From The Swallow, Vol. 26, Issue 8, March 2014

excerpt from pg. 14:

You made 50 Most your freshman year and narrowly missed our rankings sophomore year. How does it feel to return to Samwell’s hottest list your junior year? It’s nice. Thank you. It’s always great when people have good things to say about you. I appreciate it.

Word ‘round the ‘Well is that you recently attended Winter Screw 2013 with fellow 50-Moster and junior tennis star Camilla Collins. Do you only surround yourself with stunning people? [laughs] Camilla is a fantastic athlete and I’m glad to be her friend.

We’re not professional hockey reporters, Jack. We will call you out when you’re avoiding questions. Camilla is right over there. You’re interviewing her next, aren’t you?

Looks like you two had lunch together. There were chicken tenders today.

Some Samwell hockey fans have recently started a twitter account for one of your most prominent body parts. How do you keep your body so impossibly proportioned? …Hockey is a sport where you squat a lot.

excerpt from pg. 23:

John Johnson. Besides being one of Samwell’s hottest seniors and a hockey player (on a list already populated by members of the Samwell hockey team), you’re one of only a dozen Wellies to have graced the pages of the Magazine four years straight. How does it feel to be so objectively and consistently beautiful? [laughs] I mean, like, don’t get me started on objectivity—especially when it comes to qualities that need to be perceived in order to gain existence in the first place. Man. The whole existence through perception and the imperfection of knowing thing keeps me up at night. [long pause] Theoretically.

We’re not following. Yeah. Yeah, I guess I’m pretty thrilled to be featured in this magazine for a definitely fictional college that exists only in the limited universe of a comic—a comic on the internet which is like 1’s and 0’s. Like, do you know Eric Bittle? He wasn’t even mentioned in this post until 8 words ago. Bro. Like. I’m just—you’re asking me about being in the Swallow and I’m freaking out about how this is all in the same world as like, Bitty’s stuffed rabbit. I’m freaking out right now. [laughs]

Can you talk about your abs? My abs are pretty killer not gonna lie.

Process Post!

Hey! This is how a Check,Please! comic comes into being. Making a comic is a fairly long but fun process, with quite a few ups and downs. In fact, I actually made a graph that shows my emotional state during the lifespan of a comic:

THIS HAPPENS WITHOUT FAIL. In my head there is this great, animated, sound-filled cinematic production and then I must translate it into image, like a barbarian, with these CLAW HANDS and ELECTRONIC PLASTIC SLABS!! How cruel!

No, it’s actually fine. I’m just a baby. But if you ever see me on social media, dragging my feet and hinting that you should not expect anything from the next update, I’m probably laying down flats.

Programs I Use:

I. THE SCRIPT/THUMBNAILS

These are how the thumbnails for Comic 2.7 – Parse look. So much potential!! Spoilers!

The scribblings of a madwoman! Props to you if you can figure out what’s going on, I sure can’t.

I’m weird, in that I write the script and do thumbnails for the comic at the same time? More often than not, I’ll write out dialogue and then break it into chunks for panels:

So many mosaics! …..!!! Hey you know what you shouldn’t do? Don’t write the script after you finish drawing the entire comic. I did that for most of the comics in Bitty’s spring semester (idk) and man…it stresses me out and is stupid…don’t…do it.

AFTER I finish the thumbnails and the rough script, then I go back and finalize the script so I can later copy/paste it into InDesign:

II. ROUGHS

For roughs I usually draw right over my thumbnails. In the first pass I try to get the anatomy and clothing of the characters, and I sketch out the background. Then in the second pass I use a different color to draw complicated elements like hands and faces and sometimes add detail to clothing.

III. INK

AH, inking. Where it all comes together. The only thing I’ll point out about this step is that I always try to close my lines because it makes selecting areas to color so much more simple in the next step. That and I use Kyle Websters’s brushes—particularly the (Pentel) Pocket Brush 2 and the 2Smooth 2Be 4Gotten brushes.

This would be a good time to mention that I treat the foreground and background separately, most of the time.

IV. COLOR + LETTERING

I’m clumping these two together so this post won’t be insanely long. And honestly, each of these steps from thumbnailing to speech bubble placement warrants its own post, so maybe I’ll whip a few of those up eventually.

Here’s my workspace in Photoshop at this point:

Swatches guarantee that colors are consistent from comic to comic! So like Bitty isn’t honey-blonde in one and platinum-blonde in the next. I also keep the navigator window open so I won’t have to zoom out to 100% every two minutes.

Here’s my workspace in InDesign.

But coloring and lettering are the very last steps! Check out this gif:

And then I sit around and write a blog post that demonstrates exactly how obsessive I am! Because it’s not enough for me to simply make a comic; I have to throw in world-building at every step.

And for kicks, here’s Bitty’s frog dorm room and his sophomore year room in the Haus. One background I don’t have to redraw every comic (with the exception of S.B. cameos.)

But there you go! ‘Swawesome!

Year 2, Comic 5 – Providence Falconers

★ Notes on Year 2, Comic 5 – Providence Falconers

✓ OH! SO THIS MEANS JACK IS GOING TO PLAY FOR THE BRUINS, RIGHT? Like the post-it note in panel 5 of comic 2.1 said! WHAT. GO BACK AND READ THE COMIC.

✓ Ooooh this is it. This is Jack’s new team. You invented NHL expansion teams so you wouldn’t have to get into the awkward position of having Jack play for a real hockey team with real people. I mean you said it, not me. If I mention random NHL teams and you’re like “whaat???? how have I never heard of that team!!”, it is because I made a few up! Samwell University does not exist and neither do any of the following:

– Providence Falconers
– Seattle Schooners (I might….already have an entire separate story idea for these losers. *cries*)
– Las Vegas Aces (Kent Parson’s team.)
– HOUSTON AEROS (I BROUGHT THEM BACK. MY HOMETOWN NEEDS HOCKEY.)

✓ *ahem* Ms. Ukazu, I hope you realize the numerous fallacies in creating an NHL expansion team in the city of Providence—let me tell you the history of New England professional and semi-professional hockey and why the NHL has resisted the development of a franchise in Rhode Island dating back to 1978— NOPE SORRY NONE OF THIS IS REALITY BITTY’S TWEETS ARE ME

✓ Another character! A LADY! A GEORGE??? YES WHILE EVERYONE WAS GETTING CAUGHT UP IN THE HOOPLAH GENERATOR THAT IS KENT “A NEW CHALLENGER APPEARS” PARSON I WAS BUSY DRAWING GEORGIA MARTIN, FORMER OLYMPIAN, CURRENT ASST. GM FOR THE FALCONERS AND PROBABLY JACK’S FUTURE BOSS.

While every other team in the NHL is wondering if Jack will be a liability (i.e., did rehab and America really “fix” him?) and whether Jack’s talent is worth all the extra media attention, George’s is like fuck that, Jack Zimmermann, you are perfect. Fun fact: she used to be a scout. She prides herself in being able to pick ‘em.

Also, I dunno, you can probably guess most of my storylines, but Jack is eventually going to need an executive confidant at some point and who else could be better than a woman in the NHL—a person in a position where they’re a minority blazing a trail?

✓ Georgia Martin? George-A Martin? George RR Martin? Is she going to kill Jack? No, she’s going to be Jack’s boss one day why would she kill Jack? That would upset Bitty.

✓ What, why would Shitty go to law school? This is the first I’ve heard of this! Yeah, it’s been a thing in the extra comics for a while now. Also, Bitty’s Twitter:

✓ TRIVIA QUESTION: What Cambridge bridge did I blatantly ripoff to create the main bridge of Samwell (the Samwell Bridge) that is in the very center of campus the east and west sides?
ANSWER: The John Weeks Bridge at Harvard. On a scale from 1 to 10 how 11 is my boner for New England colleges.

Hey and look at this:

✓ THE COUCH OH HEY! Jack is on the phone in the den/living room/sitting room of the Haus, and you get a better view of THE COUCH. Bitty hates that couch.

✓ NEXT UP. Jack gets help from Bitty for their history seminar final and Bitty comes to a startling realization.

Check, Please!
Sophomore Year #5 – Providence Falconers

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