Behind the Scenes of Warning Label, Chapter One

Behind the Scenes of Warning Label, Chapter One

I’m going to try to do a post about Warning Label every week to coincide with the new strips. As I type this, we’re in the second week of the strip, and chapter four just went live today. So I’m going to start no with chapter one so there’s a three week buffer. No one will accidentally read spoilers here. And please, check out the strip over at WebToons if you haven’t yet.


Oops, I Did It Again

I got the opportunity to pitch some strips to Webtoons, and was thrilled to do so. They were the most interested in Warning Label, and while I was thrilled, there’s also a world of difference between the pitch and the strip. You can pitch They hit it off at the bar but then you have to figure out why and how that actually plays. No easy feat.

I had to flesh out the characters. I’ve been listening to the Do By Friday podcast, which has Merlin Mann, Alex Cox and Max Temkin. Alex and Max work at Cards Against Humanity, and fan on the games that I am, that seemed like an interesting workplace to set a story. So Danielle went there. And I love movies and the Alamo Drafthouses. I figured that would be a good place for Jeff. And it meant both of them could have convenient schedules so I could place them where I needed.

Color My World

So, Webtoons suggested that I do a limited color strip, kind of like my previous book Long Distance. Webtoons knows their business, so I decided to take their advice. But I’d already done duotones to show location. I try to do something new in each project.

I took the colors of a warning label: red, yellow and black (though, in this case, a dark brown so I could get some warm grays) and made that my template. I mixed those in the way cyan, magenta and yellow are mixed in traditional printing. That gave me a very specific palette to work with. It was limited color, but not the same as what I did before.

It did make me change some of the strip, though.

The original pitch set the story in Seattle. But the red/yellow/brown palette was stuck in my head. I thought it worked. But I couldn’t make something so sun-scorched feel like Seattle. It felt wrong. But Austin… hey, those colors work great for Austin. And I wanted to do the Alamo Drafthouse anyway. And on top of that, there are video game companies in Texas. That informed Danielle’s backstory.

My friend Bill Williams gave me some on the ground perspective that helped make it feel more like Austin. You’ll see more of that as the strip goes on.

So the Bartender Moved

From the original idea, I always wanted the bartender to be named “Ben” after my good friend Ben Thompson, writer of several history books including the Badass of the Week series (for which I’ve done some art). And Ben lives in Seattle.

But when I moved the story to Austin, Ben had to come with it.

Okay, that’s it for this one. Hope you liked it, because there will be more!