Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

making lots of pages FAST ?
lothar at 8:24PM, Jan. 6, 2010
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so my stated goal fore this year is to make 1000 pages of comics. just like ladt years goal that failed for various reasons.but this year will be different i can feel it ?
so i did some calculations an with the amount of time i have ( about 2 hours per day) i need to be able to produce a finished page in less than 43 minutes.
so does anybody have that kinda advice. i tryed searching on the web but that was boring.
WHAT ARE THE TECHNIQUES for doing it fast ???
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
Ironscarf at 3:23AM, Jan. 7, 2010
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I have no concept of schedules so you should do everything I don't do.

Don't paint.

Don't make loads of corrections/adjustments.

Don't say to yourself “I'll look at this again tomorrow”.

Don't get caught up in the process, enjoying it for it's own sake.

Don't get involved in lengthy processes: keep it simple and what works for you.

My philosophy is, I'm not having to meet a publishers deadline, so why not just enjoy the work?
Setting yourself goals/deadlines is an admirable thing though, but there are no specific and foolproof speed techniques. All I'd say is don't edit yourself too much, view each page as part of a process rather than a finished statement and don't be afraid to experiment: don't let it become a chore, or there's no point.

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:02PM
lothar at 7:05AM, Jan. 7, 2010
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yea thats good advice .
for sure i dont want it to be a chore , i just have a stack of 20 or so notebooks with various stories and ideas that i feel is haunting me , and if i cant get them out soon i might as well burn the whole lot of them . so time is of the essence
i will definetly veiw it as a process-like an ancient egyptian scroll or a roll of toilet paper
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
Darth Mongoose at 2:31PM, Jan. 7, 2010
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Most comics which keep to a high quality finish but update a lot do it by using a team. If you have a penciller, inker and colourist/toner, you can have the inking and colouring on pages being done while the next page is being drawn. I spend about 6 hours per page, usually about 2 hours on each stage (I can do black and white a lot faster. Colour really adds to the time taken!) so if I had an inker and toner, I could probably get pages done in a third of the time. If you also have a writer, then you can cut down the planning time too.
Or if the ideas being unused is what's bothering you, and they're really good ideas, why not be the writer on a project and team up with an artist?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:08PM
skoolmunkee at 2:55PM, Jan. 7, 2010
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Hm. From my own experiences trying to streamline my own process (which has been an improvement, if not hugely successful):

1. Spend otherwise downtime doing the writing. I tend to think of comic ideas while I'm swimming. I had to start bringing a notebook in my gym bag. I try to plan out how the comics will look too, so I don't have to spend too much time thumbnailing or trying different compositions.

2. Keep the artwork simple. Keep reminding yourself as you're drawing not to get too hung up on it. Try to get out of doing backgrounds and difficult or time-consuming things without being too cheap too often.

3. Keep the coloring simple. BPelt's flatting plugin for photoshop saves a lot of time. I stopped shading, and invested some time into preparing layers filled with photoshop screentone so I have them ready-made to pop in rather than resizing and fitting every time.

4. Do as much ‘right’ on the first try as you can. Only go back to redo stuff that just doesn't seem right at all.

5. Make the comics shorter - rather than a long elaborate page, break it into 2 simpler pages. You spend about the same amount of time completing them, but you feel like you've gotten more done. :]

6. Copy-paste with discretion. I've done some panels that are just re-sized re-traces, or incorporate reused elements like smaller scale backgrounds, etc. You have to be careful with this though. Sometimes I'll just use a figure as a ‘base’ and draw on a new layer over that in a different pose, so I don't have to worry too much about proportions etc. although the overall figure may be completely different, it saved me a bit of work.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:43PM
Aurora Borealis at 4:47PM, Jan. 7, 2010
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A looong list…

keep backgrounds to minimum: Just do an establishing shot where you can see where the characters are and then stick to basic lines. Edge of the table, corner of the room, outline of the tv, window's grid etc.

Fill in large black areas digitally. Simply outline with a thick line, then magic wand wand all the areas you want to fill in Photoshop and go to the selection menu where you choose “expand” and simpyl expand the selection by a pixel or three (depending on a resolution). Then fill the areas with black.

Work out all your designs, reference etc. before you start drawing, then just take a quick look whenever necessary. Write out the script, preferably with raw thumbnails, in the same fashion.

Don't crosshatch, it's time consuming.

Keep objects down to their most recognizable basics. As long as the cup looks like a cup, it is good enough for that. No need to draw every leaf on a tree or every scale on a fish. Operate with symbols and representations of things.

Avoid large crowd scenes, these are a pain to draw. Same with city panoramas, the more buildings, the more windows to draw. If you must, find a way to block off the view with something large and fairly simple to draw (the nearest skyscraper or a mountain or a balloon flying in the view)… This leads to the next point…

Foreground objects in silhouette. Put a camera in such fashion that it views a scene from behind something. For example, place it right above the table, there a huge silhouette of a coffe/beer/whatever mug blocks off large part of the panel, have the character in the background. Do it with characters too, show a confrontation in “western showndown” style where one guy is partially blocking away the camera with his shoulder/arm/leg/whatever.

Learn the “Wally Wood's 22 Panels That Always Work”. You can even print it out or something. These will help when doing the thumbnail sketches, enliven the talking head scenes (nothing more boring than the gamer webcomic standard of showing both characters from the same camera angle all the damned time) and dramatize some scenes. Not to mention that two heads in closeup = no background to draw :D

Figure out the right number of panels per page. Too few will mean lots of backgrounds or background characters to draw, too many will make the page unclear. Generally four to eight works fine.

Do b&w comics. If you really must do color, either keep it flat and simple (just fill the areas) or go “quickpainting” meaning, just smudge some color, not worrying much about whether it stays in lines or not. Actually sometimes going out of the bounds can create interesting results.

If you decide to do b&w, work in stark contrasting black and white. Operate with large fields of solid black or white, use silhouettes, do night scenes as a white city outline on an otherwise black panel (with the exception of streetlight spots).
If you're doing scenes at night, either come up with a “spray” brush to quickly place the stars, or just create a large starry background and just paste it into the background, from time to time tilting or rotating it 90 degrees or flipping it. No one will notice then it's the same thing.

Draw in bold strokes (if you're working digitally). I've been using brushes running into 100s in size to create quick “squiggly” shadows on objects.

If you're working on paper, scan the finished page while already working on the next one. Grab the pencil whenever you're waiting for your pc to finish some operation on the scanned page (whatever time consuming thing you happen to be doing).

Use a blue pencil to avoid scanning it. Edit it out in photoshop. Actually, use any color pencil you can find, it can be easily edited out using “color replace”, just grab the red/blue/green/whatever it was and change it to white.

And finally… draw a lot. The more you'll draw, the less mistakes you'll be making and at some point you'll be able to jump straight into the inks (perhaps just block out the major elements with a pencil).

Hope any of that is useful :D
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM
lothar at 7:18AM, Jan. 8, 2010
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thanks everybody , this is great advice and i took some notes here to pin over my drawing desk. and i printed out that Wally Wood page ! thanks
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
JillyFoo at 7:29PM, Jan. 16, 2010
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My trick is making a many pages at once.

http://jillyfoo.deviantart.com/art/Demon-Eater-page-tutorial-121917005
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:08PM
alwinbot at 6:44PM, March 8, 2010
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Don't dwell too much on one page, just keep going through them.

-Try not to color if you can

-Only retry the page, if you did something drastically wrong that can never be fixed.

-The more pages you put out a day, the less attention people will pay to detail.
Read this comic. It is the greatest journal comic ever written and drawn. Trust me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
Tim Wellman at 2:51PM, March 9, 2010
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I know you said you have a lot of stories you want to draw, but… think about it… if they're good stories do you want to just throw them out with bad art? If your stories are good, you're doing them an injustice to speed through them. Take your time, draw carefully and well. Ten well-drawn pages are worth hundreds of sloppy pages. There's time… the internet will be here tomorrow and next year, and ten years from now. Devote yourself to quality, not quantity. In the long run you'll get many more readers… the end result is what matters. No one ever says, ‘Oh, he’s great, he drew 10,000 pages!'. But they do say, ‘Wow, look at this page he drew!’

Read through all the tips listed in this thread for ways to speed up… every single one of them removes important elements of good art.

Just something to think about… do you want to be fast, or good?
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:30PM
Aurora Borealis at 3:59PM, March 9, 2010
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Tim Wellman
I know you said you have a lot of stories you want to draw, but… think about it… if they're good stories do you want to just throw them out with bad art? If your stories are good, you're doing them an injustice to speed through them. Take your time, draw carefully and well. Ten well-drawn pages are worth hundreds of sloppy pages. There's time… the internet will be here tomorrow and next year, and ten years from now. Devote yourself to quality, not quantity. In the long run you'll get many more readers… the end result is what matters. No one ever says, ‘Oh, he’s great, he drew 10,000 pages!'. But they do say, ‘Wow, look at this page he drew!’

Read through all the tips listed in this thread for ways to speed up… every single one of them removes important elements of good art.

Just something to think about… do you want to be fast, or good?

How about both?

The more you draw, the better you get. But the faster you draw, the more exercise you get. Thus, you get better faster. Obviously fast drawing is not for everyone.
Osamu Tezuka did around 10 pages on a daily average (if you take his 40 years long career and divide that by the 150k pages he drew, you'll end up with something pretty close to ten). Does the fact that he drew fast makes him a bad artist?
Does that make Art Adams the greatest artist in the world because he can't make more than ten pages a month?
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM
Tim Wellman at 2:21PM, March 10, 2010
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I'm sure you totally misunderstood everything I said. Re-read my post and say something more logical.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:30PM
The Gravekeeper at 5:52PM, March 10, 2010
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Aurora Borealis
Tim Wellman
I know you said you have a lot of stories you want to draw, but… think about it… if they're good stories do you want to just throw them out with bad art? If your stories are good, you're doing them an injustice to speed through them. Take your time, draw carefully and well. Ten well-drawn pages are worth hundreds of sloppy pages. There's time… the internet will be here tomorrow and next year, and ten years from now. Devote yourself to quality, not quantity. In the long run you'll get many more readers… the end result is what matters. No one ever says, ‘Oh, he’s great, he drew 10,000 pages!'. But they do say, ‘Wow, look at this page he drew!’

Read through all the tips listed in this thread for ways to speed up… every single one of them removes important elements of good art.

Just something to think about… do you want to be fast, or good?

How about both?

The more you draw, the better you get. But the faster you draw, the more exercise you get. Thus, you get better faster. Obviously fast drawing is not for everyone.
Osamu Tezuka did around 10 pages on a daily average (if you take his 40 years long career and divide that by the 150k pages he drew, you'll end up with something pretty close to ten). Does the fact that he drew fast makes him a bad artist?
Does that make Art Adams the greatest artist in the world because he can't make more than ten pages a month?


I really depends on the person and what they're trying to achieve. I can easily draw several full pages in just a few short hours. Does that make them good? Hell, no. They look like crap. Have they improved my art skills? No. Sitting down and learning how to render real life, 3-dimensional objects into a 2-dimensional medium did. That took a lot of time, and it's an ongoing process. It's only after you learn the basics that you can increase your speed and still churn out decent-quality images. Otherwise you're just putting out doodles and sketches. It's unreasonable to assume that if you draw several faces very quickly every day that you're going to gain as much experience as you would if you took the time to carefully study a face. Again, once you've learned how to draw something well you can then learn how to draw it quickly and still make it look good.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:14PM
Aurora Borealis at 5:32PM, March 11, 2010
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What I'm generally aiming at is this:

Spending more hours on one drawing doesn't necessarily make it better, just more detailed/crowded. Now, there is a certain amount of time you have to put into your page (and it depends onwhat you're trying to draw and how complicated it is etc.), but anything beyond that is extra. Since comics are a storytelling medium, first and foremost what you have to put down on paper is visual information. Who is doing what, where, why, when and how? If you can put all that on the page, that's it. That's the necessary basics. Comics are slow enough to produce without you trying to draw an entire drawer of screws and lugnuts, down to the tiniest detail. Of course, if you enjoy this level of detail, sure, be my guest. I don't frown when Geof Darrow draws a doublespread with literally over a thousand people scattered all over the floor. I might frown at how slow he is because of that, but hey, that's his choice of style and all. You can't rush the artist.

But you can't tell him to slow down either. I could go on naming lots of artists who created thousands of pages or were known for working fast. Just a few examples: Shotaro Ishinomori (creator of Kamen Rider and Cyborg 009, he drew 128 thousand pages in his career), Go Nagai (during the 70s he had 5 titles running at the same time in several different magazines, among them his two greatest works Mazinger and Devilman), Jack Kirby (he drew up to three pages a day, producing sometimes up to four titles a month), Sergio Aragones (known for Groo the Wanderer and his illustrations for Mad Magazine, a very fast artist when it comes to actual drawing, he uses the extra time for study and research so that every line on a ship drawn by him, no matter how cartoony, is actually based on reality), Guy Davis (although I'm suspecting that in his case the lightness of his linework is not due to him drawing fast but a result of tons of practice), and then you've got James Kochalka, who clearly detests “craft” approach to comics and has changed his art style to be as simple and fast as possible.
Each of these artists is great at what they do and each one draws (or drew as some of them have passed away already) fast or very fast.

Personally, I've noticed that I deliver the best artwork when I do 2-3 pages a day. Any slower and I lose steam and my focus on the project, any faster and I start cutting too many corners. I'm still hoping to speed up someday, once I stop screwing up my proportions on the first sketch, heh.

Anyway, people saying “fast is bad, draw slower” usually get me in the ranting mode (as witnessed).

Also, one of generally suggested drawing exercises I keep stumbling upon are quick gesture/pose sketches. 30seconds to couple minutes. I tried that and my sense of the whole figure has gotten visibly better after only a week!
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM
The Gravekeeper at 9:48AM, March 12, 2010
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Aurora Borealis
What I'm generally aiming at is this:

Spending more hours on one drawing doesn't necessarily make it better, just more detailed/crowded. Now, there is a certain amount of time you have to put into your page (and it depends onwhat you're trying to draw and how complicated it is etc.), but anything beyond that is extra. Since comics are a storytelling medium, first and foremost what you have to put down on paper is visual information. Who is doing what, where, why, when and how? If you can put all that on the page, that's it. That's the necessary basics. Comics are slow enough to produce without you trying to draw an entire drawer of screws and lugnuts, down to the tiniest detail. Of course, if you enjoy this level of detail, sure, be my guest. I don't frown when Geof Darrow draws a doublespread with literally over a thousand people scattered all over the floor. I might frown at how slow he is because of that, but hey, that's his choice of style and all. You can't rush the artist.

But you can't tell him to slow down either. I could go on naming lots of artists who created thousands of pages or were known for working fast. Just a few examples: Shotaro Ishinomori (creator of Kamen Rider and Cyborg 009, he drew 128 thousand pages in his career), Go Nagai (during the 70s he had 5 titles running at the same time in several different magazines, among them his two greatest works Mazinger and Devilman), Jack Kirby (he drew up to three pages a day, producing sometimes up to four titles a month), Sergio Aragones (known for Groo the Wanderer and his illustrations for Mad Magazine, a very fast artist when it comes to actual drawing, he uses the extra time for study and research so that every line on a ship drawn by him, no matter how cartoony, is actually based on reality), Guy Davis (although I'm suspecting that in his case the lightness of his linework is not due to him drawing fast but a result of tons of practice), and then you've got James Kochalka, who clearly detests “craft” approach to comics and has changed his art style to be as simple and fast as possible.
Each of these artists is great at what they do and each one draws (or drew as some of them have passed away already) fast or very fast.

Personally, I've noticed that I deliver the best artwork when I do 2-3 pages a day. Any slower and I lose steam and my focus on the project, any faster and I start cutting too many corners. I'm still hoping to speed up someday, once I stop screwing up my proportions on the first sketch, heh.

Anyway, people saying “fast is bad, draw slower” usually get me in the ranting mode (as witnessed).

Also, one of generally suggested drawing exercises I keep stumbling upon are quick gesture/pose sketches. 30seconds to couple minutes. I tried that and my sense of the whole figure has gotten visibly better after only a week!


Okay, the way I interpreted your post was that you were suggesting that simply drawing everything faster, not just comic pages, would improve their ability. Good ol' misinterpretation. Quick studies certainly do have their uses, but taking the time to get a good sense of the proportions of a subject is still extremely useful. Taking your time while doing a study of a subject you personally find difficult to draw also allows you to make corrections.

All in all, though, what works best varies from person to person. If you find that drawing quickly works for you, congratulations! Most artists I've worked with and talked to generally benefit more from careful initial studies before they begin integrating the subject into their own visual style.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:14PM

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