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The Making of "Methed Up!"

A step-by-step guide to the creation of just one page of Mik & Nero's first adventure.

Script

First, the writer prepares a script, describing the action for the artist. (As you'll see, the dialogue will be changed several times on its way to the final page.) Also, you may notice the dogs were first named after two former Clackamas County Sheriff's Office canines. We later decided to name the dogs after the real-life Mik and Nero, who currently work on our K-9 squad.

Next, the writer lays out all the panels and lettering on a computer. He also draws extremely rough "thumbnail sketches" of all the action using a pencil -- giving the artist a better idea what the writer had in mind. The dialogue has been slightly altered on its way to the page, with a reference to "cooking" (or making) meth added. (This reference will later be removed.)

Next, the artist imports the panel layouts into his laptop computer, and lays in his own rough sketches and photo reference, shot with the artist's friends. The artist will draw the comic using his own Cintiq 12WX digital tablet and a program called Photoshop. This allows him to put all these different reference materials onscreen and draw over them using a digital pen.

Here we see the artist halfway finished with his final black-and-white line art. The photo-reference has been replaced with artwork. The ghostly lettering is there to show the artist where not to draw; it will soon be removed.

The artist has finished his black-and-white line art. We're ready to add final grey-tones and lettering!

Using Photoshop and his other digital tools, the artist "paints" the drawing with grey-tones, giving it some texture.

Finally, the writer adds the lettering and word balloons using his computer. The lettering is a custom font. The dialogue has once again been changed: Because new laws have made meth labs harder to find in Oregon, the criminals are now "using" rather than "cooking" drugs.