Night at the Western: March 2010 Winner at Zuda Comics!

Welcome from the NIGHT AT THE WESTERN team. We are honored to be the winners of the March 2010 competition at Zuda Comics, and look forward to bringing you a year of comic noir at Zuda. On this page you'll find lots of extras and behind-the-scenes looks at Night at the Western. Enjoy, and check back often for updates!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Screen 1: From Script to Screen

I couldn't possibly find a better artist than Cesar for bringing my words to life. Cesar's not only a talented artist with a style that suits my vision perfectly; he's an attentive reader of the script, and brings every detail to life. I try to build room for the artist to innovate into the script: I want to be exact about how I see things, but not tell them everything. Cesar uses this room perfectly, "getting" where I want to go with a panel, but innovating as well.

Script to Thumbnail:

Here's the script for Screen 1 again. Let's watch Cesar take these words from thumbnail sketch to pencils to inks.

Night at the Western
For zudacomics
Words: Ray Nayler
Images: César Sebastian Diaz

Lettering: Fonografiks

All gutters and trim full black where panels are not full bleed. Colors are muted, dark, a focus on reds, browns, oranges and the occasional blue.

Screen  1: Night. Splash full-bleed full-color of the Western Motel sign: a neon sign shaped like a cartoony cactus with half of its letters burnt out announcing the W STE N   OTEL and  ACANCY in cursive below.  Post-card-like insets in sepia-tone show different views of the Motel  in better days.
Post card 1: an L-shape of rooms with and office at the left, long end of the L and a detached café. Sleek 40’s cars lined up in front of the rooms.
Post card 2: A pump-jockey in a paper cap filling the tank on a bulletnose Ford with a big grin on his face.
Post card 3: A man in a car coat leaning against the café counter, dinking a coffee and laughing while the waitress leans across, taking his order. Behind them, “Western Motel Café” is painted across the window in 50’s script (backwards from this angle).
Caption: It was the Coke machine that made us stop, and a lonely set of gas pumps on an island between the office and the coffee shop.
Caption: The Bronco’s gas gauge was below the red line and the little yellow E on the dashboard said it was stop now where we could maybe get the tank filled and a cup of coffee . . .
Caption: or stop later on the side of some lonely country road.

Here's Cesar's thumbnail sketch of what I'm going for:

 Thumbnail to Pencil:

Which he uses to develop this amazing penciled screen:

 I didn't see the thumbnail until we decided to put this page together for you -- Cesar would just send me the finished pencil so that I could proof it before he inked it. Since he nails the mood I'm going for here, and the details (with a few minor differences I would not quibble over -- see if you can catch them), I gave him the thumbs-up, and he went ahead and inked screen 1, the results of which you can see after the jump:
Pencil to Ink:

Cesar's inks are so immaculate that part of me wanted to stop right here, make this a black-and-white comic, and forget about color. But then he sent me a color sample . . . 

And I was completely sold . . .

In the next post: 

Lettering, and rounding out the Night at the Western team . . .

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