Case Study: Illustrations for a cause

The WeDesign team got a gracious opportunity to design a graphic novel for an NGO. The organisation began a new project with schools for the under privileged. The client and our General Manager at the WeDesign, Ipsha Barooah, had a detailed discussion regarding their ongoing project.

The project was briefly described, with all the technical and financial details placed on the table. The client requested a few weeks to wrap up his existing exercises before he returned to us for the project. Before he temporarily went off the radar, he shared sample novels designed by former artists in their own styles. The examples shared, gave us an idea of the bar we had to reach in terms of our creativity and conceptualization.

Meanwhile, we set up an initial plan of action of the methods we had to undertake to complete the project in due time.

After 3 weeks, the client returned with the brief and the timeline expectations. The project took off immediately after the formalities were completed.

THE STARTING POINT- THE PROCESS:

The project had a script of the graphic novel. It was a 25-page script that described the character along with their physical features and the entire story set in their village. The script had dialogues mentioned on the side. The first part of the process was to design the characters- their front and side profile. The digital version was made and signed off by the client. Thereafter, the second step was to pencil sketch the storyboards as a rough draft. This would give an idea that the team understood the camera angles. In this process, we also had to note down plenty of questions for the client that would help the team understand his expectations.

In the brief, we were also informed of the most important part of the process, the book margins. The book margin had two options i.e landscape double spread and portrait double spread along with the measurements for the bleed lines. The artist was free to choose any one of the margins as per the storyboard frames she would design. 

The total duration for our first graphic novel project was to be completed in 25 days with a buffer of 5 days for correction and unforeseen circumstances. The first week was spent sketching and correcting the storyboard. The rough storyboard was assessed by the client along with his reviews and corrections. Thereafter, the final storyboard was digitally placed on photoshop. During this process, the client had to look at the details of the village sketched with the consistency of the characters. There were multiple scenes where we had conflict in terms of their clothing continuity throughout the novel. This was discussed with reference to the multiple novels that the team browsed through, during the planning stage. We decided to keep the characters in similar clothes throughout the novel in the final decision. The digital sketching was completed, and each frame was signed off by the client and his team.

 The final stage was the digital colouring of the storyboards on photoshop. For this purpose, we had three members involved. The object selections were done with precision and the colouring, shading and gradient levelling was undertaken by the head illustrator of the team, Khushbu.   Using a reference point, each character’s skin tone was set keeping their geographical location in mind. The base colouring was done for the entire novel and sent for approval to the client and his team.

The colouring met the client’s approval but smaller issues began from this point.

Before the entire process was wrapped up, the client returned with some changes that he missed out on, as we submitted the digital sketching. The scenes had to be redone again much to our dismay. This caused a delay by a day or two. As the corrections were going on, the consistency of the characters began fading away. This was an error that we made and now tried to amend it with the best of our abilities. The client pointed out consistency issues of the protagonist which we accepted with a heavy heart. Khushbu had to oversee the final corrections and provide finishing touches to the novel.

Before the final submissions, the panel spacing, and the colour correction had to be completed. This took us one business day to complete. She had to leave spaces in the panels for the client to add the dialogues. Before wrapping up the project, we submitted the source files to the client which he and his team would edit before printing.

THE CLOSURE: FINAL STAGE.

“The client was very gracious in providing us with a buffer time. Since this was the first time we were involved in a project of this kind, we had a great teamwork. This gave us a taste of the kind of bigger projects that are in loop. From the second project onward, we will have had a taste of similar projects and will better adapt to handling it,” the team members discussed.


The client was very patient with the team and only asked for occasional updates. The team had ample breathing space during the entire project. As the deadline was approaching, there were some major glitches which got our hearts pulsating. Towards the end, the project was delivered successfully. The client printed the graphic novel and provided us with a constructive feedback.

“The digital finishing of the novel is really well done. Thank you for the professional level of working and communication,” the client shared his feedback.

We are currently delighted to be associated with the client for further projects of the similar kind.