A look into the design process for my fan comic of The Mandalorian, featuring Grogu, Din Djarin, and a cat backpack!
Chapter 4: The Backpack
Created: April 2023
Dimensions: 6.88″ x 10.5″/2064px x 3150px at 300 dpi
Created with: Procreate
For Chapter 4: The Backpack, I used
- Dry Ink, Smoother – a modified version of Dry Ink that I tweaked to be a bit smoother, larger, and to have the ending tip blunter
- Blunt – a modified version of Studio Pen that I tweaked to have a blunter tip and larger size
Blunt was used for the panel lines, speech bubbles, and for coloring, and Dry Ink, Smoother was used for the line art, as well as the space around the title.
The font is my own handwriting that I converted into a font using Calligraphr.
I wanted to make a comic for Star Wars Day on May the 4th this year since I’ve apparently become a bit of a Star Wars fan thanks to Andor and The Mandalorian 😂 I wasn’t a big fan of the franchise before those two shows, but now I’ve found myself enjoying the series a bit more. I’m not a Skywalker or Jedi fan, though, so I wanted to make fan art for Andor or Mando. My partner Corg and I have been watching The Mandalorian lately (I convinced him to join me 😈), so I decided to go with that.
The Design Process
I also wanted to make sure it was relevant to the work I’ve been pursuing lately so that I could include it in my portfolio, so I decided to go with a comic! I usually brainstorm things on my own, but since watching the show has become a shared activity with Corg, I decided to ask for his input on what Mando and Grogu should get up to in the comic.
He immediately suggested putting Grogu into a backpack, and I lit up and said, “Like one of those cat backpacks!” He agreed, and after tossing around a few other ideas together and brainstorming some other ideas on my own, I decided this sounded like a fun one and started working on the design.
I sometimes struggle with how to come up with a layout that works for a comic idea, but this one sprang to mind nearly fully formed.
The biggest struggle for this comic was finding the right reference photos– it was surprisingly difficult to find many screens or even behind the scenes images that showed Mando in the pose I ultimately chose for the final panel. I had to spend a couple of hours looking around before I finally settled on the ones I needed, a process I always find frustrating lol
Here’s a look at the brainstorming/pencils. They were basically one and the same since the idea was so strong in my mind for this layout.
I really like how Grogu looks all rosy apple cheeked here lol
The brainstorming for this is a lot more refined than I usually do when approaching a layout. I often use vague shapes and indicators to show where something should go, more like in panel one here.
Whenever I’m feeling a bit more pressure to get something to look right– like for a globally recognized syndicated character, for example lol– my pencils and brainstorming are tighter. It’s easier to be loose with my own designs, for sure.
And here are the inks! Ahh, I felt so proud of how this turned out. I’ve always been intimidated by drawing anything metal and by a lot of those sleek, sci-fi style interiors, but I was pleased to find it wasn’t as difficult as I expected.
I was also nervous to draw fan art for putting out into the world for the first time, too– I don’t do a lot of fan art, and I was worried this might just look like a lumpy gray potato instead of Din Djarin 😂
I think the colors for this came out better than I expected, especially since I avoid painting anything remotely shiny as much as I possibly can 😂 That said, there’s a lot of room for improvement here, and I actually wish I had just stylized this more like I would my own art instead of trying to make it look as much like the show itself as I could. An important lesson learned for the future!
This was a good exercise for me, though, since it encouraged me to try new things outside of my normal skillset. I also am still getting the hang of coloring pieces, so this was good practice. All in all, this isn’t a bad result, and I’m proud of the work I did!
Here are some of the reference images I used to make the comic:
I recommend checking out FourEyedMonster’s page for that Stormtrooper reference for some amusing images!
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