Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Fun with making Digital comics...???

As readers of my previous posts may be aware, I'm working on creating an efficient process to churn out my upcoming webcomic, A Brigand's Tale.

In the coming weeks I will be interviewing some other Aussie creators and picking their brains on how they get stuff done in my search to find (in my best anime voice) 'The Ultimate Technique of The Comic Making Process!'

I was going to use today's post to demonstrate my adventures of dabbling into digital artwork from woe to go, so far though as soon as I start using my PC to do art stuff there's a whole lot more woe than go.

As luck would have it, my tablet and stylus gave up the ghost early in the week, this is what I came up with before said hardware pooped itself:

The non pressure sensitive tablet really did not work out so great for me in this instance using Photoshop. However I do like some of this guy's visuals so its not bad for a first prototype. Not sure it has captured his flamboyance as a teleporting koala, but it's a start...

Changing landscape

So I normally do all my comic work in portrait format but my research indicates webcomics are much better in landscape. Mostly because you can see the whole page when you land there, avoiding people just leaving because as we all know scrolling down is too hard.

This is as far as I got before the aforementioned pen tablet died:

I found the brushes on Manga Studio to be pretty cool, however still not like the real thing (though generally I prefer using steel nibs).

I'm also having trouble figuring out appropriate line weights because when you zoom in & out its easy to lose sight of what needs to be thicker/thinner etc. Also not sure about colour, but as I was experimenting I thought "oh, what the heck!".

This was also meant to be an opening splash page, or at least an attempt at one. Further complicating the whole line weight thing.

Once again I made the rookie mistake of drawing from the hip instead of referencing, which is why there is no actual perspective at all in the page...

On the whole it turned out ok as a test (I wouldn't publish it like this) and I dig the idea of having a really rough 'pencils' layer and then digitally inking on a nice clean layer. There seems to be some good logic to the digital process for at least 2 really good reasons.

1) No messy piles of paper/ink/pencils etc filling up the dining table - thus avoiding the wrath of the wife, and the tidying up and then bringing it all back out again if we have guests who for some reason need to use the table...

2) The entire scan/cleanup stage is eliminated. For me this could be the greatest time saver ever. Allow me to elaborate, the art style for A Brigand's Tale was always intended to be Black & white, but with midtones created by ink washes

Here is an example of an early page before I decided to go landscape:

 I reckon it looks pretty good, BUT trying to clean up ink wash on Photoshop took about 4 hours a page, longer than actually drawing the page! Even then there are still areas that aren't right, for example the sword clash in panel 2 only has 1 sword, the other has been erased by my "cleaning up".

So I really need to spend less time in the transitioning stages and just getting the pages done.

If you haven't checked out abominable.cc please do, - it's an Eisner award winning webseries - entertainment wise it is brilliant, however its also instructional as Karl Kerschl manages to create a great wash effect using Photoshop. By so do proving that I want to do is quite possible. In future updates I will let you see how my attempts go.

Now I know that all seems lost for digital on the face of it, I mean my pen tablet is cactus. You folks must be thinking "is this guy gonna try the digital process with a mouse or something??"

Fear not dear reader, my savior is currently en route from Wacom and will be shipping to me week commencing 25th May.

What am I talking about why this of course:
the CINTIQ 13HD!!!!

Watch the showreel here:

Drawing directly on the screen should be the time saver I'm after. As always the blog will record the progress.

Feel free to comment, especially if you have an different experience, perspective or opinion, I will do my best to respond to them.

Til next week, remember - don't make excuses, make comics!


Next Week:

Work processes of a 700 plus page dynamo!

Follow me on Twitter: @TheDanTribe
All artwork is Trademark & copyright respective creators, artwork is used for review purposes only.

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