If a picture is worth a thousand words, is a movie worth a thousand pictures? And if they call films pictures does this negate any extra credit they would have semantically received? Hmmm.
I’ve started recording some of my comic pages and speeding them up as this is more entertaining then not. I always thought it would be interesting to watch how other artists worked so hopefully someone finds this entertaining. If people enjoy it I may make it a weekly rollout.
To get deep within the geekery - I’m using Photoshop CS3 on my 2.16 Ghz Macbook with 1GB of ram. I’m using the screen capture software iShowU to record some giant files which ended up being about 4GBs. All in all, my computer didn’t even stutter which is amazing since I can’t open Firefox without growing facial hair.
Sometimes I sketch out the comics on paper and scan them in at a low resolution to use as a base. This is exactly what I’m doing here as you’ll see I basically trace the pencils. Instead of pure tracing though I try to make each line dynamic and moving above and beyond the initial scanned draft. The document is set to RGB and resized to 350 pixels per inch at close to 12″ wide. Next, I bust out my 9″ x 12″ Wacom Intuos and begin to draw. You’ll probably notice that I’m drawing on what appears to be the sketch, but this is actually the layer above. I’ve created a “draw” layer, filled it with white, set it to multiply, and used this as the jumping off point. I’m using the paintbrush set to Shape Dynamics checked with Size Jitter set to “Pen Pressure”. This means that it will detect the pressure of how hard I apply the tablet’s pen.
[Side note: Why create a new white layer to multiply? Because you can see in the film that I toggle the sketch on and off quite a bit to see how it is looking. The final is ten times as important as the draft so gauging where I important. This layer set-up allows me to turn the sketch layer off and have a white background for clear viewing. You can achieve the same effect by having a white background layer beneath the sketch but this setup takes less memory with fewer layers.]
In instances where I don’t have a sketch to build from I add in the type first and work backwards. There is nothing worse then a comic that looks badly-planned and claustrophobic. See Example: Exhibit Eww.
What is not shown here is the coloring process, which is about as long as the drawing section. Comics can be a grueling and painful form of work, but they are satisfying when complete.