Designing Electrigirl 3!

Here we go again! And I LOVE it! On Tuesday, Cathy Brett and I met up with our fab editors Kathy and Gill and our super designer Holly for…duh, duh, DUUUUUHH: the layout design meeting on ELECTRIGIRL 3!

Because the comic strip sections are such an integral part of the Electrigirl stories, it’s very important that they flow well. When I’m writing the manuscript, I picture how the comic strip might look, and then I try to describe it. So my instruction in the ms might say:

Image: Holly standing on the cliff side, peering out over the sea, puzzled.
Caption: Holly looked up to see something odd…
Holly’s speech bubble: What’s that light?

Bear in mind, I don’t have a background in designing comics, so the way I design them bears only a vague resemblance to the way they’re done in other places! But this seems to work for us as a team, since I’m anxious not to over-design, as Cathy is such a brilliant artist she’s quite capable of working out how best to convey the action through pictures on her own!

An early rough of an action sequence...
An early rough of an action sequence…

But what happens on a new Electrigirl is that once the editorial team is happy with the manuscript (on this one, I rewrote the whole thing from scratch after the first round of editorial notes, but after that it mostly required only cosmetic changes), we book in a date for the core team to get together and plan the artwork. That’s what we were doing on Tuesday. We all sit round the table with the comic strip sections from the ms in front of us, and Cathy brings a kind of storyboard sheet, with blank panels to be filled in. Then we go through every single image instruction that I’ve written and work out how that might look on the page, the size of the panel, the perspective of the drawing, and whether some of the panels can be combined or whether we need to split any panels that are too complicated to show all in one drawing. Oh, and where the page turn needs to go, because sometimes that’s absolutely vital for cliffhangers etc.

Cathy's copy of the manuscript, plus her storyboard to be filled in as we go - and a copy of Book 2 for reference!
Cathy’s copy of the manuscript, plus her storyboard to be filled in as we go – and a copy of Book 2 for reference!

It took nearly four and a half hours on Tuesday to go through the whole ms (there are a LOT of drawings!) and we were all absolutely exhausted at the end of it, but…I’m so excited!! It’s going to look AMAZING!

Very soon, I hope, I’ll be able to reveal the BEAUTIFUL cover of Book 3. But for now, I can at least reveal the TITLE…are you ready? Electrigirl 3 will be called…

ELECTRIGIRL AND THE INVISIBLE THIEVES

Coming in May 2017 🙂

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