Five Years In The Making

P. CRAIG RUSSELL: Put the finishing touches on the final page of my comics adaptation of The Giver yesterday, a project that’s taken about five years (interrupted by The Graveyard Book). I don’t always work in sequence, so this final page is from Chapter 20. Working with Galen Showman. I did layouts, he did blue pencil ‘pencilling’ and I did pencil ‘inking’ and ink wash. The bicycle at the bottom is entirely Galen’s——he has a genius for meticulous mechanical detail. And aren’t I happy about that?

Four stages of adaptation: “The Giver”

First: Working from the source material. The bottom paragraph on this page paints a scene in a series of impressions with slices of horrific detail:

Second: Using that paragraph to structure a scene that goes from extreme closeup, the horse’s terrified eye, to a long shot as boy and horse are blown back by the falling bomb. Panels 1-3 work as a unit and belong to the horse in its flight. Panel four is larger, stands on its own and brings together the horse and the boy. Panels 5-7 belong to the boy and show his flight from the falling bomb. Panel 8 is larger, stands on its own, and bring boy and horse together again in the explosion:

Third: Using the layout as a guide, artist Scott Hampton makes it happen. I love what he did with the first panel, the terror in the horse’s eye. As a layout artist this is exactly what you hope the finishing artist brings to the table:

Fourth: In the hands of the colorist. Working with Lovern Kindzierski I told him we want only single flat color for the memory sequences. For war, naturally, red. We discussed a series of reds and settled on a hot, almost orange, red. Then, do we color everything red, or use white to make certain things ‘pop’? My original intent was to color it all red save for the boy who is visiting this scene in his mind. Giving him no color at all removes him, in a sense, from the events he is witnessing. But we both agreed that adding white to the sky gave an added dynamism to the scene:

One down, 177 to go.

An Example Of True Collaboration

P. CRAIG RUSSELL: A page from the upcoming comics adaptation of Lois Lowry’s The Giver. An example of true collaboration. I scripted and designed the page. Scott Hampton did the art for the memory panels. Galen Showman ‘pencilled’ the rest of the page in blue pencil and I provided the finished pencil ‘inks’ and ink wash. Lovern Kindzierski added the color over Scott’s panels. The mono color is used in all the memory sequences to differentiate the use of color from the last three chapters that have full inks and full color.