The WIP: Brilliant

Welcome to another segment of, The Work In Progress. This time I will discuss my thinking and design process which helped create the philosophical comic titled, “Brilliant.”

The original creation of this comic actually started with the idea of a zine: easily assembled with delicious scraps of ideas thrown in to produce a mini-magazine of personal reflections. What I enjoyed would be plastered onto pieces of paper. Two of the biggest interests of mine include art and philosophy. Art is already being implemented, so I decided to add the theme of philosophy. It is always important to work on projects that you are interested in so that you become engaged to a higher degree in what you’re working on and produce exquisite pieces.

The above pictures show my character design of Charles and Matthew. I have been experimenting with the form of the human body within comics since I was in elementary school, so these two have become some of the best characters that I have designed for a while. I feel as if it was finally time to give them a back story. The body structure, composition, accessories, and expressions all can have different parts to describe the personality of each character. For example, the large backpacks and young body show that they are high school students. The half-closed eyes of Charles show that he doesn’t care about the status quo and that he’s easy going. Matthew is never arched over and has big wandering eyes which shows that he is attentive but shy. Always establish good characters or a character to engage the audience in a story, otherwise wherever you place your characters, the scene will always be boring and dull.

comic whole72ppiThe easy assembly would come in hand when distributing them to others, so hand held zines were constructed from a large tabloid paper which would be folded accordingly. To make things easier for me, I drew my pages directly on a tabloid paper. Professionally this would be done differently, but originally as a zine it was perfect for me, and it continued to work out perfectly as I went into the comic book stages. The picture above shows a few of the original comic pages where readability, frame design, and overall design were main factors which I didn’t fully take into account for my zine project.


The story is the second most important element next to character design. My thought process on story telling can be quite different from others. I can remember in elementary school I wrote stories and told tales with my friends and family. Watching movies and reading books gave me experience in constructing a good plot and keeping the audience engaged. Of course, high school and college gave me definitive knowledge on the psychology of the human mind. Doing something like this for years leaves me with a “natural” ability to create good stories on the spot. When creating “Brilliant” I created storyboards which were filled in well with the right amount of information and engagement, eventually leading to a satisfying ending all filled within twelve pages. I knew once creating my zine that I wanted to create more, so I left “Part 1” at the end. Once I started on “Part 2,” I created the title color wheel. The first part included the lady bug (red) while the second part included a dead leaf (orange). If you could guess already, the continuing parts would follow with yellow, green, blue, then purple with images that can have a deeper meaning once thought about. The ladybug shows how small, yet intricate and beautiful it is. The dead leaf leaves a mark on the fragile nature of what once was full of life, sacrificing itself to save the life a tree among the thousands of other leaves which fell (plus it fits the October theme).

Brilliant Part 2

Apart from the final production, that’s basically all there is to it. If you are interested in making zines or comics, then it really doesn’t feel like rocket science anymore. Having an engaging story and characters within a well-designed sequence will more than likely bring about a successful masterpiece which several people will relate to.

Please leave a comment below if you have any critiques or comments, or simply just LIKE and SHARE!

For more, visit Tristan’s Website

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