Tuff-Girl Versus The Amazon Cheerleaders, Half Draft
Here I present the first six pages of twelve of a “Tuff-Girl” feature to appear in issue number two of Unstoppable Tuff-Girl, each from thumbnail sketch to rough draft layout.
Page 1: I drew the thumbnail sketch of each layout in the margins of Merrill Hagan’s final script. For no particular reason, I used red ballpoint pen. Next, to get a better sense of spacing and lettering, I drew “at scale” layouts on letter-size copier paper in black roller-ball ink. On 11" x 17" Bristol board within a 10" x 15" rectangle I make the rough-to-tight pencil layout that’s the stage prior to inking. With the details of her costume not scripted, I decided to start Tuff-Girl in a jacket.
Page 2: I think I showed Merrill the thumbnail layouts as work-in-progress samples, but I kind of doubt he could make out a lot of my design decisions. This page sets up the idea that Tuff-Girl and a gentleman named Doctor Dockter are judging a cheerleading competition. In panel 5, the doctor gets a top hat.
Page 3: The script called for three consecutive panels with the same background and unmoved Doctor Dockter. I rebelled against that idea in a quest to somewhat emulate Milt Caniff’s panel layouts, and he never drew the same background twice. On “Terry and the Pirates” Caniff also kept to regular panel layouts, so on the final rough I switched back to the six-panel grid.
Page 4: This is the page that first tested my resolve to do the best for the story, a story that has cheerleading teams in front of an audience; in other words lots of crowds. The addition of Tuff-Girl in panel 4 is for added dimension. Prior to the rough layout, the girls have not been drawn as specific characters with specific features. Before proceeding on the rough layouts, key members of the team had to be identified with initials (not shown).
Page 5: With eight members of the team transformed into Amazon cheerleaders, some times that’s plenty to fill a panel, and some times (panel 4) less so.
Page 6: I like a Jackie Chan action sequence, by which I mean letting the characters utilize objects, furniture and aspects of the environment in what they do. The jacket added to Tuff-Girl’s costume in page 1 is something she can use to tie up the hands of a charging girl in panel 5 here.