THE LOGGER BIRD
The Logger Bird is a creepy-but-kinda-cute little guy who serves The Gray Woman in multiple forms. He keeps track of things and overall watches over The Gray Woman, almost like a drone. Eventually you get the idea that the bird isn't just a bird, it's a computer, and a pretty terrible computer at that. To draw the Logger Bird, I usually use reference photos of sparrows or small land birds - the kinds of birds that nobody would ever notice.
I played with the idea of the Logger Bird having red wings, but ultimately decided that this was too flashy for what the Logger Bird was meant to do. Eye-searing, depthless pink seemed right for his eyes. Later, I added in the trailing effect of his eyes to show movement and also a kind of blinking - it ended up looking quasi-mystical.
As Sam's somewhat-trusted transportational friend, Orsyn gets a lot of screen time in Tilted Sun Part 1. Of all the characters in Tilted Sun, Orsyn seems to be the most diffucult for me to draw, because, horses are weird little guys! They have all kinds of knees and ankles and their noses are pretty funny.
At one point I drew Orsyn with a full harness and bit, and decided to scrap the harness as Orsyn is more of a freewheeling wild horse.
THE TETHER ORB
Part One of Tilted Sun opens with an orb that is pursuing Sam and Orsyn. The orb is tiny, but I wanted to conceptualize it as something very front of mind - it's small and annoying, but to Sam, it takes up a huge amount of mental space. He's heard rumors about Tether Orbs but has never seen one before, and the orb won't stop following him.
How do you give an orb a personality? Given that it's just an orb for many pages, the orb relies a lot on framing to be communicated - the orb's relationship and placement versus other characters like Orsyn and Sam were the key decision points. It will all make sense later, or not, I promise.
This page below is an almost-completed concept for the world of Tilted Sun. Saturn is now a ringed sun, and Sam, Orsyn, the Orb, and the Gray Woman live on one of the moons of Saturn. In the foreground of this page, you can see the Tether Orb as a tiny dot. In the final version the orb will likely be much more noticeable.
THE STORY SO FAR....
Below is a photo of my studio in Houston in 2017 where I was working with some early layouts for part one. This was before Clip Studio Paint was released for the iPad Pro, and the comic was being made entirely in Procreate using panel templates created in Photoshop.
I liked printing out each page and hanging it up to get an overall feel for how the story would flow. After a while I translated this workflow into Photoshop, where I compiled thumbnails of each page so that I could remember which page went where. Usually, you'd do this in InDesign or in a book format in Clip Studio Paint, but since all I was doing is creating thumbnails, it worked.
I ended up adding a lot of pages in between the pages that you see depicted, and not every panel conceptualization made it into the final cut. If I didn't like something or if it did not look cool, I scrapped it. Everything changed, however, when Clip Studio Paint was released - processes like filling an area with a flat color of paint became a one click process instead of a handpainted deal. Handpainting sounds romantic until you try it with 60 pages of line art...
The next Concept-to-Panel feature will cover some of the other characters in Tilted Sun, including The Gray Woman, Sam, and the guards!