that I’m free to consider the story in an unconstrained way. As long as I stick to the linear narrative, I don’t have to worry about panels on a page, the size limitations of print do not apply. I can add extra panels, make some bigger than others, have animations, or not.
In fact, anything that helps to tell the story in as interesting a way as possible. The layouts here show how each sequence can fire off from one central/key image–even notions of left to right can be done away with if desired. All this is very liberating and feels very organic, despite it being the technical wizardry of the Madefire tool that makes it possible. The most important thing is the story being told, not the fancy effects that can help tell the story: the latter must always serve the former.
Once I’m prepared to go the next stage, I’ll rough out each frame loosely in pencil. You’ll notice no panel borders, and lots of extra art is created to allow for movement and animations. Often a frame will be multi-layered, with foreground objects as discreet layers that can be moved independently from backgrounds.
Inks are applied over printed scans of the pencil art. Much of the drawing is done at the ink stage to keep it looking spontaneous, and not “traced.” Inking is not tracing: don’t believe what you hear in the movies. I ink nearly all of my art with a large brush (actually intended for Japanese calligraphy).
This seemingly abstract arrangement of swirls was actually used to create the sumptuous satin sheets that we find Gavrill Marin sleeping in at the start of the story. I started with an ink wash, then simply added Photoshop.
This episode’s cover has a distinct cinematic feel. To create the real world authenticity I was after, I actually sculpted the Engine and took a photograph. Other elements were hand drawn on paper, with final composite created in Adobe CS.
Not exactly Rodin, but hopefully effective. Here he is, on my desk, always watching and making sure I get him right…
Smolin dangles helplessly: this is a finished piece of art from a sequence on page 4.