From Comics to Film

When I first started Paradigm Shift waaaay back in 1998 (!!), I wanted to see it animated from the very start. Because of this, I made some deliberate choices about storytelling. First, if you couldn’t see it or hear it, I wouldn’t put it on the page. I deliberately thought of the panels a little like storyboards for a movie. In fact, when I’m writing scripts, the story plays out in my mind’s eye a bit like movie. It’s like tuning into my own private TV channel (or streaming service, heh) in my mind. So, in many ways, animation is actually a little closer to what I see in my head than comics.

Anyway, I want to share with you some of the key shots and scenes where I directly used the comic as storyboards in RESTLESS SLEEP. It all started with this scene for Part Two: Agitation:

Here’s how it translated to animation:

Next, we have the werewolf transformation itself. In the case of the original scene, it starts while she’s having a nightmare about waking up in a hospital, and then the scene shifts back to her bedroom. For the sake of simplicity, I just kept the setting the same in the animated version, but used some of the same basic shots for the film as a starting point.

Now, from here we veer off into brand new territory. I added a new of new shots on the fly to complete the rest of the transformation. Here’s how Kate’s full werewolf transformation looks in the film:

However, this scene ends with a shot taken from the last panel from this page in Part Three: Emergence:

Another scene I wanted to animate from the very start was the X-Files style opening scene where James Wilson meets his untimely demise. Of course, I altered the ending to have it be Kate’s beast instead of Major Bryant’s lion form. Again for simplicity’s sake.

And here’s how it appears in the film:

Next, there’s a few shots from Kate’s nightmare at the end of Part One: Equilibrium. Again, I’ve cut out the other elements of the scene, and loop back to theme of her attacking Beast form in her dreams to end the sequence.

And here’s how the nightmare turned out in the film:

The final scene begins with an almost a shot-for-shot interpretation of the final page of Part One: Equilibrium. However, I made one major change where I gave Kate a smartphone, so her conversation with Mike could happen via text. At the time, I had no voice actors lined up, so I used the texting conceit to convey the only dialogue in the film.

Here’s how it plays out in animated form:

I almost used the second part of this scene as the beginning. There’s just a couple of odds and ends shots that I pulled directly from the comic in these. First, we have Kate examining herself in the mirror:


Conversely, the opening scene where they find the body was actually the last scene I animate, since it was easily the most complicated. Originally, I was going to end the film with her finding the body and passing out. Here’s a couple of shots in the opening scene taken from the opening of Part Two: Agitation:


You can watch how it all comes together in the final film here!

Cornered — cover painting animated!

Cornered — cover painting animated!

I had the idea for this animated werewolf transformation sequence way back while I was still working on PS Part Two: Agitation. I’d been dreaming about making an animated trailer for the series, and I knew this would be the thing that would cap it off. However, I had no practical way to try to do it, but it did serve as the inspiration for the cover for Part Three: Emergence. Later on, I also made a hand-painted version that ended up being the cover to the Volume 1 collection.
Volume One Cover - "Cornered"

Painted version used for the cover of Volume 1

And here’s a couple of tests of the same animation from a couple of different angles. I thought they were pretty cool.


Why did I call the new film Restless Sleep? As I’ve mentioned, I’ve wanted to animate Paradigm Shift for a very long time. A lot of this hinged around Kate’s fateful transformation into a werewolf.

“Restless Sleep” from my sketchbook in 2002, from The Art of Paradigm Shift.

The title of the new filmRestless Sleep—actually comes from a drawing in my sketchbook that I did way back in 2002. I imagined her tossing and turning in her sleep in the lead-up to transforming for the first time. You can see it right there in the upper left hand corner.

However, with the completion of Equilibrium and the launch of, I got wrapped up with working on continuing the story instead of focusing on this side project. And so “Restless Sleep” got put in the drawer, and only existed as a series of pages in my sketchbook for 20 years.


Early transformation sketches from 2001 – Page 01

Early transformation sketches from 2001 – Page 02

Early transformation sketches from 2001 – Page 03


So, when I started playing with 3D last year, knowing that I wanted to animate Kate’s metamorphosis, this story immediately sprang to mind. The project started with a smaller scope—just animate the transformation and her going out the window into the night. And set it all to some music. But obviously I got a bit more ambitious, and it turned into the final film you see today!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the film, and if you did, please consider sharing it with your friends!</p<