Comics Like Clockwork: 'The Last Man' Team's Digital Workflow
Illustrating some 600 rendered pages a year is a formidable task for even the most seasoned comic book artists, but the Last Man team of Bastien Vivès, Balak and Mickael Sanlaville have been meeting the challenge and then some by employing a custom workflow augmented by the Cintiq Companion.
The trio's background in animation helped hone a studio environment with divisions of labor that maximize efficiency: Vivès writes the story, Balak storyboards the action and then Vivès and Sanlaville team for the finished artwork. Though their roles are defined, the team is flexible and fills needs as they arise. Part of this flexibility comes from working with the Cintiq Companion. Using Dropbox as a cloud service, the team can easily transition from their studio's Cintiq populated environment to their mobile Companions. This allows the team to efficiently bounce ideas and completed work between their brains through their devices. No matter where they go -- be it conventions or work meetings abroad -- their work can continue at the speed of their creativity.
Last Man takes place in a medieval fantasy world where magical gladiatorial games are in full swing -- like a fighting tournament for wizards. Hailing from a realm akin to our own, protagonist Richard Aldana arrives and quickly cuts through his competition using only martial arts. As the story continues, the true nature of the comic's strange world, characters and relationships begins to unravel.
The Last Man team has been creating their Shonen manga-inspired comic since 2013. Published by Casterman in the team's native France, the two-volume series has been localized in Italy, Germany, Korea and other regions. Starting in 2015, Last Man will arrive in North America care of First Second Books, with its first volume, "The Stranger," released in March, followed by volume two, "The Royal Cup," in June. These two volumes will be joined by the as-yet-unreleased "The Chase," in October, with at least three more volumes continuing into 2016.
With an animated series in development and a video game in the works as well, the Last Man team have a demanding schedule ahead of them. Unfazed, the trio intends to continue taking their work step-by-step armed with a process and outlook that continues to suit success.