Using Photoshop I made myself some sheets to keep everything in place. This is what all 5 pages look like. Click Here to Download the PDF file from my DA page
As you can see, I've organized my thumbnails so my pagination stays true to how the reader will turn the page. The first and last page are by themselves while all the other pages are connected in the way it will be read. This will also help me if I plan to do any Two-Page-Spreads.
The first page has an area for me to fill in my Story Structure for the entire One-Shot. I've also left a huge area for me to add notes and sketches on the last page to help me flesh it out more before I start adding images to all the pages. In that area I can add my cast of characters, make sketches of them, and also sketch out some locations I'll be using in my One-Shot.
If you're a natural doodler like me, than half a page is more than enough room to jot down some quick ideas.
Once I have everything I need to know about whats going on in the One-Shot, I'll proceed to thumbnail the panels for each page. I'll also be writing down my script as I go along with that process on a separate piece of paper. Making sure I identify the dialog with each page and panel represented in my thumbnails. After that is all finished I can review my work, make sure I didn't leave any plot holes, and change things if I want.
Then it will be a matter of preference on my part. If I decide to pencil it out traditionally, I'll use these thumbnails as a guide and draw out my comic on separate pieces of paper that will 1.5 larger than the finished size. If I decide to do this all digitally, I'll scan in my thumbnails as separate images, import them into the page file I have for making a digital comic book, and have the thumbnail for each page in the background with the opacity reduced so I could draw over it.
No matter which path I decide to take, the thumbnails will be the blueprint I'll follow when I'm drawing out. In other words, I need all my attention at this stage so I don't pencil half of my One-Shot and decide to change something mid-stream.
In my guide I mentioned a little something about time management. If I spend a good week, two to six hours a day, working on my thumbnails, that should be more than enough time to flesh out the story, add dialog, and get the pages to look like the way I want them too all before I start drawing it out.
I also mention that if I follow the rule of no more than 8 panels per page, that leaves me with a maximum of 128 panels total for the whole One-Shot. I won't have that many panels, but if I spend 15 minutes drawing each panel, that gives me 32 hours to pencil out my One-Shot. That will be another week.
The last week will be all the finishing up. Inking, Coloring or Toning, and adding the Dialog. A total of 3 weeks to make a One-Shot from scratch. It's realistic and doable. But only if I make sure the thumbnails are what I want before I begin.
The thumbnail stage is the most crucial part of the whole process. That where I'll not only sketch out what the pages will look like, but write the story out at the same time. A perfect balance of writing and drawing. If I'm not sure everything is up to spec at that stage, I could find myself having half of my One-Shot penciled only to discover my story falls flat in one part, or my ending doesn't make sense. I don't want to do that.
I want to make sure my thumbnails are done correctly so I can rely heavily on artistic talent to finish up the grunt work that will follow. Any changes I make to my One-Shot after the thumbnail stage will cost me time, and time is something I don't want to waste.
Like I said before, the more One-Shots I make, the better I'll get at making them. That won't happen if I constantly go back and forth and change things to my characters, story, or the overall sequence of the scenes when I'm already penciling it. In other words I'm committed to my thumbnails once I start penciling. That will be the point of no return.
This is the tablet I used in making my thumbnail worksheets. Although it isn't it the best Wacom tablet out there, it's sort of the middle ground version. It's more advance then the Bamboo, and just as powerful as some of their more expensive models.
If your a traditional artist who wants to start going digital, this is probably the best tablet to start out with. Although the initial price is rather high, I took a chance and bought it. Keep in mind there is a learning when you start drawing completely on the computer. It took me about a year to get the hang of it, but it was a year well worth spent.
A tablet won't automatically make your work better, it's pretty much just like drawing on paper only with a different feeling to it. So don't buy one thinking your work will improve. Buy one if you want to fully utilize the extra tools digital work has for you. Also if you want to reduce the clutter around your workspace and save money on art supplies in the future.