“Buffy the Sketch Book”: behind the scenes of well-drawn characters

I bought a couple of issues
of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic while the show was still
on. They were OK, but, with the notable exception of a two-issue story
about Willow and Tara (by Amber Benson and Terry Moore), I didn’t find the series interesting
enough to add to my subscription list. Then came "Season Eight," with Joss Whedon himself at the helm, and by issue No. 2, I was hooked.

What surprised me most about
the comic was not that the dialogue and pacing were in keeping with
the show — after all, Whedon wrote it — but that the characters had
the same look and feel of their live action versions. Pleasing fans
of a cult classic isn’t an easy task, but that is exactly what artist
Georges Jeanty
has done.

As you might expect from obsessive
Buffy
fans, no detail is too small to be noticed. When Jeanty released pencils for the cover of No. 2, for example,
it sparked a debate on Whedonesque about the appropriateness of Buffy’s
sneakers. Maybe it’s just me, but when I see that picture, I don’t think
of footwear.

Capturing the likenesses of
the Scoobies — characters we saw in action for seven seasons — is no
small task. Jeanty spoke to Comic Guide about the challenge.

"I think it’s the likenesses
that have taken me that much longer to finish an issue. I really sweat
over them, but Joss Whedon told me something that really set me on the
right path. He said he didn’t want the characters to look like photographs
and have that stiffness. He said I don’t want you to draw Sarah Michelle
Gellar
, I want you to draw Buffy. Which just clicked with me. I
still struggle, but not as much."

What Jeanty does is all the
more impressive when you realize that what he gets from Whedon is a
script with descriptions of the scene. (If you aren’t familiar with
how a comic goes from script to finished page, check out Making of a Comic:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

on Dark Horse’s website to see each step.) So, I’m looking forward to
Buffy the Sketch Book
, which collects Jeanty’s thumbnails and preliminary
sketches from the first story arc of Season Eight. Georges was kind
enough to send us a few samples.

The cover for issue No. 5 started
with this.

The finished pencils looked
like this.

And here’s the printed version.

Here are pencils for one of
my favorite spreads from issue No. 1.

And the finished pages:

To see some of Georges’ other work, visit his website and tell him AfterEllen.com sent you.
Jeanty’s next collection will feature Faith — maybe Willow will get
her own one of these days. Hey, Willow, can I see your sketches?

Are you reading the Buffy comic?
What do you think of the Season Eight art? Here’s a chance to tell Georges.

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