“At every stage I am trying to think of the end-reader experience” Madefire’s Ben Wolstenholme talks motion books, Mono and more!
Is it easier to make action look ‘flashier’ than dialogue when you’re working with the motion books engine?
BW: Yes screen reading does give a lot more opportunity for pace and punctuation in a sequence like this – Making Mono for screen means thinking through when layers would be useful to accentuate the move or mood of a panel. Creating the story as a Motion Book means working digital first – this provides a lot of scope for pushing the reading experience as Mono leaps and bounds across a bombed out city. Great fun!
How do you go about planning an issue? Do you script it heavily and plan it out in full before you start?
BW: I’ve never drawn a full comic before so this was quite an insane process for me. Not least trying to keep my end up alongside Dave Gibbons, Liam Sharp and the ridiculous list of creators we have on board… surreal. Liam has had 26 years of writing and drawing in the industry – and so has been an amazing coach and guide – he wrote the script and has a strong belief you don’t need to ‘say it’ and ‘show it’ at the same time, so we’ve tried to let the visual take a different path to the written word – or let them augment each other – or juxtapose.
Where I have had experience, is in a lot of storyboarding and illustration when working out what i would shoot or direct in a film or animation – I’ll come back to my background . So I started to break the script down into thumbnails mainly by thinking – ‘how would I shoot this?’. Where is the camera best placed for action, how can the page layout accentuate the pace and cadence? What is the main scene or panel that is most important?
Most of the thinking through of the story and it’s animation is at the pencilling stage. The things to consider here are vast: character – set – acting – lighting – styling – editing – camera – hierarchy of visuals – positive and negative space and of course where dialogue and text will appear. All of this list is really just the same as drawing for a print comic (I have now learnt). When you work for reading on a screen – digital first – there is both ‘more’ and ‘less’ to consider at the same time; for example not everything needs to be shown on the screen at once – so there is more ‘room’ to expand art and use time to introduce the text or additional panels – this creates more room to maneuver – but adding the axis of ‘time’ and ‘touch’ also adds another dimension to how the reader will experience the story – where will they be looking and touching the screen… Ultimately there’s no right answer and we try and have fun with it all.