Making A Stitch in Rhyme

You’ve probably noticed that A Stitch in Rhyme isn’t your typical hand-drawn comic. I thought I’d give you a little tour of how I make each page.

Drafting

  • First, I write (and rewrite) the script. At the time of this writing, I have a detailed outline of the whole story, a rough draft of a quarter of the script, and final draft for maybe an eighth. I continually push forward on the rough and final drafts so I don’t get stuck without script ready.
  • Working from the final script, I divide the speech and action up into pages of blank panels that I fill with pencil sketches. Some of my sketches are pretty rough, and the final result is nearly always fairly different from the original concept, but I find it really hard to work without an initial sketch.

Crafting

  • Simultaneously, I crochet the characters and their clothes. This is time consuming, with a major character requiring around forty hours of work (sometimes more if I don’t like the result and have to remake something).
  • I also make the sets for each scene. These are primarily fabric wrapped around cardboard frames accented with crochet, and some set pieces are entirely crocheted, like the cathnid cages in Marisand’s shop. I also dress the set with other objects, such as the shelves in Marisand’s shop that contain a ceramic spoon, a chunk of salt, an origami box.

Photographing

  • When it’s time to prepare a page I arrange the set and characters according to my sketches and take photographs for each panel. This means fiddling with the lighting, camera placement, focus, and other camera settings to get everything just right. For any given panel I’ll take anywhere from two to two dozen pictures.
  • On the computer, I select the best picture for each panel, crop it, and add any digital enhancements. Typical enhancements are character facial expressions and words like the labels on the shop shelves.
  • Then I compose the panels into an html page, add the words, and place the speech balloons. I try pretty hard to have the balloons lay out well on both small devices and on larger screens, which takes a bit of extra tweaking to get right.

Finally, everything’s ready. I upload the page to WordPress and publish it!