Saturday, December 25, 2010

Comic Strip Wrap (Christmas Wrapping Part 5)

This is the last major wrap-gimmick for me this year: A pile of gifts turned into a comic strip. First, here's the comic strip. I drew it for a couple of friends of mine who love Christmas, comics, cartoons and other fun stuff. Specifically, I turned them into cute little comic strip characters and wrote a Christmas gag around them. Fun, right? Below are the work-in-progress steps for both the comic strip and the wrapping paper gimmick.

1) First step is the pencil sketch, as usual. This one's pretty loose because Christmas was approaching and I didn't have time to do a finished, polished sketch the way I normally like to do. So the inking was done on the fly over some very rough doodles. Some panels (like the final) were pretty involved, so I made sure to tweak the sketch a bit before inking.

2) The inking was done in Photoshop. I was aiming for a very sweet, kid-friendly feel for the piece. So the lines are bold and bouncy. I did the lettering and word bubbles in Illustrator and imported them before step three.

3) Knowing I wanted this to end up looking like an old Sunday comic, I Paint-bucketed some desaturated colors and kept things simple.

4) After the color was in, I aged the entire piece by throwing a lot of off-yellow onto the piece. This way it looks like newsprint that's been sitting in your attic since 1979. The final step (which can be seen at the top of this post) is adding the half-tone texture to the illustration for that old printing press feeling. Now, on to the gifts.

1) I started by laying out the gifts I planned to give my friends in some semblance of a grid. Noting the size and shape of the gifts, I wrote the comic around that. Probably not the easiest way to write a comic, but I had an idea and I made it fit.

2) While I was busy writing and drawing the gag in my computer, I also began wrapping the gifts. I used this yellow, newsprint-type paper to give the comic an aged feel.

3) Once the comic was done, I used the packages to size the panels, printed out the line work, carefully cut out the panels and glued them on seamlessly. When they were finished, the packages looked like they were wrapped in paper with a comic strip printed on it. Since it's Christmas morning I can tell you it went over big. As I always hope, my friends had an agonizing time deciding whether or not to open the gifts and risk ruining the comic. After watching them meticulously cut through each gift's paper carefully with a pocket knife, I then rendered their efforts virtually pointless by handing them the full color comic, matted and framed. Merry Christmas. -v

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