The Art of Ryan Francis

The art website of Ryan Francis

Let’s Make A Comic Story Part 3: Penciling


Writing these tutorials is a bit of an undertaking but I’m doing my best to be as clear and informative as I can so let me know in the comments if there’s anything you need help with.

After grabbing ups some references, It’s time to get started laying out the comic in the big paper!

I’m using Strathmore Smooth Bristol Board Paper. It’s lined for comic printing. I use these large binder clips to keep my paper on top of the rest of the pad for “cushion.”

At the start I’m marking down the rough areas of composition with non-photo blue pencil. This part is a bit newer addition to my workflow as I’m testing my ability to do this quickly. I’ll admit it’s a bit hard to see in a photo but I’m doctoring the photo in these demonstrations to hopefully be easier to see.

This is where your thumbnail pages come in. I use a t-square to line up the panels, But other than that, I’m not worrying about exact perspective and I’m making sure to go super light so it’s easier to erase and make changes of needed.

I began to do some refining and detailing of Panels 1 and 2. It was me using my GameStop references and thinking of good elements to establish detail and break up the composition. I’m still not used to blue line drawing since its hardness kinda tricks me into pressing my marks harder, but since I’m inking my own work, I don’t need to worry about this too much.

I did few last minute detail changes to page 1. I wanted to break up the pattern of games om the shelf. Its minor, but it makes backgrounds more believable.

On to page 2, again it’s hard to get these photos because the drawings are in non photo blue lead and the picture taken with my phone as I work on them.

I did a few sketches to figure out the poses and sketches to figure out panel 2’s composition.

When I was drawing the couple, I wasn’t thinking too hard about them being an interracial couple. I just wanted to draw a girl with a good butt and a black girl was the first in my mind. I think the boyfriend is white because the fedora guy is white and it was visually easy to transition the monster parallels.

Here, I’m refining the panel more.  I swapped the couple’s places to keep the continuity. I feel like I failed to capture the final expressions as well as my thumbnail.

The last panels of page 2 are really sloppy, especially the fist. I caught a selfie and picture of my own hand to catch the pose of a clenched fist.

I look like a dope, but this is what happens when you make your own references. Never feel bad about using your own body as reference for a pose.

On to page 3. I don’t do much action so this is probably my first time drawing a character punching another. I wanted to make really sure the punch was impactful, from the large punch pose to the fat guy’s crumpling body from the impact.

Hand ref of the gut punch close up.

Next is page four! It’s pretty straight-forward page that went pretty quickly. The first panel is a bit redundant from the last panel of the previous page, but I kept it since I didn’t know what to do with that otherwise.

Panel 4 is another one of those panels where I use diagonal panels to vary up my comic layouts compared to my older comics.

I needed to demonstrate a new sinisterness to Mr. Fats, so I got some ref for the old chin down, eyes up face.

For the fat guy’s face squished by the fist, I got inspiration from the Pokemon Origins mini series. It was the part where Charzard uses Mega Punch on Blastoise. The expression and the folds of fat was exactly what I needed.

Page five: The Reveal of the monster!

I wanted to rework my initial thumbnail to figure out the positions of the monster reveal. I did a few pose sketches of the foreground girl, I wanted to have her run away out of the story since she’s kind of finished with her part in this story. I also had some trouble with a head angle, so I blew time on studies. That’s not a bad thing, but I was expecting to knock out this page faster.

I remembered this silly video about a Milkman superhero. There was this part where he punishes the criminal by spraying milk out of his mouth like a firehouse, drowning him.

I’m practically finished with page 5. I had a bit of sloppiness with the left shelve that I detailed too much before realizing it didn’t go with the warped perspective I was going with and I had trouble erasing the blue lines, so I’ll need to be careful with the inking.

Page Six is the last stretch.

This is a simple transition zoom out from page five. I think it’s a testament to my new skills that I was able to plan my layouts more for this kind of thing. I probably could’ve designed the now fat-ized boyfriend better, but this gets the point across enough.

I’m back to redraw my game store at an alternate angle. It looked roughly the same, but I had to refer to my first page to keep continuity of the mall outside of Gamestop.

I also inverted the couple from the original one from a black girl and a white guy to a white girl with a black guy to continue the simple circular theming to bookend the story.

It was a surprising struggle to make the mouth right for the end. I needed the right amount of subtly and disgusting for the look. I tried finding creepy refs of someone licking their lips.

Compared to Shirley’s Day, my pencils are much sloppier, but I did get them done much faster than the first time I made a comic. Penciling this took me roughly a month to finish. I had around 4 hours a day available to me to work on these with the backgrounds taking the longest out of the time.

I hope this article is a good help to those who want to make their first comic and want to know more about my process.

Onward to inking!

Author: mastafran42

I'm a freelance cartoonist who has been going at it for several years at this point. I mostly draw cartoons, and comics, so if you need something funny, cool, or expertly done art, I have what you need. If you have any questions, job offers, comments, concerns, complains, or simply wish to say hi, message me!

2 thoughts on “Let’s Make A Comic Story Part 3: Penciling

  1. Awesome! Thanks for sharing, saw your comic on Imgur 👍🏼


  2. Thanks! I’m glad you like my comic!


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