The Making of Lucy Searches for Puffy

So this week’s Lucy the Octopus strip was no normal episode.  An average Lucy strip takes about 5 hours to complete.  This took more than a week…

I’ve been meaning to try a large one panel Lucy comic for a couple of years, and stars aligned to demand I finally get on with it.

I knew I wanted to do a seascape with Lucy depicted at various moments in one day.  Lucy looking for her beloved pet puffer fish seemed liked a good scenario.
I noted down all the design and story elements I’d need, including any visual gags that sprung to mind.  I’d already planned to turn the image into a poster, so not wanting to date the image too much when people see it a year or so from now, I planned to include characters that have yet to appear in the weekly webcomic.
This lead to all sorts of storyline and gag ideas that I also noted down to incorporate into the strip down the line.

Initial Notes

Next up I made a very rough plan of the layout of the buildings and story elements.  I wasn’t worrying too much about the shape of the finished image at this point.

Rough Plan

Now to put the elements closer to how they would appear int he final image.  Note my old school green grid system to help me transfer the layout on A3 paper onto the A2 paper I would do the final artwork on.

Tighter Plan

While working on the penciled artwork I did a whole heap of design doodles (technical term) for any characters and elements that I’d yet to draw in the webcomic.
Drawing the underwater vehicles was a challenge, but ultimately fun.  Interpreting real life machines into underwater versions helps give me further understanding the world Lucy inhabits.

Design Doodles

The pencils – frankly the most taxing bit of the process!
I drew these tighter than I would for a normal strip as there was so much to keep track of.
At this point the weapon shop that Lucy’s parents shop in was called Weapons R Us.  By the time I got to the inks I thought Bang Bang was a less obvious and far more “Lucy” style name for it.

Pencils (Click image for bigger view)

Inking the image was again a little different to a normal Lucy the Octopus episode.  I used a far wider variety of line strengths ranging from a 0.2 mm fine liner to a Sharpie marker pen, to get a sense of depth (thicker lines in the foreground).

Inks (Click image for bigger view)

As with most Lucy images I included some photographic rock textures over the majority of the rocky buildings and rocky, er, rocks.


A sandy background included shadows under characters, buildings and objects.

Sand Background

The colour added on Photoshop.  With the regular Lucy strip I don’t have time to add much lighting to the characters, so it was good to make this image a little more special.

Final (Click image for bigger view)

After adding the Lucy logo, I sent a file off to the printers and got these lovely posters back!

The printed posters

Horray and phew!  On to the next drawing…

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