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Author Topic: Your Tools and Process!  (Read 12551 times)

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Offline GaborBoth

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2010, 08:37:44 AM »
I got Genius Mousepen tablet and use Paint Tool SAI (seems I'm alone about this here?).
,,People never grow up, they just learn how to act in public."

Offline Miluette

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2010, 09:52:47 AM »
Right now things are 100% digital. It's easy in that I don't have to find a place for sketches or spend money on pens; it's hard in that my back/shoulders can't handle being at the PC so much. :o

I use a combination of Photoshop and PaintTool Sai along with my tablet (Wacom Graphire4) to create both my comics. Both also use the massive amounts of texture resources I've collected from everywhere and linked to on all my art-related sites.

Right now Millennium is 6x9 @300dpi (a different proportion than pages I've been doing up until now) and Lovefeast is, uh... I think 150% or 200% of its print size (5.5x7) @600dpi. They do a number on my PC's memory/processor, but oh well, getting a new PC soon anyway.

Offline teh hchano

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2010, 07:41:37 PM »
I doubt I have anything new to say in this thread =(

I use Intuos 3 and Photoshop...

And I always sketch out thumbnail pages really small[450x665] ,
cos that is how I naturally prefer to draw. On paper, use a 5x8
paper...and then use only like 65% of the page lol...

Other than that, I dunno what else to say... I actually made vids
of me working on the chapter 3 cover:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa8uiQBC-oI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pJF9Fvcm0E

but I've already changed my technique a bit...so they are
outdated =( And everyone complained they go too fast anyway
xD...but I had to keep with the music!!? It was so upbeat! XD

I am a really visual person, and I can't imagine I am the only one...
so you guys should totally just post progress shots.

- it's a comic, ya'll 8D

Offline Phlip

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2010, 01:16:21 AM »
(Hi group.)

Firstly, some splashes:



(From http://zeekland.zeroplayer.com/Pigleg_Too/23, but u really ought to start at the beginning!)

That was pre lightbox. Here's a more recent snapshot:



And finally:



Let's call the style "organic, controlled chaos". Here's the process:

  • scribble ideas, when they occur, into a paper notebook. incomplete things like "...and his GF is a literal freak on a leash, but they are happy together"
  • assemble plots by forcing diverse ideas together. The point is to layer enough absurdly different concepts together that they force a trick ending to emerge. Think of old Star Trek Next Generation episodes, with dual sub-plots that come together in the end
  • type final scripts into a txt file in a common folder (I never have too look for it)
  • if a dialog balloon will be typeset, open WinWord and use the free WEBLETTERER BB font. It serifs uppercase I correctly (for I only!), its bold weight is bigger & slanted, and it does { } as splat marks -> <-
  • center the typeset, and narrow the margins until it wraps correctly
  • Pencil onto cheap quarter-inch quadrille graph paper. Take care when you buy it to hold a sheet to the light and check the lines on both sides of each sheet are aligned!
  • Zoom WinWord, and measure each dialog block with your thumb on your pencil, and pencil empty dialog balloons around where it will go
  • pencil any hand-lettered text, action indicators, callouts, and sound-effects here
  • frame panels, dialog balloons, and callouts along the graph paper, and pencil dialog text into the half-inch rows of the graph paper
  • pencil through the figures, completing lines the user can't see, both behind objects and outside the frames. This forces objects to line up correctly
  • fix the pencil until it closely matches where the ink will go. (really!)
  • turn on a 11x17 inch lightbox
  • put an 8x11 sheet of "cardstock" paper on top of the graph paper. This paper is thinner than bristol board - the best for wet ink cartooning - but that's expensive, and you can get cardstock with a hard semi-gloss surface that does not weep or bleed too much
  • holding the paper flat, start inking at the hand-lettered text, so you get it down before the paper starts warping
  • Ink dialog with a wet dipping pen - the kind with a plate over its nib that traps ink - with a 1/16th inch chisel nib
  • use only water-soluble ink - so you can clean your table & hands!
  • draw dialog balloon outlines until the pen runs out
  • ink thin lines, whispers, etc, with a modern roller-tip pen
  • dip a long thin pointy paint brush in the ink, and "sharpen" the point on scratch paper until it pulls a smooth line
  • ink panel borders with the brush
  • ink the characters with the brush, until enough thick lines are down. Ink from front to back
  • turn off the lightbox
  • finish inking, and add hatching with a roller tip pen. Fill in gaps in the brush work, and fix places where the brush didn't perform correctly! Use the pen to impersonate brush work...
  • forget erasing! There's no pencil under the ink. You have gone from roughs to hard inks in one instant step
  • flap the cardstock paper onto a scanner
  • scan in "line-art" mode, at 600 DPI, and save to a common filename
  • write a batch file (!) that passes the common filename into a vectorizer, such as potrace or autotrace, then sizes it correctly
  • the batch file pops the file up in MSPAINT. use that to clean-up and recomposite things, remove excess black, and fill in excess white
  • reduce the Zoom in WinWord, and rip out the typeset text with a screen grabber program that does regions
  • paste the text into the dialog balloons in MSPAINT, remembering to turn on the transparent-white feature
  • use GIMP to add colors & special effects
  • add a number to the end of the file, and throw the result into the buffer folder, awaiting publication!

I have tried to use modern art tools (I'm an advanced "GUI" programmer for garsh-sakes), and even with a graphics tablet I can't rip thru the panels faster than this technique...
« Last Edit: February 12, 2010, 01:30:03 AM by Phlip »

Offline jeffa

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2010, 10:18:44 AM »
My process is very, very similar to yours (and I'm a programmer as well).

The one thing I never thought of is using graph paper. Seems like an obvious choice once you said it.

What I do instead, is print off a template that has the outer lines of the panels and the logo for the comic.

I also have a sheet that has my lines for dialog that I can put behind the template sheet. I pencil in everything on that template sheet since like you I don't plan to ink over the pencil.

From their we are very similar. Instead of a light box, I have a homemade light table. I had left-over lexan from a project and some composite hard board, so I just routed out an opening where I could pop in the lexan. I use architect's tape (remarkably like plain ole brown tape) to attach my pencil rough to some bristol board. I like having them attached so I can spin them around and hit different angles without worrying about registration.

I use some PITT artist pens to do my borders. I trace over the lines of the template onto the bristol. Lately I've been using those pens to do my lettering as well. Much faster than using the dip-pen. I still like the results better on the nib with India Ink.

Next I ink my scenes. I prefer to do it with a brush, but it takes great concentration not to screw that up. I tried doing a recent comic with the PITT brush pen and I hated how it turned out. The vast bulk of my Funzietown stuff was done entirely with the nib pen with solid black areas filled in with the brush. My favorite brush for filling large areas? A wide Crayola brush I cribbed from my kids supply of stuff they didn't use any more.  ;D My main brush is a #4 Round that I picked up at Hobby Lobby (also the source of all my bristol, etc.). Although there are better art supply stores in Atlanta, none are close to me.

I come back in and do shading with a set of Staedtler technical pens.

From there it is a scan and clean up process.

I use GIMP occasionally, but my main tool is Paint.Net. It is just a bit easier to use for simple stuff.

I upload directly into my comic/blog software that I wrote using aps.Net MVC. It has a few niceties like holding a buffer and only showing stuff on its pub date, and suggesting the next pub date when you upload, etc. Still very much a work in progress, but I like it better than my last system which I wrote in asp.net webforms. To be fair, I stopped working on that version when I started learning MVC.

Once I decided that a) I have no readers and b) I will never make money at this, I began to experiment a lot more. Some have been successful, some dreadful (curse you PITT Brush pen, followed by coverting everything to pure black on the computer!!!), but since I have no one to complain, it doesn't matter. That is liberating.

The one thing I did significantly differently was my Gun Baby On The Moon Hunting Dinosaurs. I inked that completely on the computer using Microsoft Expression Design 3 and my mouse. NOT an optimal way to draw, but it's what I have. Design is Microsoft's attempt to make an Illustrator like program. No where near as good as Illustrator, but better than nothing. I think with a Wacom tablet I could get used to inking digitally, but I really do like ink and bristol. I enjoy that process. Since I'm not doing it for money and readers, I might as well do what I enjoy.

Offline Phlip

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2010, 10:38:05 AM »
I have a homemade light table.

/Mi esposa loca/ would kill me. I'm barely allowed to have a studio as it is!

But I thought of the "print out square panels and lightbox them". In theory one could block everything out in MSPAINT or Comic Life, print, lightbox, and ink away. That would cure the "cramped, awkward lines" problem that straight tablet-to-Photoshop causes. (Y'all know who you are!) But I also don't have a 11x17 printer or scanner. Those things are professional-only, not priced for consumers. And that's how the Marvel guys do it these days.

(Cool story, bro!)

Offline Hazumirein

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2010, 12:57:36 AM »
My process is...pretty straightforward. I have a "script", actually written in story format because that's easiest for me. It's not spectacular writing by any means; I mostly focus on dialogue and what the characters are doing (and occasionally where they are and such).

For actual pages, I just sketch in regular mechanical pencil on plain 8.5x11 printer paper XD. Then I ink with a set of Staedtler sketch pens, and erase the pencil lines with whatever eraser I have handy at the moment. Then I scan the pages in at 300dpi, and pull them up in Photoshop (CS4). I resize/crop the pages to 2499x3540 pixels, change the image mode to grayscale, and adjust the levels to make the ink lines darker and whatever other smudges are left on the page lighter. Then, I use my handy Wacom Intuos3 6x8 tablet, and work my way down the page, adding the panel borders (because I can't ink a straight line to save my life, with or without a ruler) and cleaning up the lineart.

When that's all clean and crisp (and I've fixed all my little mistakes, haha), I do all my flat tones (on different layers) by selecting all the areas in which one tone goes with the magic wand, and expanding the selection by 2-3 pixels. Then, I paint bucket the tones in. After the flat tones are done, I cell shade them by making a new layer above each flat, grouping to the flat, setting it to multiply, and using the selection tool to lasso tool to select the areas that need shading. Then it's the paint bucket again, with (usually) the same tone as the flat. After that, I grab a soft brush and the pattern stamp tool, and soften up the cell shading. (I treat toning a LOT like I treat coloring XD)

Then, I put in the text (Anime Ace 2.0 font) and do the speech bubbles all on one layer (usually), drawing them with the lasso tool, filling them in white with the paint bucket, and putting a 6 pixel stroke on the layer.

Finally, I copy the whole thing (layers merged) to a new file, resize it to 706x1000 pixels, and put on the page number and all that stuff. Then it's "Save for Web", and that's it.

...Ok, that was a lot of unnecessary detail. ^^; Whoops.

Offline Gar

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2010, 01:21:11 PM »
I do my character pencils at work on a ruled A5 notebook (office supplies, yay!) using an HB mechanical pencil. I used to trace over them on just ordinary copier paper using a Mitsubishi UniPin Fine Line pen, and then for the last couple of months a Parker fountain pen I got. Scan it in at 300dpi and shrink it down and arrange it into my panels in photoshop before doing the colouring and lettering. I'm currently using Sunday Comics from BlamBot.

I got a 15-inch Cintiq (PL550, one of the older models with a 1024x768 display), so lately I've been scanning the pencils in directly, then arranging them in photoshop and tracing over them on a new layer before getting rid of the pencils. I draw big on the tablet, then shrink 'em down. Colour's done with the paint bucket tool in photoshop, and for shading I just put a multiply layer on top and colour in where I think shadows should be with about a 20% grey.

The ruled paper is kind of a throwback to where I learned to draw...in the margins of my schoolwork.  I just can't draw as well on a blank sheet of paper. Probably a cross between having the lines as proportion guides and just a comfort thing.

Offline Fatolbaldguy

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2010, 11:28:08 AM »
Time is not my friend. I insist on trying to produce three strips a week. (I don't alway succeed). That means I have to use whatever works for a given situation. I can do some drawing at work but I can not have my computer in the work space. In that case I draw the panels on copier paper in photo blue pencil, ink with coptic markers and scan when I get home. If I am at home or traveling I draw using my tablet in photoshop, blue pencil layer, cleanup layer, and Ink layer. Then I color shade and letter all in photoshop. I like to draw on the back ground I am going to use which lately has been a sketchup 2D image. I have been experimenting using illustrator but so far it slows me down too much although I do like the results. Because I am forced to travel alot I can put my whole "Studio" into my backpack and take it with me. I have done more than one comic in an airport sitting on the floor by a gate. I one spent a day in a hospital waiting room and worked on strips. You get and audiance doing that kids love it. I could probably do prettier work if I did fewer strips but for me telling the story is as important as the art.

Offline Knara

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2010, 01:08:29 PM »
These days I do everything on the Cintiq, "pencils" first, then inks and shading.  All in Photoshop.  This wasn't as much of a change from the pre-Cintiq days as it may seem, as I'd been moving to all-digital production when I was using my Intuos 3.

Previously, though, I'd started 10 years ago drawing and inking on paper, then scanning, levels, and reduction.  I can't actually say that all-digital is necessarily faster, but it allows me to put up better artwork in the same amount of time due to, in no small way, "undo"  :P

Offline HarringtonAW

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2010, 03:36:35 AM »
I start with pencil on cardstock (various weights of stock, whatever is handy) then scan it into Photoshop where it's darkened, painted and lettered. I don't have a tablet, I just use the mouse.

For the 3D backgrounds, if I need to model something I use Sketchup and occassionally Truespace, then import everything into Bryce where I set up the scenes and render them. Then it's back to Photoshop to stick the backgrounds into the pictures, make a scaled-down JPEG version for the web, and set up my page on the website using Dreamweaver. Then I go play Gears of War.

-S

Offline Gar

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2010, 07:09:21 AM »
Blowing shit up in videogames is an important part of the creative process.

Offline Gar

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2010, 05:29:53 AM »
Illustrator users...would you strongly recommend it? I lost a lot of resolution scaling down my most recent comic in Photoshop, and it just made it less good.

All I'm really interested in is something that works like the brush tool but which draws in vectors so I can scale it down without the lines becoming all blurry (especially important since I've started hand-lettering). Would I be better off learning the arcane ways of the Pen tool, or is illustrator just plain better for that sort of thing? (I have a friend who works for a graphic design company, so I can get it cheap)

Offline Gibson

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2010, 08:28:22 AM »
Are you illustrating your work on paper or digitally? If you work on paper, Illustrator probably won't do you much good. Anytime you enlarge a scanned image, you'll lose resolution. This is true even in a vector-based program, since the scanned image is only considered an object. The vectors only apply to lines created by the program, it doesn't recognize the lines in the scanned image, just takes the image as a whole. The only effective way around that is to "ink" the page digitally or using autotrace, which blows.

The best way to fix a resizing problem is to scan at a really high resolution so that when you scale down, the lines tighten up. Even the cheapest of programs does that pretty well.

Offline Gar

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Re: Your Tools and Process!
« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2010, 09:04:39 AM »
I went from ink-on-paper to drawing everything in photoshop in the last couple of months (since getting a Wacom tablet).

I was actually looking at the Live Trace function in Illustrator for a nice easy learning curve...it's not good?