It wasn't that long ago that Jake Wyatt started Necropolis, a new fantasy webcomic that quickly became one of my favorite things to read. In the strips published so far, Wyatt shows off an incredibly engaging fairy tale style that blends the sinister bargains of its main character with some of the most beautiful pages of the year.

Unfortunately, the comic hit a delay in updates thanks to a cross-country move, but rather than leaving his readers waiting for the next few pages without anything to tide them over, Wyatt has taken the opportunity to share some of his design process --- including full short stories that he made to test out the Third Sword's look.

 

 

In a series of posts called Design Interludes, Wyatt has shared a very astute theory on character design:

 

If you want to test a design for animation or comics, the best test is to just animate it or put it in a comic. I started thinking about the story of this girl traveling through graveyards. Why she was there, what sort of dangers she would face, etc. I worked out a rough story while I drew a few more test comics (I’ll post those next week). The tests worked out whether she could fight convincingly with that coat on (from a purely visual perspective), how the fabric would work in the wind, whether the design held up in close-ups and medium shots. And as I went I adjusted the design bits at a time. Filled in gaps of things I hadn’t had to draw in previous comics. And there’s some stuff I’m still missing. Gaps waiting to be filled.

 

The results of that experiment are two pretty fantastic short stories that, while not quite tied into the ongoing story of Necropolis, are well worth a read.

 

 

Drawing a full story - even a short one - just to test out a character design seems like an awful lot of work, but as Wyatt's pages so far will attest, it certainly pays off.

Necropolis updates on Wednesdays.