Hyde Away #1, page 1, Layout Concept (pencils)

Below is the first sketch Kuba Wisniewski has sent me for my comic, Hyde Away. Below you will find the panel descriptions that got us to this place, as well as some commentary.

NOTE: I’ve removed all the captions and dialogue from the script. Below are just the panel descriptions.


PANEL 1: A hallway that leads to a dungeon cell. The floor, walls, and ceiling are all the same gray stone. An arm and hand are thrust out in front of whoever is looking down the hallway, the PoV character. The hand holds a single candle. The flame is small but brilliant at the same time. The light from it casts shadows down the hall. At the end of the hall is a shadowy door, made of metal. Near eye-level, this door has a horizontal slider, so someone in the hall could slide it open and look into the cell without entering the room. Everything about the hallway is dark, cold, and wet. A horrible place. Dirty and depressing.

(When I originally wrote this, I didn’t picture it as a stairwell. Something that I’ve been super excited about is what Kuba brings to this project of his own accord. He’s so talented, watching this come to life is amazing.

The stairwell rather than a hallways works wonderfully. It’s actually better than the description I originally wrote, in terms of thematics later in the story. Little things, like the chains hanging down on the right side of the panel, inform the reader what kind of place this is. The fluttering of the candle, with the hand in front of it, as a shield, makes the whole panel feel in motion. Furthermore, Kuba cut the whole idea of the door out of the panel, which was a great idea, as it gives readers something new in the next panel).

PANEL 2: The doorway is closer now. No hand holds a candle, but light splashes the metal door. It is neglected with rust. The wet hinges bleed a rusty red trickle.

(The door should look neglected. Something Kuba did here that I appreciate are the objects leaning next to the door, as though someone had placed them there and forgotten them. I don’t know what those items are, but it shows that nobody cares much about what’s going on down here. It’s a neglected place).

PANEL 3: A close up of the metal slider that allows the viewer to look into the room without entering it. A hand is reaching toward it, in order to slide it back.

(I wanted readers to get the sense that something or someone really dangerous was on the other side of this door. The hatch in it makes it feel as though we’re going to see some despicable monster of a human being, like Hanable Lecter). 

PANEL 4: Even closer to the slider. It has been pulled back an inch to reveal an eye as if whoever was on the other side of the door had been waiting for someone to do so. The eye is intense, almost inhuman in its form, having not seen light for so long, and now being blinded by it. A groan comes from the other side of the door.

(I believe this is where Kuba’s own interpretation and artistic sensibilities come into play the most. I’ve never written a comic script before, so, at times I have things in my head that won’t necessarily work on the page. As you can see, I had the idea that just a single eye would fill the space of the hatch opening, Kuba, on the other hand, took it further and, frankly, made the whole panel more interesting. The fingers, clawing through the hole in the door, warts or sores on the prisoners face, the wide and opened pupils of the man behind the door, tell us so much about him. However, all these details raise just as many questions. Hopefully, that’s why people will want to turn the page). 


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