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Author Topic: Your Tools and Process!  (Read 12554 times)

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TakaComics

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Your Tools and Process!
« on: January 11, 2010, 01:36:31 AM »
Well, let's get this comic party started, as they say on "The Variants."

What do you work with? Digital or Traditional Tools? RGB or CMYK? Tablet type?
What is your process from start to finish?

I'm fully digital here at Taka Comics HQ. I sketch, ink, and color all in Photoshop CS3 on an Intuos3 6x8.

Usually, I'll start with the text. I used to do the drawing first, but I found out that I'd have to cram my text in later. Took me years to figure that one out, I don't know why. After that, I create a sketch layer in pink. Why pink? Blue works too, but pink sticks out and is easier to see when sketching from far away. After I do the initial later, I make a second (and sometimes third) sketch layer. The first is usually stick figures. The second and third help me to flesh out the characters, and make sure everything is in the right place. Next, I ink on a separate layer, usually at 200%. This helps to prevent shaky lines, especially because of my tablet size. When I color, I put a layer under the ink layer, and fill in my base colors with 200 - 220 tolerance. This keeps the colors butting up against the ink lines. I'll then make a shading layer, and sometimes a highlight layer.

I do all of this in 300dpi CMYK, but then I compress down to RGB 900px wide 72dpi for the web.

I upload through FileZilla. Great little freeware program.

Your turn!

Offline Rob

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2010, 02:11:58 AM »
Actually my art process is irrelevant as I am not an artist. I am a hack who doesn't have an artist for him and really wants to tell his stories so he is drawring and badly at that.

But I'm about to post an article suggestion that your post just brought to mind about tablets. I have one, I use one. I don't think I'm doin it right. Your comment about smooth lines is especially interesting to me as I have a huge problem with wiggle line and I understand there are settings you can make in Photoshop that mitigate this.

Also what kind/size tablet are you using? ;)

Offline Matt

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2010, 03:14:55 AM »
Back when I used to use a tablet, I used to paint on a canvas four times the size of the final size. Resizing down would make all the lines go really smooth, it's a tip I remember hearing from Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content.

Currently, I start off with non-photo blue pencils on some British brand bristol board. I handletter, and I do that with a normal graphite pencil as these are rubbed out later. I then ink with a variety of pens, one being a Pental FP10 brush pen for those lovely variable line widths, a few Staedtler pens for the thin lines, and a Faber-Castell Pitt pen or two for the larger, uniform lines. Then it's a quick rub out of the letter pencils, a scan and repair in Photoshop, and it's done.

mattstout

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2010, 09:09:31 AM »
I hand-draw my strips, and as of this month I also hand-letter.  I'm still adjusting to the lettering, but I've decided just to push on and try and get better as I practice more.

Anyway, I draw on Strathmore bristol board.  I sketch out my frames with a normal mechanical pencil.  Then I write in the letters and sketch the art with that same pencil.  After that, I ink with Fiber-castell Pitt pens.  I letter with the S pen and I ink my art with the F pen, usually.  I change it up as I need to for different thicknesses.  After I've got everything inked, I erase my pencils and scan.  Unfortunately, I don't have that nice of a scanner, it's a Kodak 3-in-1 printer/copier/scanner.  But it gets the job done.  I scan my images at 600 dpi, grayscale.

The rest I do in Photoshop, which is basically just coloring.  I use the bpelt extension for flattening my colors, but other than that it's nothing out of the ordinary.

Offline Pete

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2010, 10:19:54 AM »
Until recently, I did all of my line art in ink.  I did all four panels on 11x14 Bristol board, first with a light pressing of a mechanical pencil and then with different sized Micron ink pens.  I used to start off with non-photo blue pencils, but they annoyed me (honestly, I can't remember why, I just remember not wanting to use them anymore).  I would then scan in each panel individually and pull them into Photoshop for coloring and shading.  I would raise the levels of the line art to make it darker, and then use multiply layers for colors and shading (and a soft light layer for highlights).  Then I would resize each panel, arrange them in a 2x2 panel template, and voila.

Now I do my line art with Illustrator, which has given my comic a bit of a different look.  The upside to this is that now I can cut down on the costs of Bristol board and pens, and I can work on the comic from my day job (during lunch or while I'm waiting for my ride).  Once I have the line art done in Illustrator, I copy and paste it into Photoshop as a Vector Smart Object, resize it to pit the panel, and then rasterize it to clean it up.  The process for coloring is still the same.

EDIT:  Forgot to mention that for both my old and my new way of doing the comic, I hand letter.  I thought about using a font, but it just doesn't mesh well with my comic.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 10:21:58 AM by Pete »

Offline WilliamHuntJr

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2010, 10:44:58 AM »
I use a bamboo tablet and Illustrator cs3 to do my art work on my strip. I save at 122.percent and high jpg 70. I do thumbnail what I want to see by hand first. I do prefer to use illustrator over photoshop because of the vector benefits, being able to blow up a drawing to use on a poster or for a sign comes in handy. Coloring I use illustrator for some things photoshop for others, just depends on the project. As for my system I prefer pc's there cheaper to build and as long as you have good virus software and don't surf porn on it a pc will take care of all your needs cheaply and that's a good thing for a starting artist.
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Offline TTallan

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2010, 12:38:02 PM »
I'm another one of those still using the old tools-- pencil, ink, paper, etc. My original pages are 11" x 17", and I ink mainly with a brush. I use Rapidograph tech pens for borders and lettering, and I'll pull out the crowquill dip pen when I need some fine detail.

I've recently started adding some tone to the art with Photoshop. And when I have to colour (I hate colouring! :P), I'll do that in Photoshop, too.

Offline t_iii

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2010, 01:43:00 PM »
I produce Fera pages completely digitally using Photoshop CS2 and a Wacom Cintiq 12WX.

I have the page size set up so that its a one click process when creating a new file. And the page layout is a simple macro function which sets up the page footer, background and border.

I normally work with a dark grey background and my initial sketch layer is drawn in white.

Once I've put together a basic layout I normally start inking in black on a layer above the rough.

Once I have a finished inks layer I normally intend to use Bpelt (a nice PS filter that really does save time on flats) to produce random flat colours that I slowly replace with the correct ones. I say "intend" simply because my lineart has never been the neatest in the world so 8/10 times I end up painting in most of the colours by hand.

As for backgrounds I tend to play around with various default brushes and some of my own custom ones until I get the effect I'm looking for.

All of thats done at 300dpi  and compressed down to 700px wide @ 72 dpi for the web.

Oh and I upload through WinSCP.

I do some traditional work every now and then, normally for related artwork etc. and thats mostly pencils and then inked using a nib pen and indian ink.
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Offline Vegarin

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2010, 02:42:58 PM »
I work digitally.  Intuos 4 (med) on photoshop CS4.  I'm sure it's in RGB cause I don't remember changing it on my template file, otherwise I usually do my personal projects in CMYK.  I work on a canvas that is 4x bigger than the actual comic size and at 600dpi.  I'm thinking about raising the res though.  I use this cms called Comikaze.  I like it a lot however I had to do A LOT of editing of it's code to get the RSS to work right.  Some other features I would like to use may deserve the same treatment for it to work sadly.

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Offline Nuke

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2010, 08:56:34 PM »
Underling is also done completely digitally. I work at 4x display resolution(which translates to a rough comic book size at 450dpi coincidentally)

I start on a white background, plan the comic out with boxes and stick figures and text, draw the panels and speech bubbles in, then draw a sketch layer and then a final inking layer.

Once I have a final inking layer I start a color group below that and fill in the flat colors on their own layer then shade on a new layer. If it's an especially complicated background I have planned, I'll often draw it on a separate document then bring it over, just because I like doing scenery.

I upload straight to the site and work in RGB. My comics are absolutely optimized for screen display over print, and I'll probably go back through and touch up the deeper colors if I ever go to print. Inefficient, I know, but I can't figure out any other way to get the most out of both without compromise.

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Offline Mari

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2010, 12:13:08 AM »
I make shizentai fully digitally as well. I use photoshop and my Wacom Intuous 3.

First I decide how I want the panels to be positioned. Next I move onto what to put in them. I also like to sketch in another color...sometimes. Green, blue or orange are my favorite sketch colors but I like to do them in grey periodically just to shake things up. Then again half the time I skip the sketch entirely and jump right to line art. Either way, I usually write words and bubbles in after the line art. Then I put color on two layers: 1 background colors, 2 foreground.

I make my image resolution 300 DPI (for printing) but display for web at 600 pixels wide. It's supposed to be 72 DPI as well, but I always forget to save it that way, so 90% of the pages are really 600 pixels wide with 300 DPI.

Offline Mutt

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2010, 12:18:15 AM »
I'm 100% digital.  MacPro 8core and my trusty 10 year old Wacom Intous 6x9.   I used to use Illustrator CS3 for pencils and ink, but now I use MangaStudio 4 EX and export to Photoshop CS3 for coloring and web output.  

Offline Rob

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2010, 10:33:24 AM »
I make shizentai fully digitally as well. I use photoshop and my Wacom Intuous 3.

First I decide how I want the panels to be positioned. Next I move onto what to put in them. I also like to sketch in another color...sometimes. Green, blue or orange are my favorite sketch colors but I like to do them in grey periodically just to shake things up. Then again half the time I skip the sketch entirely and jump right to line art. Either way, I usually write words and bubbles in after the line art. Then I put color on two layers: 1 background colors, 2 foreground.

I make my image resolution 300 DPI (for printing) but display for web at 600 pixels wide. It's supposed to be 72 DPI as well, but I always forget to save it that way, so 90% of the pages are really 600 pixels wide with 300 DPI.

Wow seriously? It's hard to believe we are using the same tools. I would have thought your process much more old school from the look of your art. Kinda makes me feel like I'm using your brain surgery implements to crack open walnuts.  :P

Offline Mari

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2010, 03:29:15 PM »
Wow seriously? It's hard to believe we are using the same tools. I would have thought your process much more old school from the look of your art.

Well, I went and said "full digital," but then again, I do actually paint all the watercolors and ink paintings seen in the comic the old-school way. I then photograph them, filter them, and then add them into the digital work.   ...So I guess it's really more like 95% digital. lol

Come to think of it, there was also one panel where I disliked the texture of a rock that I was making in photoshop, so I printed it out, crinkled it around and wet it a little bit, took a photo of the mashed up paper, put it through the "cut out" filter, then used that to underlay the shading I had already done... but that's mostly because I'm a little bonkers.

Offline Rob

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2010, 03:43:00 PM »
And the monkey cracks another walnut.  :-\