Facebook PM chat

A chat I just had with an artist friend of mine. It shines a light on one of my procedures…

David, I was looking at your drawing of the plane for “Nando”. I wondered what the wee lines were you’d drawn in? Are they just wee guide lines?

You mean the lines on the square panel outside the picture?


They are markers for the exact points where I should draw lines depending on whether I want 2, 3 or 4 panels in a row. I have a couple of masters and copy them. Saves me loads of time measuring it out every time.

Just started doing that this year, and it’s a great tip. Had to make a new one to suit Phil’s specifications for the assignment.

In any case, it wasn’t relevant for this one panel page!

Do you trace it onto the page you are working on?

I do my inks on actual tracing paper.

So you trace the template on a sheet, then draw your pics, then ink on top?

I print off a sheet with the empty template. Then draw in the panel boxes where I want them, following the marks or not depending on what I want, then pencil everything in. Then the tracing paper goes on and I ink it all onto that.

Ah ok

If it’s cool with you, I’ll use our little discussion about the marks on my page. It’s relevant to my production blog where I am outlining all my processes with this comic. I’ll not use your name. Lemme know.

Yea sure

Cool ta


Title/splash page pencils and inks

Here are the pencils and inks for the splash and title page. This is page 2. I had a strong impression of what this page would look like and so drew this first.

Nando page 2 pencils
Nando page 2 inks


Pitch / References

I rewrote my elevator pitch:

“I’ve always been interested in the Andes crash survivors and what they went through. But what about the other victims of disaster who survived a while – and were never found?”

I also wrote a synopsis:

“The wreckage of a small passenger plane is lying in the Andes mountain range. Nando walks out of the fuselage and joins Daniel, who is sitting outside. They discuss what the outside world would think of their having eaten the dead passengers and their reasoning for it. Nando takes a picture for “the future people” who will find them long after they’re dead. He renews his permission to Daniel to eat his own body if he dies first. Daniel doesn’t respond. He is dead. Days/weeks/months later, Nando is sitting outside the fuselage considering his relationship with God in the mountains. As the panorama of the mountain range moves from day to night, he dies.”



And then of course there are the books directly related to the incident with photo sections which will be invaluable.


The next step is to draw either a panel or a page to give an idea of how the comic will look.

Page layouts 3-12

Here are the writing/layouts for pages 3-12. You will see that I do not have many actual drawings in yet. This stage is where I do the writing, and panel pacing is figured out as I go. This is what I do instead of a traditional script.

The images in the panels go in once I have the dialogue, pacing and events in place.

The art is servant to the story.

Pages 3-4
Pages 5 and 7
Pages 6 and 8
Pages 9-10
Pages 11-12

You may notice that 5 and 7, and 6 and 8 are presented together. This is because once I’d written page 5, I moved onto the next page, but realised I wanted them to do something else before I got to what was happening on the original page 6. So that became page 7 and another page was written and slotted in.


Here are my thoughts on my story, using the terms of definition as outlined in the course…


The 1970s Uruguayan aeroplane disaster in the Andes leaves survivors to go through the same trials and spiritual awakenings. Then they are not saved.


At this stage, I know the story starts with the reveal of the wrecked fuselage in the snow. The ending is the last survivor propped up against the plane, or by the plane, appearing to die. In the middle I will choose interesting moments from the actual experience to write into the comic.

I will end up writing my more detailed synopsis after I have finished my layouts.


The protagonists and antagonists will be based on the real life characters.

For verisimilitude, the best thing for me to do is use the same clothing as the actual survivors. And for most recognition in the reader, I’ll go with the movie version from the 1990s. Examples:




The environment is the remains of the crashed plane, and the surrounding mountain range.

I have photo reference on both and will make use of these. Examples:




Is the story realistic, humorous or stylised?

At this point I will not attempt to fit my story into any style. I know what I’m going for, as outlined in 1-4 above, but am not sure how it fits in with any categorisation.

The next step for me is to now do the layouts for pages 3-12.

NANDO pages 1-2 layouts

Nando pages 1-2 layouts

Here are the first two pages.

My scribbles in case they are illegible:

Andes. Each frame gets closer to a point where we see the remains of the plane.

Close up of last panel from page 1.

NANDO (Too big. Make much much smaller. Nando by David Robertson.)

CREATING COMICS on the COMICS MLitt course – Introduction.

This blog will follow my progress as I write and draw an 8-12 page story on the Creating Comics module of the Comics Mlitt course at The University of Dundee.

I have a story I want to do for the module, based on the story of the Uruguayan plane crash in the Andes in 1972, which has always fascinated me.

I will now begin to write the story using layouts…