Lookit! A brand-spanking new chapter! I’m actually proud of this page because I finally learned how to do some decent calligraphy. Who said hand-lettering wasn’t fun? Oh, I did.

This week’s SpiderForest Webcomic of the week is Keys by Nicoli Gonnella. In a land of terrible wars and towering empires, one man finds himself thrust into the machinations of men and gods, and only a mythic blade may hold to the key to his salvation.

And as promised, a blog on my work process! To help illustrate my process, I’ll use Page 9 of Chapter 8.

Part One: Breakdown.

Before I work on any of the art, I first write out a full breakdown page by page for each chapter, detailing what happens on every page so I have in my mind what I want to draw. Sometimes I change my mind when I get to the storyboards, but it helps me to have a starting point. Here’s the breakdown for Chapter 8, page 9.

Page 9

At the docks, Cook is preparing a boat for sail. “But, I want to see Tia Atzul,” Rodney complains as Cook checks for leaks and holes. “’Aunt’ Atzul. ” Cook explains patiently. “If you go back now they will kill me. Is this what you want?” “No. Are you sure Henry will be able to save her?” “Henry is sure. He has powerful magic in him. Maybe he can.” “You don’t believe he will?”

Most dialogue-heavy pages end up this way; I’m working out the dialogue as I go and pacing it over what I think might be visuals in my mind. Much of the dialogue in the first draft gets edited a lot in the final script, which is done after the storyboards. It’s also an indication I work alone; if someone else was the artist, I might be more careful about descriptions and what I see happening on each page.