Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

How you work.
gigatwo at 10:04PM, May 5, 2006
posts: 308
joined: 1-6-2006
I know that the title seems a little to general, and while I'm not sure whether or not I'm actually narrowing down the question, I'll elaborate on what I mean. All I really want to know is the things you do and use to create a webcomic. This includes tools, applications (probably the same as tools), where you work on it, and the overall process that your comic pages go through. I'm not really looking for anything specific.

Let me start off by saying that I don't have a very definitive style yet. I develop various processes through experimentation. Here's a two of those that seem to work.

I. I dunno, you name it.
-Generally this one is done at the same size as my desired page (600 by 800). I'm not one to work at larger sizes for detail.
-It's usually done in this order
-sketch out the page (1 pixel brush, pressure sensitivity set to hardness, new layer)
-go over the lines with the paths tool, and stroke the path by 1 pixel
-delete the sketch layer (sometimes)
-create a new layer under the lineart and start coloring in with flats
-create new layers for practically everything (make sure to name them)
-Create new layers and apply shades of black with the transparency set low.
-add text and bubbles
-add a 1 pixel border to the image

II. Bitmap, to vector, to bitmap, to vector.
-sketch out the lineart
-blur it and adjust the levels to thicken and smoothen the lines.
-put it into into inkscape and use the trace bitmap option (value)
-export it as a bitmap with a ridiculously large size
-Color it in with the ink tool and, shade with transparent, flat black
-export it into vector form again.
-add text and bubbles in inkscape

I really only work in front of my computer with my graphire 3 and the gimp. There's nothing really special about that.

While my explanaitions may have been tutorialish in a vauge and horribly written kind of way, they are not tutorials. It is ill-advised to follow those steps. Now it's your turn, how do you usually go about doing your comics?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:35PM
Terminal at 11:22PM, May 5, 2006
posts: 5,505
joined: 1-6-2006
It goes something like this.

1: Info Stage.
- collect reference of backgrounds
- find a little info on the subject at matter
- sketch out dialouge on piece of paper
- sketch out panels on piece of paper

2: It.
- lose sketch paper where the dialouge and panel layouts were.
- make up and draw new panels on pre-made page
- draw characters
- then draw backgrounds
- finish off the page.
- add final details
- get mad for the page being so messy.

3: Computer Stage
- scan comic page
- lose said comic page
- come up with dialouge after listening to music
- insert dialouge into page
- get mad at PhotoStudio for losing my work
- experiment a while with colors, then go back to black and white.
- save to png.

4: Flash.
- Compress music files for use
- insert comic file into Flash work space
- fix up music player buttons
- make a preloader
- get mad at Flash for not working
- Make three different .swf files which don't work
- get mad and goof off online
- come back to Flash, get pissed off more
- Go online again
- come back Flash, finally finish page.
- troubleshoot .swf file
- finally upload to drunkduck

.: Myxomatosis :.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:09PM
Frae at 12:18PM, May 6, 2006
posts: 84
joined: 1-11-2006
This is what I do:

1. Thumbnail. I draw a really really crappy layout of the page. I'll show you one of them when I get a chance.
2. Sketch. I sketch out the comic on layout paper with a mechanical pencil and then goe over it with microns .01, .03, .05, and maybe a .08. and erase pencil lines.
3. scan
4. put it all together in photoshop.
5. After the comic page is the way I want it, I copy the layer and set it to multiply. I do all my grayscale color on the multiplied layer.
6. I then use Gaussian Blur on the multiply layer. This will help smooth over any white spots that are found along with give it that dark, dreamy affect in my comic.
7. Add my text and bubbles.
8. Post it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:30PM
Blitz at 12:57PM, May 6, 2006
posts: 180
joined: 1-3-2006
Being a complete newbie to this, here's what I do. A forewarning: I don't recommend following this, as I've only done a few and the only thing that makes them look decent is my drawing skill:

I. Draw Stage

-Print out panel sheets.
-Draw backgrounds in pencil (unless using previously done backgrounds, in which case this is skipped).
-Ink backgrounds, erasing pencil lines.
-Draw characters in pencil (especially since I'm a guideline freak).
-Ink characters, erasing pencil lines.

II. Digital Stage

-Scan panel sheets.
-Using magic wand tool, fill colour into a second layer.
-On a third layer, place black where shading is to be and make layer partially transparant.
-Paste backgrounds into webcomic base.
-Paste characters onto backgrounds.
-Effects go in at this point.
-Bubbles and text.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:25AM
Ian Jay at 5:21PM, May 6, 2006
posts: 720
joined: 1-4-2006
1. Think up idea for comic
2. Write script
3. Procrastinate
4. Get magical blessing from a real gypsy
5. Smear sketchbook page with Vaseline
6. Bake at 475 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown
7. Scrape any remnants off of the windows afterwards (tidy, tidy!)

Aaaaand… done.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:56PM
ozoneocean at 6:32PM, May 6, 2006
posts: 25,994
joined: 1-2-2004
This is fun.

Step one:
Pull the idea out of nowhere.

Step two:

A. Come up with idea.
B. Play around with idea for about 6 years.
C. 6 years after step A, quickly devise total story completely in head and then start comic.
D. Fill sketchbook full of rough thumbnails of story panels, organising some into pages.
E. Decide to scan some panels, join them up into a page, draw over them digitally with tablet, add borders, flatten layers, set to multiply, colour under line layer, flatten, letter in illustrator (coming up with the dialogue on the spot), export as Jpeg, resize in Photoshop, save for web as jpeg, done.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:23PM
misterpopculture at 6:41PM, May 6, 2006
posts: 20
joined: 5-3-2006
Step 1:
Probe my mind for funny situations that have come up recently or that have been in the back of my memory for a long time

Step 2:
Figure out which characters are going to act out the story and what they are going to say, go back and forth over the punchlines for the jokes.

Step 3: Storyboard the comic on notebook paper if I'm going to be doing something other than the two panel format I normally use

Step 4: Once characters are placed in the strip alter parts of the character models to fit the strip

Step 5: Add background colors or objects in

Step 6: Add speech bubbles and words

Step 7: Post

Step 8: Have the friends who the characters are based on tell me it was funny or they're going to hit me with a car

Step 9: Assuming I dodged the car, repeat steps 1-8
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:04PM
AQua_ng at 2:48AM, May 7, 2006
posts: 7,830
joined: 4-6-2006
Stage 1: Think up of ideas while in the shower and sleep. Half an hour.

Stage 2: Transfer the thoughts into character models scrap paper via pencil. 1-2 hours.

Stage 3: Scan the paper, soften the image. 10 minutes.

Stage 4: DD Forums/disttractions. 1 hour.

Stage 5: Pretend to do homework while firing up flash pro 8. 10 mintues.

Stage 6: Import scanned file onto stage and trace over the models. 1 hour.

Stage 7: Open previous comic files to use as a guide of colours and fill in. While “doing homework”. 1 hour.

Stage 8: Resize models. Background made up from the head. 0.5-1 hour.

Stage 9: Dialogue made up on the spot. 10 minutes.

Stage 10: Witty title. 2 minutes.

Stage 11: Preview, save as .png, post. 20 minutes.

Stage 12: Wait for comments. Sideways 8 hours.

Stage 13: Rinse and repeat.

K.A.L.A-dan! Brigade Captain :D
K.A.L.A.-dan forums!
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:54AM
Arson at 3:03AM, May 7, 2006
posts: 33
joined: 5-5-2006
1. Think about pagelayout and dialogue. If I'm in doubt I make a few thumbnails and discuss it with my teacher. He's an experienced comic artist, so he usually has some good advides.
2. Start doing the panels.
3. Stare blankly at the page for a few hours..
4. Sketch and ink.
5. Scan the pages, colour and text.
6. Done =o

Usually 3-6 hours, depending on how long the “blank stare” stage is.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
crescendo at 5:23PM, May 7, 2006
posts: 30
joined: 4-15-2006
1.plan out a story arc and about how many strips it'll take
2. plan out the strip on about half a page of my sketchbook or on the back of homework using stick figures (helps to get the basic motions out and see if you want to change an angle or something without having to erase alot)
3.write out the script for the individual script
4.on a fresh piece of paper i use a ruler to layout the panels
5.sketch out the basic motions lightly
6.flesh out the sketches and erase extra lines.
7.draw some backgrounds
8.inking (with Faber-Castell artist pens)
9. hand it in to my friend
10. he scans it and adds colour and cleans it up in photoshop
11.he sends it back to me
12. i upload it and add commentary
13. rinse and repeat.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:49AM
anystar at 12:51PM, May 16, 2006
posts: 154
joined: 4-11-2006
mmm XD

1. Get a very rough idea from nowhere right before falling sleep.
2. Instead of sleeping, keep awake and write out half a story outline. Injure eyes and headmeats in the process cause you're too lazy to get out of bed and turn a proper light on.
3. Sleep. Wake up the next morning and become angered by the outline I wrote the night before. Trash it and rewrite the outline four more times until satisfied. But that's still only half of the story; maybe only a quarter when I start coming up with other things to add in.
4. Try to write out detailed novel-like version of story then give up after the first chapter because you realize you'd rather just draw it.

1. sketch character designs. trash the first set AFTER the inking stage because you suddenly realize you hate them. sketch a second set and trash those too. Third/fourth set of character designs are the ones you actually stick with.
2. Thumbnail and images for a cover and chapter dividers.
3. Thumbnail the pages for the first chapter.

Pencil and Ink
1. Pencil the first cover, first chapter divider, and pages for the first chapter.
2. Pull out ink pens and start inking. Develop small blisters on your fingers from incorrectly holding the pens. Instead of taking a break, put a bandaid on the finger and keep going. I try very hard not to bleed on the artwork.
3. Erase pencil lines.
4. Use white ink to add in some detail.
5. Dance…and dance!..and dance!

1. Scan in lineart. My paper is a little too big for my scanner, so I have to scan my pages in parts and then line them up in photoshop.
2. Clean up the lineart. Fix major screw-ups as best you can.
3. Make preview version of pages to show to your friends. Dance!
4. Resize pages to the size you're eventually going to print at. Save all files as PSD's.
5. Add tones using a variety of programs - photoshop, comicworks and manga studio (debut version). I like comicworks the best, but manga studio has a greater variety of tones. I use photoshop brushes to get special effects in my toning; I find it difficult to scrape away tones using comicworks and manga studio, so while I might paste tones on in comicworks and manga studio, I do the rest of my detail editing in photoshop. As long as you keep your artwork in bitmap mode, you shouldn't have any problems switching between programs.
6. Letter comics in photoshop (I really need illustrator XD)
7. Size image for the web.
8. Upload. >> Fantasy Graphic Novel in Black and White :3
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:54AM
Oestaira at 2:52PM, May 20, 2006
posts: 31
joined: 3-11-2006
Ooh this looks fun, ok here's my process:

I sketch out my pages with .005 mechanical pencils.
Once I'm happy with the result I ink with millenium zig pens in the sizes .005, .01, .03 and .05.
I scan at 600 DPI and import into photoshop.
I turn the line art black and white and pull up my curves (ctrl M). I pull the highlights up and the shadows down for crisp lines.
I go back with an eraser and fine black brush to fix linging mistakes.
I convert back to RGB and create my layers under the setting ‘multiply’.
I apply my base colors with a soft brush at 15-20% opacity, going over the area multiple times to create subtle highlights and shadows.
I then take dodge and burn for more dramatic highlights and shadows.
I use the laso and 5% feathering for shadows created by opaque objects.
I then clean up my colors, add finishing touches, and flatten.
I then create another layer for speech bubbles and text in with photoshop.
Finaly I size and upload. XD
I found out the reason why I couldn't unserstand what it meant…the ActiveX box where the featured comics show up on the main site doesn't work on this comp…lol so I've never seen it. Was always wondering what that blank box was for….
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:20PM
spaz201 at 6:04PM, May 31, 2006
posts: 73
joined: 1-2-2006
My process is super easy. Because I use a tablet for almost the whole shebang.

1. Come up with a comic Idea, Where do they come from? Even I can't answer that.

2. draw out rough sketch of characters and other objects.
with tablet

3. using 2 mspaint I cut and paste what I drew with my tablet in a specified order and make the panels.

4. put in dialouge using paintshop pro.

5. using my tablet again, I define the lines, carefully earse the sketch lines.(this is new in the sense I do it better now.) and draw the text bubble.

5.5( doesn't happen often) use paintshop pro to color or other fun things.

And thats it. 5 simple steps and you have an Obnoxious High comic.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:53PM
ccs1989 at 1:34PM, June 5, 2006
posts: 2,656
joined: 1-2-2006
Step 1:
Take that there bristol board, after writing the dialogue of course, and put those there drawings onto that there bristol board.

Step 2:
Ink. Listen to music.

Step 3: Erase lines.

Step 4: Scan.

Step 5: Clean up in Photoshop, color, add word balloons, save periodically.

Step 6: Put onto internet.

Step 7: Get critisised.

Step 8: Huddle back into room to be emo.

Step 9: Wait a day, get over it, return to Step 1.

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:37AM
Piscareous at 12:48PM, June 6, 2006
posts: 104
joined: 2-22-2006
I dont have right now since Im revising and researching for my comic right now. But last year when I was updating my comic (before the site went POOF!) I would get my script in order (which would more than likely change when put to the final version). After that I brainstorm on the situation and what it should look like, and start to draw.( This strategey cost many pieces of paper their lives without honor. Which is why I started doing thumbnail skecthes first.) I mainly used a 6H drawing pencil when I started and then went over it with a darker pencil like a 2H. Hope that helped a bit. :D
“Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance”
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:44PM
AQua_ng at 1:19PM, June 6, 2006
posts: 7,830
joined: 4-6-2006
I work…with my hands.

That's weird.

K.A.L.A-dan! Brigade Captain :D
K.A.L.A.-dan forums!
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:54AM
ozoneocean at 1:38PM, June 6, 2006
posts: 25,994
joined: 1-2-2004
I work…with my hands.

That's weird.
Don't worry Aqua, Red's just talking about masturbation again. :wink:
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:23PM
Marl at 8:38AM, June 7, 2006
posts: 59
joined: 5-15-2006
Righto. How I “work”:

1. Draw out rough version of comic on paper
2. Rub that out, start again.
3. Draw comic again, but with more detail.
4. Ink, erase lines
5. Scan
6. Into Photoshop. Do lineart using vectors, and then stroking paths / Do lineart on layer above pencil sketch with tablet. (Easier for me to trace than to just draw directly in. It'll improve, with time…)
7. Delete pencil sketch layer - just left with lineart.
8. Use magic wand tool to select areas that need to be coloured. Expand selection slightly, and put each colour on a separate layer underneath the lineart.
9. Shade picture by selecting areas of colour and reducing the brightness.
10. Write text on layer above lineart.
11. On layer above lineart but below text, draw speech bubbles using ovals and vectors. Stroke paths to do outline
12. Colour the speech bubbles white on layer below.
13. Flatten image. Apply any comic-wide special effects.
14. Save as .png
15. Open in the GIMP, reduce size of the comic to roughly 800x800 (Yeah, I know. I *could* do it in Photoshop. I find it much easier and faster in the GIMP, though.)
16. Save as .png, upload to Drunkduck. Inform my partner in crime that I've uploaded (and occasionally ask for the next strip. Si usually works a few weeks ahead of me though, so this rarely happens). =)

and that's how the “magic” happens. Hopefully it'll get faster with practice. ¬.¬
“Rawglrglrglrglrgl!” quoth the murloc, his wrath inflamed.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:54PM
Radec at 4:40PM, June 19, 2006
posts: 1,414
joined: 6-18-2006
Well, My process is similar, yet different in many ways.

1. Think up funny idea.
2. Forget funny idea.
3. Remember funny idea twelve days later when I hit my head on something.
4. Draw comic box (BY HAND! MUAHAHAHA)
5. Add dialogue (pay no attention to handwriting, no one reads it anyways.)
6. draw a character.
7. get angry, IT AIN'T RIGHT!
8. hit something.
9. erase it and draw again.
10. and again.
11. one more try.
12. give up and just doodle the rest onto there.
13. try to erase eraser smudges, making things worse.
14. attempt to scan image into computer.
15. pray.
16. reduce size of image, crop image.
17. send image to MS Paint and doodle on it.
18. Erase the funny mustaches and top hats. put on website.
19. pray.
20. pray into a megaphone in case God didn't hear.
21. eat some cheetos.

It doesn't really matter what I do anyways. My drawings aren't good enough for me to bother! :D
<= dead and buried.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:58PM
Corvin at 10:03PM, June 19, 2006
posts: 157
joined: 5-29-2006
1. go through the script ideas i have written on various pieces of cardboard from the past week or so.

2. take my #2 yellow pencil and sketch out panels, one per page of my sketchbook or so.

3. ink with a permanent marker and try to erase all pencil lines.

4. scan into photoshop for coloring.

5. compose.

the update for saturday, june 17, took about 9 hours total, spread over two days, using this process. mostly because im not very good at coloring yet.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:46AM
Generic Human at 12:25AM, July 9, 2006
posts: 405
joined: 1-7-2006
Step 1: Think up a general “punch line” or gag.
Step 2: Sketch it out on notebook paper.
Step 3: Draw out the actual panels in pencil
Step 4: Ink them and erase all the pencil
Step 5: Scan it, then email the images to myself so I can open it on my own computer.
Step 6: Start colouring…procrastinate for a couple of hours…or days…or weeks as the case may be. In fact, that's what I'm doing right now. I should be colouring.
Step 7: Finish colouring and assemble the panels.
Step 8: Add the dialouge, save it, and get it up on my site.
Step 9: Rinse and Repeat.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:34PM
lukee at 12:36PM, July 9, 2006
posts: 572
joined: 1-1-2006
First step: Thinking/sketching. I usually spend about an hour on this, which involves random doodling in my sketchbook until I come up with a good idea for the next strip.

Second step: Refining the joke. This step varies in length; if the joke is good enough in its rough form, then this step is pretty short, but if I only have a vague idea of what the joke will actually be, it becomes longer. I basically work on it until I have something reasonably humorous.

Third step: Computerizing. In this step, I load up the comic template in Photoshop, and put together the comic in its final form. This is usually the second quickest step, taking about 15 minutes to half an hour.

Fourth step: Publishing. The simplest step, in which I upload the comic to my website, and write up a quick newspost.

And that's how I work. :D
Genuine President For Life No Seriously Guys I Mean It For Reals of the Top Drawer
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:49PM
genericusername at 12:56PM, July 20, 2006
posts: 13
joined: 7-6-2006
First of all I pay some homeless people to come up with a genius punchline.

Then I sketch the comic on an a3 page then outline with black pen, I do not rub out the pencil marks at this stage like most other comics.

I then scan it (requires two scans because of the a3 page) and save it at shockingly high resoultion - about 300dpi (and this is an a3 page, remember). God knows why I work at this resolution, It takes a good three or four minutes to save the thing, but I do.

Next take it to photoshop and make it into three identical layers - we're looking at about a 150mb image at this point (note to self - buy more ram).

the top layer gets set to 30% transparency and the contrast is adjusted with the “levels” feature.

the middle layer gets converted to black and white lines with “threshold” and is coloured.

the bottom layer is made invisible and totaly ignored.

The text is then added and outlined with text bubbles.

I resize the comic to 15% and compress the shit out of it.

Then I post it on the internet where nobody reads it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:34PM
Jenshin at 11:07AM, July 24, 2006
posts: 24
joined: 1-9-2006
Oo.. technique styles.

First I make a script. Scripting is my favorite part of the whole process.
Usually I script out a scene at a time.
Then I make thumbnails.
Then I draw the layout on some paper.
Then.. drawing everything in pencil.
Scanning it, and adjusting it in photoshop.
And then coloring it in photoshop. Yay!
Then, putting it up on DD.

My record time for making a comic page is two hours.
The longest time it's ever taken me is probably around five hours.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:07PM
Kira Dwenna at 2:02PM, July 24, 2006
posts: 26
joined: 5-26-2006
This is an interesting question to answer.

1. Go to convention meeting, wonder why the heck I bother to work with the chaos, laugh my tail off at someone's random comment (or at our shared - DOOMED - fate :roll: ), and think it would make a good comic.

2. Let it stew for a few days. Come up with twenty other comic ideas in the meantime.

3. Work on the script on scraps of paper I will eventually lose. <This step is optional at this point, and can also be included in every other step I do later>

4. Draw the comic, one panel at a time, on an 8 1/2 x 11'' sheet of paper. Or two.

5. Ink over comic using Micron pens, and tracing vellum. –> This step is new and was included very recently. W00T for the learning curve!

6. Scan into desktop computer.

7. Mess with Paintshop Pro, Paint, and Microsoft for a while trying to get it to look right.

8. Glare at the screen for a few minutes.

9. Look away.

10. Consider pacts with demi-gods.

11. Look back.

12. Sigh, and continue. Consider learning more about the programs I am abusing.

13. Use layering technique to plug in text and word bubbles.

14. Hop-skip over to the Student Union Building to ‘borrow’ their wireless and upload with me laptop. Depending on when I finish, this may occur from anywhere between 8am in the morning, to 11pm at night.

15. Glance at the uploaded page, wince, and promise never to do it again.

16. Go to the next con-meeting, get re-infected, and start all over with #2

It's the drawing that takes the longest to do. *sigh* :oops:

Look! A typo! *delete* :-D
Why be a Lesbian if you can't be Serious about it?

“Webcomics should be as fun to write, as they are to draw, as they are to read.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
Huxley at 9:06PM, Aug. 4, 2006
posts: 72
joined: 3-6-2006
1. Try to imagine how I want it to look
2. Draw multiple thumbnails ( pretty quick sketches
3. Sketch the one I chose out over to get a better idea of how I envision it.
4. This step I actually do clean penciled lines
5. a.Ink with paper under my hand so the lines don't get smudged
b. Or I can digitally ink it by scanning into photoshop.
6. I scan into photoshop at 300 dpi.
7. I clean it up.
8. I add the text.
9. I resize it.
10. Go watch tv.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:52PM

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