The workflow of the Foolish Lego comic – Season 1

April 15, 2016

Many readers asked me what my workflow is on the Foolish Lego comic. This post will bring you a general answer to how I worked on chapter one. These days I have a very different workflow.

The Foolish Lego comic has been a learning school for me. One thing that in hindsight didn’t do me any favors was that I didn’t have a clear script for this comic. I had a general idea of where it is going and of specific plot-aspects, but I didn’t know where the comic was going from episode to episode. The biggest problem with this was that the comic turned out to be pretty unbalanced and sometimes dragged. Besides this, I sometimes started a mystery without knowing where it was going. On the other hand, it gave me some freedom shooting each episode and I notice some jokes came to me the moment I was working on the episode.

Oh, one other problem the absent general script gave me, was that I had little time to build sets… that got me in trouble from time to time so sometimes I stayed in a scene too long because I had to find time to build a new set.

For the next installment of the comic, I will have a script though (more on that in another blog-post). Well, enough on this, now on to the workflow.

The workflow was straightforward.

  • The evening before publication:
  • I wrote the script for one or a few episodes
  • I put together the panels in text, without the images
  • I shot the photos
  • I did a bit of post-production
  • The photos went into the comic
  • Some resizing
  • Upload with a brief text

The writing of the script was (and is) the most time-consuming part. Only the story-arc where Willy and Amida were in Willy’s mind was very heavy on the effects, which took a LOT of time, so I was happy when that arc was over.

The script for one or a few episodesWorkflow chapter 1 comic

I used ‘Scrivener’ to do this. An incredible versatile piece of software which I didn’t use to its full power.

In each episode I tried to achieve a few things. At the very least, it had to be on route towards the end that I had in mind. And I try to give the episode a surprising or interesting end-panel.

Writing the text, I also imagined the scenes going along with it.

Creating the panels in text, without the images

Workflow chapter 1 comicI did this to get an idea of space in the panels. This sometimes changed the way I shot the photos and helped me envision the scenes. I’m terrible at drawing, otherwise I would’ve done this in the scriptwriting-phase. I use the “comic-life 3” software for this by the way.

Shoot the photos

For shooting the photos I used a Pentax K5-IIs combined (mostly) with a 100mm macro-lens. I shot the photos in Raw-format (DNG-files).

Workflow chapter 1 comic

When I first started the comic, I used to shoot these photos all around the house, sometimes even in the backyard in the sunlight. These days I have a small ‘studio’ in the basement. It’s a multifunctional room, really. My daughter played there, my wife worked out, and I shot the comics.

The reason I wanted a studio is to get the circumstances the same in each photo, mostly lighting-wise. Also, it is good to have a place where you can leave your stuff lying around.

A bit of post-production

Workflow chapter 1 comicI use Adobe Photoshop and NIK-software to do this. (sadly google bought the NIK software, and made it free to use recently… an ominous sign that in the near future it won’t be developed anymore, so hopefully I am really wrong on this one). I also checked contrast, sharpness etc.

workflow chapter 1 lego comic


When elaborate, this part takes a lot of time. Especially the first time I use a specific effect. The first time I still need to fabricate the effect (I mostly use Photoshop-tutorials on the Internet, in books or magazines for this.).


The photo’s go into the comic

This used to be the easiest part. I just dropped them into the panels I prepared in phase two. Sometimes I changed the text a little.

If my wife was around, she got to proof-read the episode, which sometimes led to a change of text and sporadically even to a new photo being shot.

I saved the episode as a comic-life and jpg-file.

workflow chapter 1 lego comic

Some resizing

The original file is too large to go on the internet so I resized it to 1020 x 656 pixels (that used to be 850 x 546pixels). I tried to keep the file-size maximally between 500 and 600kb in order to keep loading times on the site as short as possible.

Upload with a little text

For the final part I uploaded the episode to my website (Wordpress combined with the (free but worth a donation) plugin comic-easel.

I scheduled it for publication!


Toy photography - Mr Dark Knight

Mr Dark Knight

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