When it comes to beginning the process of getting the story panels onto the page, different artists have different methods, but the most common is to work up "thumbnails" - sketch versions of the pages on smaller sheets of paper. Sometimes these thumbnails will be A4 (227mm x 210mm) or even A5 (210mm x 113mm). They can vary in the degree of detail included. The thumbnails are then transferred to the full-size page, so the real work can begin. Veteran Green Lantern artist Gil Kane always uses thumbnails, whether working on interior comic pages or on covers. The initial thumbnails are often an accurate indication of what the final work will look like
     
Swamp Thing 8 (1975)



Here's an example of a thumbnail rough by cult artist Berni Wrightson, from his career-making run on DC's Swamp Thing. Wrightson establishes the placement of the main figures, the lighting and the "camera angles" but little else.
  Swamp Thing 8 (1975)



In the final page the backgrounds have been added but the inked art has follows the thumbnail sketch remarkably accurately. Wrightson has also remembered to leave sufficient space for the speech balloons.
  Uncanny X-Men 95 (1975)



Kane's technique here is to solve the tricky layout in a thumbnail before spending any time on the final drawing. Roll over the image to see the final published cover art
 
           
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