Process: John Rozum

OK, I’ve been linking to a lot of process posts from artists, so here’s one from a writer. In this blog entry, Rozum discusses working “Marvel Style” vs. full script.

I’m going to excerpt this whole paragraph, because it perfectly mirrors my own preference, and reasons, for writing in full script:

I do prefer writing full script so that the artist has all of the information necessary to inform them of what’s needed in the story. Providing them with dialogue in advance allows them to get a feel for how to lay out the panels so that the conversations flow smoothly and maintain a rhythm. It also gives them a sense of the relationship between the characters doing the speaking which not only allows them to depict the characters with the correct facial expressions and body language to emphasize their attitude to what they are saying, but their attitude to the person they are talking to to, whether they are feeling at ease, or tense, or transition from one state to the other. Providing setting and prop information adds to the artist getting abetter sense of the mood of the story, and a better feel for the characters based on their environments. Even describing the action provides a sense of how quick to pace the action, or whether one character is physically pushed while another is handling it with ease.

And a bit later one, he makes this statement, which again, is exactly how I approach my collaborations:

Something I always emphasize with any artist I work with is that even though my scripts are detailed and broken down panel by panel, they should feel free to reconfigure that if they think they can do it better in fewer panels, more, etc.

The way I see it, it’s always best to provide more information than may be needed, and then the artist can decide how much of the details they want to include. If there’s a particular plot point or visual I definitely want to insure makes it in the final art, I point it out as such in the script. Otherwise, I feel the artist knows best how much is needed to set the mood and setting, carry the action, etc.

I have only worked Marvel style with 2 artists, mpMann and fellow PANEL Collective member Andy Bennett. In both cases, it was because the artists preferred to work from a plot and determine the page and panel breakdowns themselves, and I happily obliged. I would usually provide a few snippets of dialogue as well, to more clearly describe the characters’ facial expressions and moods, as Rozum mentions in the quote above. Then once the art was done, I would go back and adjust some of the existing dialogue, and write new bits, based on the page and panel composition. I feel that this method is more of a true collaboration, and if you’re in sync with your artist, will produce a very strong story. However, it is definitely more time consuming, and in cases where you don’t know who your artist will be, it can be a risky proposition.