I try not to talk too much about how I make the comics. I figure most people will be bored. But then, whenever I go to some site where there's any sort of drawing tutorial, I consume it voraciously. So here's what I do:
I drew this whole thing with ball-point pen, which is out of the ordinary for me. Typically it's all roughed out with pencil. The ball-point required me to make decisions early on, and saved me back-tracking. I would only do this when I knew I was only going to be drawing Bowen and Hal, since everyone else's appearance is experimental.
|Then I scan the rough linework into Photoshop 7 and create a screen layer above it in pure CMYK blue. This way the printer only uses one color to print the image, which is important later. I usually enlarge the image so it juuuuust fits on a piece of printer paper, since that makes it easier to ink. I save these blue lines on the computer for later.|
I ink over the blue lines with a couple of
Uniball pens. I was watching a Disney movie with my nephew, and
there was a preview for some special edition 101 Dalmatians that showed a
Disney artist drawing a picture of a bunch of the puppies. He used the
same pen for most of the lines and proceeded with a sketching style, only
he made sure all the lines came together to form a solid line, thicker in
some spots. So I copied. I am still getting the hang of when
to make the line thick and thin, but it helps make the thing
Then I make with the coloring on the lower inked
lines layer. This is just paint bucket work. I have lots of
colors that appear over and over saved in my Photoshop palette, because
otherwise I spend upwards of a minute picking each one. "bowen's
hair" "my skin" "wood" "copper" "killer pants" No, really.
The next step in making me not hate what I'm looking at is the shading, which you see I sometimes do in the inking stages, which is fun and I tend to like the look of it. If I left it off because it looks "good enough without it," this is the stage where I really hate the look of the panel, and go overboard with the shadowing. I make a new layer for the cel shadow, and do a dark blue shadow with the pencil and paint bucket, then I use a big black brush on the deepest parts of the shadow, and set the whole thing to about 30% transparent [which is technically 30% visible], and change the blending option of the layer to "Multiply."
I start a new layer and select only the positive space on the color layer [ctrl + click on the layer menu], and come through with a huge yellow brush lightly on the parts of the person closest to the light source. Change the transparency to 30%, and the blending to "Color Dodge."
The backgrounds are usually either lazily gradiented in, or I spend far too much time on them considering the visibility they will have once the panel is shrunk by 800% to go in the comic and speech bubbles are added. You can see how it's necessary to work so big to make a smooth-looking finished product.
The whole thing goes on the
template and I add drop-shadows to the panels.
I sometimes skip the blue lines and just ink over
the pencil lines and then erase real good, thinking that I will save time
with the scanning and printing. Really, it takes the same amount of time,
and then I end up with a lot of stray pencil marks and eraser crumbs on my
scanned linework that take extra time and mental energy to clean up.
I keep learning new stuff, like I said. I stole most of my technique from Ian McConville, and you can find most of what I have here over in his tutorial. Here's one I read a while back that you might enjoy. Specifically, the Layers tutorial. Hawk has good tutorials up when his site is working. Mike Greenholt has a great site, and I thought this process guide was great. Much better than mine.
I draw in a style that I like to think is my own, but I have influences. Let me think. I steal liberally from Scud the Disposable Assassin and Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. I draw some manga-type elements due to laziness. I'm fascinated by some methods of graffiti [think West Coast]. I love automotive detailing. I have a big box of X-Men comics from the late 90s. I like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' pilot episodes. I watch Samurai Jack for the visuals, even though the writing is just dumb. I am not a snob. I read the funnies. I like lots of webcomics. Go find some.
BE THE NEXT HAL
Don't make your own web comic unless you can't resist. Trust me.
It's a lot of work, and people will always say maybe you can make a
real job out of it, but you probably won't unless your name is
Krahulik or Holkins. It is a good way to get your drawing noticed,
and it's a good hobby. But hiking is a good hobby, too, and
when you eat Cheetos all weekend instead of hiking, people don't go, "Hey,
where the hell is the hike this week! Did you die?" But if you
do start making one, tell me so I can go see and I promise I'll tell all
characters and content © Przybysz & Cassidy