Seven Days is an alt-weekly in Vermont where I went to grad school at The Center for Cartoon Studies. They have a deal together where every month there is a page for a student or alum to put a comic. Mine was in earlier this month, so I thought now would be a good time to share my process.

I started by spacing out trying to figure out a one-page story. Which can be pretty hard! But I let my mind wander, while keeping a theme in mind (robot exploration here) and settle on some image that I turn into a story. So I came up with the microscopic. The little robot is based on a tardigrade, which is the creature looming in panel 2.

To design the robot, I think about what it would need to do. It wants to blend in with the tardigrades, so it has a similar form. To move around in the water, it has little flipper legs. It needs to take samples somehow, so it has a little hose nose to suck up the samples. In this case, it is a controlled robot, rather than an AI, so it needs to receive controls somehow. Hence the umbilical cord.

After thumbnailing the story and rearranging, I started pencils. My scratch paper for penciling is only 9 inches wide and the final needed to be 9.5 inches. Plus I wanted to do the original as 10.5 inches because that was the biggest I could do on this new watercolor paper I grabbed on sale that I wanted to try. So I had to tape two pieces of paper together to pencil at size. 

Penciling took me two tries. One was too scribbly and needed some more edits, so I did this second one to really nail it down before moving on to inks. In this particular comic, I used a lot of circle templates for the little robot. It’s made of metal and leather, but you can’t really tell until it is colored. 

For the color, I tried to make things stand out from each other. There is no color for tardigrades because they are too small and all the pictures are through microscopes and other science-y stuff. So I picked purple. Not a go-to color for me.

Here’s the process shots.