How Covid Nearly Closed Sleepy Hamlet Down.

Well not literally. The tales from the village of Sleepy Hamlet are set somewhere in the middle of the 1950's, a golden age for the English countryside, so Covid-19 was but a twinkle in the eye of the grandfather of a maniacle dictator. But it very nearly scuppered my producing it on a weekly basis.

You see I have always drawn my comics pages twice up on A3 cartridge paper. I then take it to the copy shop, have it reduced to A4, come back, scan it then drop the colours and lettering in in Photoshop.

But with the lock-down, my local copy shop was not deemed an essential service, not even after my 450 letters to the powers that be, pleading to the contrary. But they just ignored me and closed it anyway.

So I had to re-think the situation. I could cut the page in half and produce two pages of two exact rows, just like the classic French/Belgium Bande Dessinee look, but that goes against my natural artistic inclination, which is to take the whole A3 space and create panels and rows of all shapes and sizes.

I seriously love creating a comic page without the constraints of set panel sizes as it gives me the freedom to give the reader an over all look that is both pleasing to the eye as well as enjoyable to read.

But, being of the mind that I am, I tried my best to manipulate the area I was given by trying to work an interesting look into what is a basic template, as I tried to do here.

Another issue was the word balloons. I like to have them crossover into neighbouring panels; it gives what I feel is an interesting and pleasing feel to the layout.

Now this is fine when dealing with the top and side panels, but when it came to the panels that would be pasted next to each other, then we had a problem. I solved this by pasting the top and bottom pages together, then with the eraser tool I very carefully removed everything around it.

Time consuming. Very time consuming, but I cannot and will not sacrifice anything for the overall look of this, my labour-of-love graphic novel.

But on the plus side of how Covid has affected my work pattern, it has given me the opportunity to give you this behind-the-scenes look at problem solving. So when the book is finally published you will be able to tell at exactly what point Covid-19 took over the books general appearance.

This really is artistic nature at its rawest.

Anyway, below is an example of the two layouts just to show you the difference. The first being pre-Covid and the second post-Covid.

This page could never have been produced on the split page format with the top panels seemingly hanging against a stormy night scene.

Where as the page below was about as interesting as I could make it, within the restrictive boundaries I was forced to work in.

Any way, I hope you enjoyed this little peek behind the scenes of the making of the Night of the Village Idiots and as always click here to view it all from page one.

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All artwork and the written word are copyright Karl Dixon