Notes on Making Comics: Faith Erin Hicks

Here are the examples of artwork and process pictures by the artist Faith Erin Hicks that we looked at during class today

About Faith Erin Hicks (From her website):

Born in the wilds of British Columbia, the young Faith frolicked among the Sasquatch native to the province before moving to Ontario at age five. There she was homeschooled with her three brothers, and developed an unnatural passion for galloping around on horseback, though never without a proper helmet (because you only get one skull). After twenty years of suffering through Ontario’s obscenely hot summers, she migrated east, and now lives beside the other ocean in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She worked in animation for a bit, and now draws comics full time. She’s not sure how that happened either.

Faith Erin Hicks on her process making Friends with Boys in 2011:

First I get a couple of books of lined notebook paper and start scribbling. I thumbnail as I write my initial script, because comics are both art and writing, and I feel (especially at the important, beginning stage) one should not take precedence over the other. So when I do my first pass at my script, I’m thumbnailing along with writing dialogue, which allows me to think about how the book will be drawn, how the characters will be interacting, how the panels will be laid out, and pace accordingly.

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This is just a more refined thumbnail, still quite small (I cut a 8 by 11 sheet of typing paper into quarters and draw one thumbnail on each quarter), where I figure out the exact layout of the page. I scan and hand these in to my editor along with the script so she can get an idea of finished artwork. This is just how First Second works, as another publisher that I’m working with right now asked for rough pencils before I went to final inks, but didn’t ask for thumbnails …. it really depends on the publisher what your process with them will be.

And here’s the script for this particular page:

Panel 1

Maggie stares at the hand.

Panel 2

Maggie (turning to Lucy): Again … the what?

Panel 3

Lucy grabs Maggie’s hand, dragging her off.

Lucy: C’mon! I’ll show you!

Panel 4

Lucy, Maggie and Alistair walk up the hill towards the graveyard. Lucy and Maggie are chattering happily.

Panel 5

Alistair is a few steps behind Lucy and Maggie as they walk through the graveyard gates, still talking.

Panel 6

Alistair smiles, partially relieved, partially amused. His sister has a friend.

Panel 7

Lucy plunges eagerly through the graveyard.

Lucy: This way!


Stage three! Pencils:fwbruff

Read the full original post.

Faith Erin Hicks, working on Nameless City in 2015:


The typed pages on the right are my outline. For me, an outline is important. It’s how I keep track of what needs to happen in the story. Mine tend to also have emotional beats (Kai is feeling angry because [reason], Rat is hungry because she’s always hungry) and some important dialogue thrown in. On the left is a spiral notebook purchased from a drugstore. That’s where I draw my rough draft of the book. When making my first draft of a graphic novel, I thumbnail and write dialogue by hand beside the thumbnails.


Note the character model sheets.


Typed Script


Architectural Reference

Examples of artwork from Nameless City, in progress:


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