Small World – Page 1


Update 09-10-2015: Hi guys, I’m terribly sorry for the lack of updates. I’ve been buried in freelance projects (which is a wonderful thing). Once the dust settles a bit, I’ll be returning to Small World. Thanks for your patience 🙂

The first page of Small World is finally out! Because we love sharing behind-the-scenes stuff, Jordan agreed to include the original script below to document the process of adapting words into panels. I’m not only thankful for Jordan’s original ideas but also for providing such a well-organized and detailed script which allowed me to fully focus on the art. Also, he left plenty of room in his writing for a generous amount of creative freedom and I had a blast running with his ideas.

Small World

Written by Jordan Kirian

Illustrated by Angela Zhang

Page 1-4 panels

Panel 1

A wide shot of the model town. At this distance, we don’t know it’s a model. Herman has spent quite some time building this thing, so there’s detail, and it’s big. We’ll only see a fraction of it. We only see landscaping, buildings no people or cars.


Agoraphobia – An abnormal fear of being in crowds, public places, or open areas.

Panel 2

A close up on a row of typical houses, side by side. However, there’s a gap between two of them, indicating there is a missing house. In this shot we’ll focus mostly on landscape and these little houses.

Panel 3

The focus is now on Herman’s hands. In one he holds the little missing house, and in the other a paintbrush. He’s doing some touching up, to make the model look its best. This one can be a smaller frame, unless you want to give a little more of his actual background. But if you get closer, you can really detail those ol’ hands of his.


Ah, completed. Finally.

Panel 4

Let’s zoom out now, Herman is sitting at his work desk surrounded by his tools and other miscellaneous parts of the model. Things are scattered about, as he has everything he might need. You know how messy it can get to make stuff. He’s smiling.

Ah yes, I know how messy it can get and I’m sure most creatives would agree. Here are a few notes on the creative process behind page one: 

  • The first page actually takes up two pages in a standard comic book format (6.625 in x 10.25 in). The idea of making the model town the backdrop allowed me to indulge in the details for the purpose of blurring the line of reality and imagination which is central to the story.
  • Since I knew we were dealing with a town that will reappear throughout the story, I created a 3D model in SketchUp which can be used over again to capture different shots. It was a time consuming process, not only in building the town in 3D but also painting over the shots digitally to integrate them with the 2D illustrations. Overall I’m happy with the results and learning a program like SketchUp is definitely helpful for future projects.
Black and white shot of the model town in SketchUp

I hope you enjoyed reading page one of Small World. We would love to hear any thoughts you have so far!

32 thoughts on “Small World – Page 1

  1. This really draws me in – I’m a sucker for anything miniature, so this has massive appeal. What a good idea to show us both the frames and the script, and explaining how you’ve approached it; I have never thought about how that might work… fascinating. Thanks! 🙂

    1. Michael thanks so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to visit my humble blog.

      Haha! I know exactly what you mean about the tactility of images. That’s why I’m determined to work in traditional media as much as I can. Heck if I had the space, I would have build the town in cardboard 🙂

      1. THAT would be so very cool if you did! 😀 I could just see you working out the detail and the lighting! LOL! Wonderful.

        You are most welcome. It’s a true pleasure to do so 🙂

    1. Aggie, it’s great to hear that you’re familiar with SketchUp. It’s not the most intuitive program and it took me a month on and off just to finish the model town. You are right, some of the houses are copies. Once you get used to SketchUp, it’s a lot of fun and my favourite tool as it feels like drawing in 3D!

      1. I have only used it quite simply to import satellite maps of the farm into Google – which was not simple, but produced detailed topography. Thanks, Zangah. I have just gotten used to 2d with Inkscape. I’ve put SketchUp next on the list.

      2. I’d love to see your inkscapes! Are they posted on your blog or elsewhere? Also, you’ll have to let me know once you delve more into SkethcUp 🙂

      3. Oh yes I remember seeing this on your blog. The name inkscape conjured images of a landscape painted in ink so I was thinking of something quite different! Haha! Thanks for linking… speaking of which I hope other folks here will take a look at your beyond-organic-farm blog I think what you guys are doing is really great!

    1. Leslie thanks so much for reading and for your kind words. 🙂

      I’m really looking forward to seeing more of your stunning entomology illustrations!

  2. So so excited for this! Keep going Z!!! The typography a bit small and a little difficult to read, had to pull the screen closer to my face after expanding the image. Skills….Sketchup!!! What!!!!

    1. Cy! My friend, so glad to see you on here 😀 Thanks for the note on the typography you wonderful designer you. I’ll keep the image for now to show process and fix the text in the editing phase after the story is done.

      Yes, sketchup is pretty fun to use once you get the hang of it 🙂

  3. I think your work is amazing, do you have any encouraging words for my friend who is upcoming comic artist in is yet to break into massive world of online art.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, really appreciated! 🙂

      Encouraging words for an upcoming comic artist – wow what a great topic which I can devote a whole post to. I think the path of many artists is filled with a lot of struggle, uncertainty and self-doubt so a huge part of the journey is developing a healthy mindset. You have to love what you’re doing and willing to find the time to practice and improve regardless of whether the rewards come or not. The massive world of online art is really competitive but there are also more opportunities and advantages for artists these days to actually make a living off their work. I would suggest checking out the Paper Wings Podcast which is a great free resource for comic artists:

      Truly wishing your friend the best. If he/she has a blog or website, I would love to check out their work.

      1. I think she would really appreciate, an entire post dedicated to the self improvement and higher achievement of digital art. Well more than once she had been rather worry if her comic, will be enjoy by others or if it get too preachy. here is one her first and currently still going work

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