At Comic-Con International: San Diego, Print checked in with artists working in the Exhibit Hall all weekend. Print’s series “One Page,” which you can find in our magazine, features an artist describing one page they designed––whether it’s a cover or an interior.
Ten years ago, Becky Dreistadt and Frank Gibson met at Comic-Con. At their booth in the Webcomics section of the Exhibit Hall this year, the couple from Los Angeles described their processes behind a page from their webcomic series Tiny Kitten Teeth. Becky paints each panel by hand and Frank writes the dialogue. The series was collected in a hardcover book after their successful Kickstarter campaign.
What were some inspirations behind the comic?
Gibson: We just wanted to put all the things that we loved. We had fallen in love with vintage illustrations––and writers like P.G. Wodehouse and J.D. Salinger. I love coming-of-age stories and Becky loves drawing animals. The comic is about a cat going to college in a weird art school town, trying to get his shit together.
What’s happening in this scene?
Dreistadt: This is a dream sequence where he is imagining himself being really cool.
Gibson: His idea of being cool is being sophisticated. He doesn’t know what sophistication is. He’s like a small-town cat who grew up in a bakery, so he doesn’t know any of this stuff.
What was your process for composing this page?
Becky: Frank writes the pages first. For this book, we were going for a four-panel grid. I like how these two [bottom] panels work together, with the coin flip from one to the other and the dotted line for the coin flip.
The other thing too is that this is a dream sequence, so we decided to go with a different color palette for it. The color palette is influenced by the cartoon show Mission Hill. It has really cool colors in it, and whenever they have a party scene and stuff they have neon lights like this.
Most of the book is designed with a four-panel grid. What does a four-panel grid allow you to do?
Dreistadt: Because it’s all painted, it sort of made it slightly quicker. The more panels we have, the more separate painting I have to do. It was limited in that way to make it a little more manageable to do the comic.
Tell us about your painting materials.
Dreistadt: For paper, I use Hahnemühle, and I use Pebeo for the paints. It’s all by hand, and for the lettering, we eventually made a font. I printed out a font and then penciled over it. We just scan the paintings and we do some Photoshop levels and things like that.
More pages from Tiny Kitten Teeth and other work by Becky Dreistadt and Frank Gibson:
All images from tinykittenteeth.com.