I use different methods for different things so for right now this is currently how I’m creating the Ant Guy comics. I’ve used different techniques in the past and I’m sure I’ll use even more in the future. Part of the process is to learn and evolve so hopefully some of this is of some use to someone out there. Okay here we go..
You gotta start somewhere. I like to just start drawing squares and stick people until I start getting into the ballpark. Sometimes I’m lucky and get it right on the first go and sometimes I fill up my trash can with so many failed attempts that I think I can hear trees cry. Still this is usually kind of quick and fun and I get to play around with camera angles and dialogue until I’m somewhat happy with my idea for the strip. Then I gotta do some actual work..
I like to draw as big as I can so this was penciled on an 11×17 Bristol board. My weapon of choice? A Bic #2 mechanical pencil 0.7mm. I’m not sure what to say about this step. There are so many different ways and styles to approach drawing a comic so I’ll just have to give out some general advice. Draw everyday, Learn the rules so you can break the rules, and there is no such thing as perfection. I will say I’m happy that I changed the demon in the thumbnail from having weird spikey things to having four arms. Best part about creating stories as comics is that there are no budgetary restrictions so we can do whatever we want!
Tracing… just kidding..
Since I’m working by myself I can leave out certain details while penciling and have some fun embellishing the images as I go. I’m currently using a six pack of Micron pens that range from sizes .20mm to .50mm. I use a Sharpie to fill in the larger black areas. I know I could fill in the blacks on the computer in the next step but for the current style I’m using I have to be selective and leave small spaces of white for certain things. Speaking of computers..
I start by scanning the inks into my computer at 600 dpi Black and White. I then open the file in Photoshop, make sure the image isn’t crooked, and clean up any noticeable artifacts that may have happened during the scan. Then I convert the image to greyscale, and then to RGB or CYMK (depending on what I’m working on). I select all the black pixels and copy and paste them onto a new layer and call it “line art”. Then I make a layer below that and call it “Color Flats”. I feel like most people that may read this post may know most of this already but to anyone that would like any clarification on any of these processes feel free to ask me. I love talking shop. Anyways, then it’s time to get to work again. I close Photoshop and open the image in Manga Studio EX 5 where I will be doing most of the coloring.
One thing I do to help my eyes is make an extra layer of blue as shown above in the color flats example. This does two things for me. First, it takes away some of the eye strain I get by staring at a giant white screen all day while I work. Two, it makes it easy to see if there are any missing pixels or mistakes that I need to work on.
Then I start to work on the shading. I do this by making another layer and painting in the shadows using straight black with the opacity set somewhere between 67% and 75%. I’m using a drawing tablet (Yiynova mvpu22) to do all my coloring and effects and stuff. Some of you may wonder why I don’t use it to draw the actual comic with? Wouldn’t it save time, paper, and steps etc? Well, for some reason I don’t actually enjoy drawing on the computer screen. Sometimes I’ll Ink some things, and coloring is awesome on it, but for some reason when it comes down to actually drawing/penciling something I have a difficult time adjusting to it. I think it has something to do with seeing the entire page at once and the fact that I have spent so much time using pen and paper that I can’t.. explain it properly. Maybe I’ll find some magical setting in the future and make the switch but for the time being I like doing it this way.
At this point I usually switch back from Manga Studio to Photoshop to do sound effects (if I didn’t draw them by hand) and lettering. It’s another one of those things that I’m just used to but hopefully when I get some time to tinker I can play around with and hopefully do some lettering in Manga Studio. Then, well.. that’s it! Another comic strip done and I’m going back to step one.
Wow, you actually made it this far? Oh you were just looking at the pictures and scrolling through. That’s cool. Anyways, thanks for checking it out and have fun out there.
There’s a lot of things I know and there’s even more things that I don’t. But if there are two things that I do know about myself it’s that I’m a Father and an Artist. When my youngest was born about four years ago I named him Andrew Inkwell Rutten. Ever since then I’ve wanted to get an Inkwell tattoo of some sort. The idea just stayed inside my head until today I decided to see if I could get something on paper. This is the first thing that popped out and I kind of dig it. I may tweak it a bit here and there but I wanted to post it here as sort of a soft commit so that I can look at it occasionally and see what I think about it during the next week or so. I’m excited, it’s been awhile since I’ve gotten any new ink!