A Samurai Slate adventure starts with an idea for the theme of the puns. It often starts with a pun I've read or one Carrie or I have said. It might be one that I'd like to build a story around, or just one that makes me think that there's a good theme lurking there. Although it has also been that one of us tosses out an idea for a theme and I try to figure out if there's enough pun potential afterward.
For this particular script, I had long ago thought of creating a private eye character for my funny animal universe. He would, of course, be an insect, a private fly. (I've never actually written any stories in this funny animal universe, but I have a big cast ready for it.)
The next step in creating Sam's adventure, is to start listing out all potential puns under the theme. I do this by listing down all the related words I know to have pun usage, sometimes noting ideas for them, but I also list a lot of words that don't immediately lend themselves to puns in hopes of future inspiration, which often comes. As I write and contemplate I start seeing how different puns fit together in a cohesive sequence until I get a core scenario. Some come easier than others. But I have to make sure I have some sort of conflict and resolution. Depending on the ideas generated while writing down puns, either one can come first, but usually it's the punch line that takes the longest time to come up with.
Once I have a pretty solid outline, I start to break it down to fit the format I use of a six panel page. The first panel is the title, which I tend to come up with after I've finalized the script, using a decent leftover pun. I vary the panel sizes and try to have some flow of text to fit appropriately. I may decide it's too light on puns in some place or another, or too heavily laden making it an uneven trip, so I do some polishing until I'm happy with it. Once in a while I will do some sketches on the script to help me picture how want the text to fit in context.
The start of the art is penciling the panel borders. I ink them and then do the lettering (straight to ink for that) in what I hope will be a good spot for the art. I usually have some idea of what I'm going to draw in each panel having stared at the script in all its stages for so long, and it sometimes comes out exactly as I planned.
After the lettering I see if my pencils will actually fit in the allotted space. Generally fairly rough pencils. I start tightening them up, and try to get the characters to look consistent throughout. Then final tightening with the inks. I let the ink dry at least overnight before erasing the pencils. I do touch up on the inks I messed up with my erasing.
Finally, I scan the art and do some more touch up on the computer. Mostly getting rid of the incompletely erased pencils. And I add the title.
Just so you're not too confused, this was a two page episode.