Aug 11 2009

Odyssey is Delivered! Time for a treat.

Published by at 10:10 am under odyssey,press,tools & tech,video

Yesterday I finally delivered The Odyssey, in all it’s glory — the files fill 3 DVDs! (and the stack of artwork I already delivered was about 4 inches high). For those who are curious, it was basically on time. I actually had the discs burned on Friday, but Candlewick closes early on Fridays all summer (nice!), so they told me to bring them Monday. Anyway, the contract actually said Sunday (not sure whose idea that was), so Monday counts as on time. Not bad for a 16-month, 250-page project, if I do say so myself.

Here’s something I’ve been chipping away at during the process of The Odyssey, and the first installment is ready. This video shows my process for digital layout of the Odyssey pages. Each week I’ll put up another video. There are six in all, and they’ll show pencilling, painting, and digital word balloons & panel borders. This is my first effort at screencasting/podcasting, and it’s entirely homebrew, so I apologize if the production quality is a bit amateur; but I hope you enjoy this glimpse into the making of an epic graphic novel!


*A word of caution about this method: This is an unconventional way of using InDesign — a way for which it was not really intended. In the case of a long book (like, say, The Odyssey), filling up page after page with vector art can result in extremely large file sizes and degraded system performance. If you try this and your file starts getting above 500MB or your computer starts freaking out, try exporting to Interchange format (.inx) and then reimporting. Usually this makes the file smaller and happier. If it gets really broken, you can export the art to a static format such as TIF or JPG, delete the vector art and place the static art back in — but at that point you lose the ease of editing. As always, save often and keep multiple versions.

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “Odyssey is Delivered! Time for a treat.”

  1. Anna Alteron 11 Aug 2009 at 10:40 am

    Gareth- This video is really fascinating. I’ve never sketched on the computer but it looks like you have a really efficient system going! I will have to try it.

  2. […] is the first in a series of videos for which he plans to share the other steps in his comic-making process. AKPC_IDS += […]

  3. Will Woodon 12 Aug 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Interesting Gareth, I’ve not seen ANYONE sketch in InDesign! You do it very comfortably. Just curious, do you sketch your rough layouts into InDesign so that you can build the final layout into the same file after scanning? If not, what made you choose InDesign? Your approach is interesting.
    Thanks, Will

  4. Garethon 12 Aug 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Yes, the final layout is just a matter of placing the finished art into the same file and cleaning up the balloons and panel borders (that will be video #4).

    I’ve always had trouble consistently leaving the right amount of space for the text in each panel, and on The Merchant of Venice I ended up recreating my thumbnail sketches in Photoshop & Indesign to check the text placement. That seemed like a big waste of time, so I thought I’d try just drawing it right into the layout, which also lets me reshape text blocks, scale and rearrange ad infinitum.

    One word of caution about this method — and maybe I should add this to the original post — file sizes can get very large if it’s a long book!

  5. […] Paginar banda desenhada no InDesign Para os autores e editores entre vós. Reparem na preocupação de entregar o trabalho no prazo e cumprir o contrato! Gareth Hinds. […]

  6. George Peter Gatsison 12 Aug 2009 at 11:14 pm

    That’s cool… I tried the InDesign method years ago, but found the Illustrator angle much more robust.

    Check it out at


  7. Stan Shawon 13 Aug 2009 at 3:04 am

    Nice to see InDesign put to use in such an unconventional manner. I did a 24 page comic by scanning in my quarter sized thumbnails, placing them in InDesign and adding alll the text and copy. Then I used the same scans as underdrawings, completing the art in Painter, then re-linking the files in InDesign. Using the apps like this as you have stated lets you really be precise in composing the art and word balloons. As always your work is an inspiration to see! By the way is InDesign set up for pressure sensitive tools?
    Stan (“Beauty and the Beast”) Shaw

  8. adminon 13 Aug 2009 at 10:19 am

    Thanks, Stan. On Merchant of Venice I scanned my thumbnails, but then to edit things I had to cut them up in Photoshop; plus just scanning and placing takes up a surprising amount of valuable time. Working directly in InDesign lets me move instantly from sketching to editing.

    InDesign has no pressure-sensitive tools, so I wouldn’t try to do any finished art in it. I’d use Illustrator or Photoshop for digital finishes. Given that and the issues with large file sizes, George is probably correct that Illustrator is more “robust”. However, I find it clunkier to use for editing, especially for text. ID lets me move things from page to page, trivially resize and reshape text boxes, and the tools feel more intuitive (to me) than the ones in Illustrator even though they’re both basically vector programs. Also ID lets me have my whole script in one document so I can apply text styles to it, search it, etc., and I like the way it handles color swatches better too.

    I’m not saying this workflow is perfect; in fact I’m on a constant quest to reinvent my methods with each book (which is how I end up with odd solutions like this in the first place). It should also be noted that I’m using typeset text. If you’re a hand-letterer, this method won’t be nearly as useful.


  9. George Peter Gatsison 13 Aug 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Here is another method I’ve been using for the last 20 years:

    Basically, every element of characters, backgrounds, etc… are Illustrated separately in Illustrator… then placed in QUARK and ((believe it)) PAGEMAKER 1.0… then the elements got shifted, re-aligned, flipped… and then the text and stylized word balloons added…

    I gave inDesign a try, but lost interest fast due to the lack of adaptability… other than the lack of pressure touch, you can’t rip and illustrator file and edit it with any confidence… and these are two programs created by Adobe!!!

  10. Using Adobe InDesign to Rough Out Comicson 22 Aug 2009 at 12:44 am

    […] To check out his article on this specific video go to his blog here. […]

  11. […] is the first in a series of videos for which he plans to share the other steps in his comic-making […]

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply