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Main Content => Art => Topic started by: TakaComics on January 11, 2010, 01:36:31 AM

Title: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: TakaComics 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!
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Rob 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? ;)
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Matt 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: mattstout 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Pete 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: WilliamHuntJr 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: TTallan 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: t_iii 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Vegarin 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Nuke 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Mari 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Mutt 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.  
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Rob 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
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Mari 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Rob on January 28, 2010, 03:43:00 PM
And the monkey cracks another walnut.  :-\
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: GaborBoth 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?).
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Miluette 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: teh hchano 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=xa8uiQBC-oI)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pJF9Fvcm0E (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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Phlip on February 12, 2010, 01:16:21 AM
(Hi group.)

Firstly, some splashes:


(From http://zeekland.zeroplayer.com/Pigleg_Too/23 (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:

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...
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: jeffa 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Phlip 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!)
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Hazumirein 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Gar 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Fatolbaldguy 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Knara 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
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: HarringtonAW 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.

Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Gar on March 19, 2010, 07:09:21 AM
Blowing shit up in videogames is an important part of the creative process.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Gar 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)
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Gibson 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.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Gar 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?
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Rob on April 06, 2010, 09:51:44 AM
It's got some pretty tough... hurdles to overcome. If you are just using it for lineart and nothing else it "might" be ok but that's a comment that must be taken on a case by case basis.

Let's just say it isn't perfect and a lot of baby is usually chucked out with the bathwater. If you play with it long enough you might find settings you like though.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Gar on April 06, 2010, 10:06:22 AM
a lot of baby is usually chucked out with the bathwater.

...and now I've got a mental image of a modular baby with parts of it going down the drain. It's kind of horrific now I describe it, but it made me giggle.

[Edit: OK I tried drawing in Illustrator using the brush tool. Yep, it's awesome and I'm getting it. Thanks to Yamino for the tutorial on your site, it was really helpful!]
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: JayFantastico on April 06, 2010, 12:41:59 PM
I'lll chip in our process. 

For the writing, I sit down and turn on my iTunes and listen to some music and think of something funny and write it down.  Then I text it to him since he's usually at work and then he preplans the art while at work.

As for the art, since I'm not the artist I can't say any specifics but I can say what I know about it.  Chris usually takes a toothbrush dipped in ink to make the panels.  He lets it dry for half an hour or so.  He takes out his note pad and translates his pre-plans to really tight pencils.  Then, he uses 3 different sized horsehair brushes (sized 1, 3, and 5) and india ink.  Once the art is done he takes out a steak knife for the lettering to the right of the comic and the "©Louder Than Bombs" on the bottom.  After that, it's just he final touches and the ink wash.

We scan at 600dpi and use photoshop to up the contrast and brightness a bit.  Done!
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Gar on April 08, 2010, 05:12:56 AM
Steak knife and toothbrush?! AWESOME!!
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Travis Surber on April 15, 2010, 04:40:34 PM
Strathmore Bristol Pads,Pencils from the Dollar Tree,Eraser from the dollar tree,Sharpie for coloring and panels,gel ink pen for lettering,precision pens of various sizes for inking,drawn either on a table at work in between loading trucks or my kitchen table after work.Scanned on a 30 dollar refurbished Lexmark scanner/printer/copier into Manga Studio Debut 4.0
I'm about as low cost and maintainence as it gets but if you want to see the results hit www.haintedholler and tell me it doesn't look good.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: ran on April 15, 2010, 05:32:12 PM
I generally open a new template file on Photoshop, and then, in separate windows, draw characters in the poses I want. i then copy those images, and paste them into the panels I have set up in my template, and resize them with transform so they're standing where I want and there is enough room for word bubbles. I so the same when i draw out my backgrounds, but in a different colour.

Then I print those out two panels at a time, so they match the size of my strip cardstock, which I'll have added panels to, in advance. I use my light-board to re-sketch and make changes to the picture for each panel, and generally I'll draw in more details here that I skipped over with my doodles. In this step, I use blue col-erase.

I then ink everything using Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush pens, except larger black spaces, which i try to do on the computer.

I scan in greyscale at 300dpi, and mess with the levels to make sure that my blue lines are eliminated from the clean inks. I clean it up and prep it, and make any last minute changes at this point. Then I colour, letter, add word balloons and redo the frames to make sure that they're completely black and thicker than the lineart they encase.

And that's pretty much it.   :)
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Rob on April 16, 2010, 02:23:23 AM
Someday I will tell you all my artistic process... but why hasten the day when you lose all respect for me. It will happen naturally over time. And then, when it does, I'll come clean on my artistic process... and by then you will still be horrified... but not surprised.  ;D
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: operationremie on April 16, 2010, 04:34:43 AM
i use to just make up images based on the script i got from my friend.

but now that i'm doing it on my own, i gotta redo how i do all the comics. right now, i'm scripting things out and then i'm gonna use photoshop and my intuos4 tablet to do all my drawing.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: mcfadyn on May 21, 2010, 06:06:45 PM
Jay kind of touched on this, but I'll go over it again.  I usually have a couple of crappy little lined notepads I use at work to scribble down some poses I like and all that.  Then I get home and use an old tooth brush to make the borders for the frames and while that dries I plan what to do for realzzz.  Once it's dry I use a pretty standard mechanical pencil to pencil out some quick drawings.  Then on to inking.   While most artists, not to mention almost ALL webcartoonists, use tablets to draw and ink... I like to ink by hand.  I used to use an old steak knife for the line work, but for the last 6 months or so I've been using these Artists' Water Colour Sable ~ pointed round Windsor & Newton brushes (I know that way long, but that's what's on the brush :P) I've got sizes 0, 1, 3 and 5.  But most work is done with the size 1.  Ink wise, I use Speedball Super Black India Ink and store it in a small spice jar (just for travel purposes). I ink everything by hand including the speech balloons.  The words in the frames are usually made by my size 8 Micron Pigma pen.  The words on the right side, including the (c)Louderthanbombs, is made with a steak knife.  After that I use this cup that I use to store the steak knife, a cheese knife, tooth brush and small brush for ink washing to ink wash with.  I never make any new ink water... if I gets low i just at more water to it.  The deeper go, the darker the inkwash that comes out.  Then we let it dry and that's that.  Sorry to ramble on, but people ask alot about my tools.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Gar on May 25, 2010, 05:25:09 AM
One of the nice things about using more traditional media to do your art is that you end up with Original Artwork you can sell later (and I'd say your originals look even better than the web iterations)
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: mcfadyn on May 25, 2010, 08:56:18 PM
Yeah, we don't really sell them, but they DO look alot better than the web stuff.  I like the look of it more than anything.  I get really sick of slick lines all drawn in flash or whatever.  Sometimes you just gotta get back to the basics and DRAW.  :)
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Pixel on May 25, 2010, 09:42:10 PM
While I certainly don't stand a chance at topping THAT process, as a fellow artist I'll post mine anyway.

First I write the page's script [as in literal dialogue and such] in Microsoft Word. Using that as a reference, I draw the roughs with regular ol' #2 pencil on regular ol' 8x11 paper, trying my best to eyeball enough space for text bubbles, but I don't actually draw them. I then scan the page onto my computer and use Photoshop for the rest.

I mess around with the roughs, changing the sizes of things, making more or less room in panels if need be, etc. After that, I make a new white-filled layer with an Inside Stroke on top of everything and just cut out boxes for panels. From there I use the Brush tool, standard shape usually around 7 px size, and ink the drawings. I make new layers for every little thing because I'm paranoid. After that I color it [if the page is in color] and then make bubbles using shapes and selections, type in the text, and then down a glass of lemonade.

Really basic, but that last step will make or break you.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: plughead on July 07, 2010, 03:46:52 PM
Hey everyone

My art process is kinda weird, and its evolved greatly since I first started years ago. Here's a brief history:

2003: 8.5x11 crap paper, pencils, markers and pencil crayons. Scanned in, and type and borders added with Illustrator and PhotoChop™

2005: 11x13 bristol, markers, ink pens and pencil crayons. No more pencils. Scanned in and stuff added in with Illustrator and Photoshop

2007: 11x13 bristol, lightboxing final inks onto bristol over ballpoint pen roughs. Scanned in and nearly everything done in Photoshop, with some bits here and there created in Illustrator. 3D sets (Download Spiral exterior and interior) and props (SarPlus), modeled in Hexagon and rendered in Bryce. Occasional use of photographed items (DVD case and hands, fishing lure, Sarah's guitar on occasion, walnuts, cassette tape).

2010: Full digital workflow. No more paper or scanning. Still use 3D models and Illustrator and I use Photoshop for final comping. Intensified use of photorealistic (earth (http://sarahzero.com/sz_0506.html)) and vector (busted television (http://sarahzero.com/sz_0502.html)) elements, though trying harder to improve their integration with other art. Some props, such as 6SUX (http://sarahzero.com/sz_0398.html), RASBOT (http://sarahzero.com/sz_0420.html) and the grenade (http://sarahzero.com/sz_0456.html) have all been created in real life from plastic and various bits and pieces. Nearly every instance of the '70 AAR 'Cuda (http://sarahzero.com/sz_0392.html) is a vector tracing over photos taken of an actual model kit I built.

I hope that wasn't TMI, sorry!
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: operationremie on July 11, 2010, 08:48:11 PM
i don't think i've posted on here (or in the forum in a while)

i use to draw on paper and scan it in and then draw with my crappy little wacom tablet. recently, i redid my entire computer and added a new screen. i also went and bought a new intuos4 medium tablet and started actually drawing everything on the photoshops instead of paper. it's actually going really well. i then do all my coloring and stuff there.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: jeffa on August 04, 2010, 11:28:25 PM
Good news, everyone! I haven't been able to hang out here for a while, but I'm trying to drop by more frequently.

I just finished making a lightbox for inking and posted a blog entry about it.

I have a blog entry http://galacticbeacon.com/blog/tools_of_the_trade (http://galacticbeacon.com/blog/tools_of_the_trade) and a page http://galacticbeacon.com/galacticbeacon/page/index/GettingALightboxTheHardWay (http://galacticbeacon.com/galacticbeacon/page/index/GettingALightboxTheHardWay) with more details and lots of pictures.

Wood working is another of my hobbies and I especially like working with older hand tools.

One of the reasons I've been away from here is that I published an anthology of my science fiction and fantasy short stories with some comics as an app for the Palm WebOS phones and for the Kindle. You can read more about that on my blog as well if you are interested.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: Rob on August 05, 2010, 12:20:41 AM
Awesome Jeffa congrats on the new projects... and welcome back.

The Farnsworth thing is killing me. I was just watching some of the new season on line and the third one about the Eye Phone where they are sending all their junk electronics to another planet and a reporter asks if all the waste is dangerous and the mayor says "not after some minimum wage nobodies take it to the third world" and Farnsworth turns to the rest of the crew in the crowd and says "Good News nobodies!" I was cracking up. Man I'm glad that show is back. It hasn't quite hit it's stride yet in that it isn't quite the show it was before it was cancelled but I'm sure it will settle down and get there eventually. Family Guy had the same problem.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: klingers on August 25, 2010, 09:34:08 PM
I've been a stickler for Adobe Flash as a drawing tool as far back as Macromedia Flash 4.

I've tried other vector-based illustration tools like Illustrator, Inkscape and the like over the years but I've never found another tool that's as good as Flash with one simple concept: Free-form, deformable vector shapes without pivot points that aren't treated as "paths".

If you know what I mean by that, in ten years I've never found a tool that's as good at taking your drawn shape (line, polygon, closed) and just letting you grab an edge, pull/tweak that edge and having one side of the drawing warp like it's being pulled.

It's a fantastic and very intuitive way for a very left-brained person like me to get drawings looking how I'm happy with. I'm not being self-deprecating when I say I'm nowhere near as talented as most of you fine people from what I've seen, just practical. I'm a programmer, not an artist. Flash's vector smoothing makes up for my unsteady hand (I'm also left-handed, yet use a mouse with my right-hand... Go figure) and having the ability to layer elements and tweak/distort/scale/place drawing elements independant of each other goes a long way to helping me get on screen what's in my mindset.

For comparison, this is one of my few traditionally hand-drawn comics (http://www.wavelengthcomic.com/2004/09/23/vacation/) (I was experimenting) from 2004. All my new stuff is back to vector-based, as to be honest it's much easier for this lazy programmer than actually learning to draw properly ;-) I do of course like a challenge but sometimes I need the familiary to get myself in drawing mode.
Title: Re: Your Tools and Process!
Post by: misterguh on June 28, 2015, 05:19:13 PM
Is it weird posting in an old thread? Just wanted to share my old fashioned tools of the trade: