Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

How do you do your comic?
deletedbyrequest03 at 8:19PM, Feb. 3, 2007
posts: 815
joined: 8-13-2006

1. I sketch it out on any ol' sheet of paper
2. Draw out the panels with pencil
3. Draw a sketchy stick of the characters, then draw them out
4. Ink them
5. Draw the in the backgrounds with pencil
6. Don't finish the backgrounds, set the comic aside, forget about it for 5 months, realize I actually have a webcomic, then finish it hurrying
7. Ink it
8. Scan it and use Manga Studio (debut) for the toning
9. Add the speech bubbles and words
10. Post it on DD and read complaints on how my comic never updates
11. Go to bed

This year, school's full of BS!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:05PM
carly_mizzou at 11:10PM, Feb. 3, 2007
posts: 383
joined: 8-25-2006
Sweet mini tutorial action goin on here…

I've had a few people ask me how I do that awsome yellow paper and pen photoshop effect on Creepy Carly. The secret? I go into work, I take a yellow mini pad out of the supply cabnet, I check if the coast is clear, and I stick it in my pocket with a couple of blue G2 pens. Ha ha ha, but I do have a few tips to offer.

Get a good light table. I do the best sketch/line work I can, then I trace it onto a new sheet and make corrections. best thing I ever learned.

Oh and when doing more realistic stuff don't be afraid to work with refrence photos. especially with backgrounds. Doing otherwise can sometimes limit your imagination to where you've actually been. ^_^
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
UncleWolfgang at 9:48PM, Feb. 13, 2007
posts: 7
joined: 2-12-2007
i sketch with one of my neat derwent colour pencils, so i dont have to erase the messy sketch lines. i ink with a uni ball pen.
add colours and text in photoshop 7.0

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:36PM
LIZARD_B1TE at 2:38PM, Feb. 14, 2007
posts: 3,308
joined: 6-22-2006

Heaven vs Hell: Think up idea, copy and paste characters, use MS Paint line tool to separate panels, and add text. Takes about 3 to 5 minutes for each page. Unless I use GIMPshop for any special effects, in which case it takes about 7 to 10 minutes. It tales roughly five minutes to make a character picture. =P

Deus: Sit down, sketch with pencil, outline with pen, scan it, edit the panels to make them look better, and add text. Every page here takes anywhere from half an hour to full hour.

The Adventures of Grim and Bob: Haven't done this comic for a while, but basically, I draw it with the circle, line, paintbrush, and paintcan tools in MS Paint, then add text. Takes about 5 to 10 minutes.

Teenology: Really, it's a mix of HVH and Grim and Bob. I haven't updated this one for a while either…

In short, my lack of daily updates is not due to time but lazyness. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:36PM
subcultured at 2:50PM, Feb. 14, 2007
posts: 5,392
joined: 1-7-2006
…very carefully?
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:01PM
Friedenmann at 3:59AM, Feb. 18, 2007
posts: 87
joined: 11-26-2006
Angel Effect:
I draw borders of each panel and scrap the figures. Then I add details and start inkin' outlines. When everythin' in panels is outlined with a gel pen, I take pencil again and draw where the shadows should be. Then I take a ruler and fill in the shadows with straight lines.

I scan in BnW into PhotoImpact. I correct mistakes I've made, resize the picture and paste margins. I save into bmp file, open in Photoshop and add speech boxes.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
Kristen Gudsnuk at 7:28PM, Feb. 22, 2007
posts: 1,340
joined: 10-4-2006
…very carefully?


What I do is…
well I have everything that's going to happen planned out in my head/ in the top-secret “Misfit Assassins Plan Book”! And then I script out an entire chapter (usually about eight pages long or so?) in notepad, because microsoft word is a bitch. Then I take a few lines of script, print them out, and then on the other side of the computer paper I print out a box that has the proportional dimensions of my pages. (everything I print out, I print in crazy colors though bc I'm out of black ink. ^^!)
Then I bring that paper to class.
Next, on the side of paper without the box on it, I do a really tiny version of my page– just deciding how big each frame should be, and what angles I should use, etc.
Then, I draw the comic! With pencil! In class! At first I was like, “but kristen you're in college, you should pay attention!!” but I realized that no matter what, I doodle, so I figured I may as well be useful, no?
For complicated pictures that need references, or for frames that just inexplicably look bad, I use references in the comfort of my room.
Then I scan and resize my page (currently I work at 425x632 pixels, but soon I'm gonna start working at a bigger size/dpi…) and I use the brush at size 1 and trace over the drawings I scanned. Then when I'm done, I put in the speech bubbles and text. I draw the bubbles either using the circle tool (in a “stroke” layer) or using the rounded-edged-rectangle tool. I add shading just using various shades of grey, and sometimes I use computones that I got on a CD.
Then I'm done!
(unfortunately, I really, really enjoy the pencil-drawing part, but inking just isn't that much fun. And by the time I get to shading, I'm usually kind of sick of the page.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:22PM
Warspritecomic at 8:10AM, Feb. 25, 2007
posts: 343
joined: 3-10-2006
For the entire comic series what I do first is write a short story for it. Then I try and sort out what the strips are going to be e.g Page1: Everyone meeting up Page 2 to 10: Person A has a fight with person B and so forth.

For each comic page all I do is quickly scetch it out straight onto plain paper, then add detail, heavy pencil the drawing, scan it in and then send it off to a friend to ink it. Thats all I do.

Also a mute that reminds me of Johnny Bravo and Samuel L Jackson at the same time!
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:48PM
Speck at 1:52AM, Feb. 27, 2007
posts: 39
joined: 10-15-2006
I work page to page, and have about seven to ten pages planned ahead of what I'm updating. (At this moment, I've updated to page thirteen… and I'm currently figuring out page twenty-two.)
Basically, I thumbnail and figure out the script at the same time. Sometimes, the thumnails are really tiny, sometimes they take up half of a standard piece of printer paper. The dialogue is written next to it, and later copied into a word document. I don't bother with typing out what's happening in each panel, because I've already drawn it by that point.
I'll pencil it in light blue pencil, then ink over it with various Micon pens.
I scan it into Photoshop at 300 dpi, clean it up a bit, then get to coloring. Text and speech bubbles are either added before I start coloring, or afterwards. The speech bubbles are my favorite to add, merely because they're the quickest and easiest thing to do in the whole process.

There isn't much too it, really.

Compared to other comics I've done, TG has the most basic script. Then again, it's kind of an all-ages comic, so… I guess it was bound to have a simple script anyway.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:53PM
roma at 8:28AM, Feb. 27, 2007
posts: 56
joined: 4-5-2006
The way I do my work is.

1.First I have the story. I'm not really detailed with it I usually keep it in summary form.

2. Then I draw the main character(s) and the world/set they will live in.

3. After that I do a Draft page in pencil > Next I do it in Blue pencil and Ink it with pencil.

4. Next I take it into Open Canvas for shading, then to Photoshop for lettering and resizing.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
Lsnewton at 4:40AM, March 7, 2007
posts: 37
joined: 6-30-2006
Well I've got two, and both are pretty simple (on purpose, due to having a crap scanner).

Genie-Man is just done out completely in Flash, from start to finish, with my tablet, then exported as an image.
Transformers is 3D, so it's a matter of pulling all the needed character models into a background scene, positioning them, adding light/background pics if needed and rendering the frames before putting them together and adding effects, faces and text in Photoshop.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:48PM
Freux at 9:15AM, March 9, 2007
posts: 136
joined: 2-15-2007
I envy you guys that can write script. All I have to work with are little snippets of scenes in my head. ( I think in pictures, not words, so I'm kind of slow. My brain is like a dial-up modem loading a flash page. XD )

My supplies are bristol paper, ruler, sharpie, and micron pens. And I loove mechanical pencils. To hell with what my art teacher told me.

After inking and erasing all the lovely sketch marks, I scan with a Black and White setting at 600dpi and that usually makes it look pretty clean. I don't have to do many touchups. ( .. I always have to tilt the picture. I don't know why I draw crooked )

Coloring/toning/fuglifying is a snap. Done in photoshop. I set my linework to ‘multiply’ and lay a bunch of flat color underneath. If it requires shading, I use the polygonal lasso tool to select what parts are shadows and use a paintbrush set to multiply xwhatever% until it's dark enough. If highlights are needed, SCREEN!

Speech and bubbles are added after I've resized it. ( they would probably look better if done before that, though )
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
Cake Bandit at 8:17AM, March 10, 2007
posts: 25
joined: 1-3-2007
I envy you guys that can write script. All I have to work with are little snippets of scenes in my head. ( I think in pictures, not words, so I'm kind of slow. My brain is like a dial-up modem loading a flash page. XD )

you hurt my compy's feelings

I think up something funny and draw it.

I'll use paint if I'm at home and either feel the art style would be better for it, GIMP if I have plenty of time and want to get all artsy and Hand drawn if I can get ahold on a scanner at school for just long enough to save a picture to my USB drive. I should try coloring with GIMP shouldn't I?
^The above post is likely written light heartedly.
It's not on DD but it's still My Totally Kickass Webcomic
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:35AM
subcultured at 9:56AM, March 10, 2007
posts: 5,392
joined: 1-7-2006
…very carefully?
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:01PM
rococo at 6:34AM, March 11, 2007
posts: 15
joined: 10-6-2006
I've only just managed to pick out one technique that I really like for my current comic, Ether … so, yeah, this might end up changing some time soon, but hopefully won't!
First: thumbnails! I can work without these, but there's generally less mess if I use them, and mess is something there's a lot of on my pages anyway. My sketches are like a pencilled landslide. I do very quick sketches of what's to be in each panel, then number them and sketch out an idea of how the empty panels of the final page will look.
I have a template printed out for keeping pages the same size (I want to print this eventually), so I trace over that onto a clean sheet of printer paper first in purple Colerase, then very lightly sketch out the panel boundries that I decided upon in the thumbnails, and fiddle about with those until they look good. Next I pencil in the figures (using dark blue Colerase) and add in details (ie. everything that comes after the basic anatomy) once they're all in place. Next … inks! I don't like using brushes, and fineliners don't end up dark or crisp enough for my liking, so I use manga dip-pens, mainly Deleter's “Saji” nibs, sometimes “Maru” nibs for fine details. Solid black bits are added in with a brush, theeen, leave this to dry for half an hour to an hour or something, and rub out as much of the pencils as I can.
Scanning comes next, in RGB mode so that I can delete every channel in PhotoShop except the blue and get rid of any pencil marks left. (One reason why I use Colerase … they make it really easy to get things looking crisper! And I can hardly manage to draw with normal graphite anymore, which sort of sucks also.) I play about with the levels and contrast until it's crisp black and white after switching it back into RGB mode, get rid of any mistakes in the inking, then print this and attack it with my markers! I'm using only two colours on newer pages, two cool grey Trias (the new kind, with nice spongey brush nibs … <3), build them up as best I can. I then scan this, and chuck a multipy layer ontop, and put down flat greys on darker coloured areas. I sometimes add a few shiny bits to darker areas with a normal layer on top as well. Text comes last, then I save it twice, once at 300dpi for print, and once at 72dpi for web!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:09PM
Chris chris at 4:11PM, March 12, 2007
posts: 87
joined: 1-9-2006
I do a long process. XD Most of the time the idea builds in my head 24/7… even in my sleep. @.@
Materials: Plain printer paper, 12 inch ruler, mechanical pencil, pen (gel or liquid seems to work the best for me,) black Sharpie, soft eraser (GOD these erasers are the forbidden fruits!) prismacolor pencils, electric typewriter, and scanner.

Process: I first like to sketch the idea out on the paper, slopply drawing out panels, and putting things where I think they should be. Next I go in with the ruler and create the actual panels, followed by drawing the characters and speech bubbles. Once the entire page is drawn and organized the way I want it to be, I ink the panels with a black sharpie and ink the characters with the pens. This process takes up to two to three hours alone. When everything is inked and all is well, I wait a few minutes to erases all of the pencil smudges. Tiring work, my arm wants to fall off if the page is really detailed. Finally, the longest step of making a page, I start coloring with my color pencils. Normal skin color takes up three different colors for just one panel. XD There's also a lot of shading invovled and picking the right color.If details are everywhere, coloring can take another 2 to 3 hours. Finally, I type in the wording for the dialouge with the type writer and scan it for an update. :)

If there are many, many panels, a page can take a while. And if a page is really colorful, it can take even longer. XD
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:42AM
Janen at 4:13PM, March 12, 2007
posts: 88
joined: 2-25-2007
I draw it all out including dialogue and shadowing using a .5mm mechanical pencil. I then ink with my favorite pen or what I used to do was darken using ctrl+m which gave the same effect. I didn't use to color but I am starting to use color pencils which leaves a result like in my banner. Instead of erasing the pencil lines I leave them for shadowing effects. I then gather all my pages I drew during the college semester and wait until I return home to use my scanner. That's basically it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:07PM
SomaX at 7:13PM, April 8, 2007
posts: 271
joined: 2-8-2007
Just a few simple steps.

* read over my plot outline to find where I am in the story

* sketch up a format or thumbnail, what ever term you use

* draw a pencil draft

* lightbox it

* scan

* add text

* tone

* print

* re-scan

* size

* save

* upload to drunk duck
#253 in Comic Book/Story #344 Overall ~*~ #383 in Comic Book/Story #517 Overall
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:49PM
rainingbells at 8:50PM, April 8, 2007
posts: 75
joined: 3-18-2007
Write the script: If it's a first, and I'm still getting a handle on the characters or the universe, it could take me a week to do a script for a 24 page issue. If I know the universe and characters, as short as six hours. If it's a script for someone else, I'll add more detail in the panel descriptions than I will if it's a script for me, in which I use a lot of shorthand. One or two words. A piece of a sentence. I break my scripts down by page, by panels, and by associated dialog.

Do thumbnails: If I do thumbnails I lay out the panels borders in Photoshop, print them out around half-sized/ashcan scale, and then pencil inside the panels. I cover less space that size, so I can lay-out the pages faster; sometimes half of an issue to an entire issue in six or seven hours. If I do this step I then enlarge the thumbnails either with a photocopier or by scanning them in and printing them out so I can then lightbox/trace on the full-sized paper. As I said, I find this approach, while having an extra step or two, saves time because I cover less space when I'm laying things out or making corrections. It also provides me with a better notion of just how much stuff I really need to/should put in a panel before it becomes overkill.

With the pencils, I either do it all from scratch on the full-sized sheets, which vary from like 10“x 14” to 11“x 17”, or just lightboxing the enlarged thumbnails and adding in the details. I always keep an eye on my dialog. To me, the dialog is usually the most important, so I want to make sure that there is plenty of room for it. If I have a lot of gab in a panel I'll usually limit the background, if I draw it at all. Nothing is a time-waster more than drawing background material that will be 75% covered up by dialog balloons or caption boxes. Or if a character's reaction is what is most important to me, that's another instance where I'll limit/kill background, lest it distract from what should be the focus of the panel.

Inks: Mostly done with Microns, Staedtlers, or ZIGs. Because I'm inking myself, sometime I don't completely finish my pencils, or I don't make them as tight and detailed as I would were someone else inking me, because I know what I'm looking for and I can always add that in the ink stage to cut down on time. Every now and then I'll break out the nibs, brushes, and high-end tech pens, but that's only if I'm looking for a certain feel I can't mimic with the usual pens, or I'm doing something for someone for-hire.

Scan the pages into Photoshop, save 600dpi high rez line art/bitmap files for print and then make a low rez (72 dpi) file for use in Illustrator, over which I do a lettering layer that, when the letters are finished, I overlay onto the high rez art. To avoid typos I usually cut and paste the dialog from the spell-checked script in Word into Illustrator. Then I save the lettering layer and, if it's going online, slap it onto the image in Photoshop, flatten the layer, convert it to grayscale from bitmap, and drop it down to about 100dpi.

Since I rarely color, that's about where it ends. But if I color I take the line art, select all, cut, convert from bitmap to cmyk, create another channel*, drop in the still bitmap lineart, do the colors in channels, drag the lineart selection, fill the selection so the lines go back into the art, delete the extra channel, and paste the lettering layer.

*I have a friend who use to color professionally. Back in the day he taught me to color, and while I know a lot of people color in layers, he used channels, so that's how I learned.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:00PM
mfc at 3:08PM, April 10, 2007
posts: 45
joined: 2-23-2007
All of my work is done in Photoshop Pro 7.0.

I don't do any pencil work, or scanning, because I think it's just quicker to do everything with the program that you are going to be using.

I have a Wacom Graphire 4 tablet that I use to do the lineart/coloring (if there is any coloring, at all.).

I usually have a template set up for the comic, so I don't really have to do anything regarding that, unless it's in a special format for that certain comic. Usually, I have to crop or add something to it, if necessary.

I also do my text and bubbles in PSP 7.0.

I think it's the easiest program to work with when dealing with art. I never did like CS, or CS2.
Johnny Err0r'd!
A comic by J. Robbins!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:01PM
eyesoftheblackk at 11:16PM, April 11, 2007
posts: 35
joined: 12-7-2006
Teen Androgani Squad - Whenever the hell I feel like drawing stick figures doing shit, I do and upload them when I can use the scanner

Barely Dead - Detail everything out very carefully using Microsoft word, draw them in on paint using the drawing pad, and makes sure everything looks nice and creepy. Then spend 10 - 20 minutes making sure that the characters are on a dark gothic looking page and that the characters keep the creepy tone that they need to be, and then post it.

Biginbopper the Juinor Mint - Whenever the hell I feel like it just draw random stuff, normally takes about a minute or less per episode
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
Kristen Gudsnuk at 5:04PM, April 13, 2007
posts: 1,340
joined: 10-4-2006
I've changed my ways!!!!
now, I carry my script around with me (it's super-long… like 6 pages, but it's a tiny font, and in 2 columns per page XD) and I draw tiny little thumbnails next to the dialogue, in the margins of the script.
Then I take a piece of 6x9 bristol board and add in my pencil work, and then I ink it with dipping ink, using a crow nib, I think? for the tiny lines, and a school nib or something for the regular lines. For patches of black I use a paintbrush with ink (my very favorite kind of brush, a filbert tip.. they're so soft, and yet exact… ~_~ I lovvvve them!) then I erase the pencils, scan my page in at 300 dpi (I would do it at 600… but… my scanner doesn't scan at such a high resolution. T_T.)
Next I use opencanvas to make little changes- fix this or that line, redraw that eye, etc.
Then I add in the boxes to separate the panels, and then the dialogue (I just hand-draw speech bubbles… it doesn't really matter).
then I tone in photoshop, and I'm done!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:22PM
Hijuda at 7:16AM, April 14, 2007
posts: 460
joined: 4-12-2007
I used to use Painter to draw, but I always hated how lines came out on it. Now, I solely use Photoshop CS2 to draw. The process goes something like this:

1) Start with a big canvas. Like, REALLY big. A six panel comic measures 6000x4244 pixels. Next, I open a new layer and paste on a pre-made set of panels. I make sure this layer is transparent, so I can see what I draw under.

2) I zoom out to about 20-25%, and do a basic sketch of all the characters.

3) After this, I set the opacity of this layer to 20%. I then create a new layer above this one, zoom in to 100%, and start inking. This allows for fairly refined lines, and takes less time than whittling away the sketch layer with an eraser.

4) Once this is done, I delete the sketch layer, and create a color layer under the ink layer. I begin coloring using simple swatches, choosing colors almost haphazardly.

5) Afterwards, I create another layer between the ink and color layers, used for shading. To shade, I just mess with the HSB sliders with the original color until I find something that looks kind of right. Then, I shade normally. Of course, I still have little idea of where to shade, but I'm still learning.

6) Now, at this point, I begin to get anxious, and just want the comic done. So, I create a layer under everything else for backgrounds, pick a random color, and scribble like mad. Yeah, I'm lazy.

7) Now, for putting in text bubbles and speech. This part, I'm still a bit fuzzy on. I've heard of people using Adobe Illustrator, but I took one look at that program, and instantly closed the window in terror. So, I just resize the total image to 850xwhatever (so all the small imperfections I make while drawing get smalled out), save the image as a JPEG, and import the picture into Painter X to make text and speech bubbles. I used to do this in MS Paint, but I hate how it tended to fuck up JPEGs. Speaking of which, I find it ironic that a program like Photoshop is missing features that Paint can pull off with ease.

Total time- 4-6 hours, I think. I'm not sure, I don't keep a stopwatch, and I don't do it all at once.
It's a comic!

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
j giar at 2:33PM, April 17, 2007
posts: 63
joined: 9-28-2006
My script for book one is already written and book two I'm into about 9 pages of. Book one fo rthe most part all the thumbs are done. I made a template which fits about 4 thumbs on page. I like working smaller at least for thumbnails because it helps me to simplify the action and spot my blacks on the page. The thumbs are done so all I have to do is enlarge them, throw'em on the lite table and lay the bristol board over them. I trace them in 4h and since I'm inking, I'm pretty lose with the pencils. I mark the darks on the page..getting an idea where the dialogue will go. I scan and convert them to blueline and print them out. Lettering and border work is done first. It's at this point I re-read the script and make sure I'm completely happy with the dialogue. Ink it..Do touch ups. Scan and clean up the pages…post. A page right now, from start to finish..(depending on the amount of lettering), takes 2-3 days with pencils, lettering and inking…Usually more like 3.

“Sometimes to get to the bottom of something, you have to kill your way to the top.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
fuzzyrobot at 8:45AM, April 25, 2007
posts: 13
joined: 2-3-2006
Oh man, that sounds like a lot of work!

I have a small artist's notebook that I carry everywhere and sketch scenes in pencil when I get an idea.
Later, when I have work to avoid, I take out my pen and ink set and go over the lines.. I have a wider nib that's better for lines of varying lengths, and then a tiny one for eyes, shading, and smaller things.

Finally, I scan a bunch and work on adding tones and gradients on my non-photoshop.

depression is merely anger without enthusiasm
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:32PM
Kristen Gudsnuk at 10:52AM, April 25, 2007
posts: 1,340
joined: 10-4-2006
Now, for putting in text bubbles and speech. This part, I'm still a bit fuzzy on. I've heard of people using Adobe Illustrator, but I took one look at that program, and instantly closed the window in terror.

omg me too…
oh, illustrator… you don't make any sense.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:22PM
Tantz Aerine at 11:27AM, April 25, 2007
posts: 1,616
joined: 10-11-2006
On a normal piece of A4 paper, I sketch out the entire page- first I draw the action inside, then write the text, then make the speech bubble and then I draw out the panel with my trusty see-through tropical palm tree ruler :nerd:

After that I scan it in Photoshop, at 300 dpi and at least 2000 pixel wide, and ink my page in the computer with my tablet. After that is done, I copy the lines layer into two more layers and colour the one in the middle. I then go into detail to make sure everything is textured and lit the way I want to- because I want the original pencilling to show in certain areas, all layers except the flat colours and the lines are set on multiply or even screen or colour dodge, depending on the effects. (I end up using much more layers than I expect set on ‘multiply’ to get the feel of the backgrounds and/or effects that I want)

After that, I rub out all the pencilling that I don't want to show from the original pencil sketch, flatten the image, shrink to 900 pixels wide and voila! more Wolf!

This takes anything from 6 to 8 hours, stressing me up when I miss my deadlines. :(
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:06PM
amv_jester at 9:29PM, April 25, 2007
posts: 11
joined: 10-14-2006
Mines a little differnt……
1. I use blender 3D and take the character models I have made vertex point by vertex point and pose them in ways I want them to be
2. I then render the image with a bright green background and import the image in gimp and delete the green
3. I set up a background and apply it to the comic im making for the first layer
4. I then add the characters into gimp upon the background in differnt layers
5. Then I add the border of the comic and add the speech bubbles. COMIC DONE!
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:52AM

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