Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

The Spook Method
Mister Spook at 11:18PM, May 17, 2007
posts: 58
joined: 1-11-2006
Just thought I'd share my recent contribution to the NiH Forums
, a fun community of creative individuals of all types. Worth checking out!

This is not an exhaustive tutorial or anything, but just a fun little window into my process. I don't claim for it to be the best method but it is MY method.

The first thing I start out with his coming up with an idea. If I'm being efficient and productive I'll usually consult my small sketch booklet for possible thumbnail sketches of ideas I've had. In the case of my most recent strip, I didn't have any I wanted to do so I just started with a blank piece of cheap sketch paper and started drawing.

This accomplishes two things: 1) Let's me loosen up my hand a bit. 2) I can work out the rough composition of a panel, etc.

This is what I came up with:

As you can see, I settled on a Zelda spoof - Slither approaching a mysterious shopkeeper about his wares. I originally had a bird in-between them, but I felt this broke up the flow a bit so I move him over to the right. I write down potential dialogue… then I bust out the heavy stuff.

Now that I have sketch ready, I move onto my bristol board. It's pricey, but since I ink by hand, I really like my lines coming out as smooth as possible so there's really no substitution. I use my T-Square and measure out the panel for my “Slither Shorts” and box everything in. Then with a pencil, I lightly sketch in the scene using my previous sketch as a reference. This is still not an exact process, I end up changing a few things and adding them since I have to compress the scene a bit. Satisfied with that, I lightly ink the outlines of everything then erase my old pencil markings. After that, I go ahead and ink more, adding value to specific lines and perhaps refilling lines that have become a little faded due to the eraser. This is perhaps the most stressful portion of my process. Mistakes can sometimes be fixed, via white-out or by computer, but I'd rather just get it right. On this strip, I bungled Slither's snout a bit and ended up shortening it to keep him consistent. After that's all done with, I go ahead and scan in the strip at 600 dpi Grayscale. I make sure it's as square as I can, clean up the lines, and adjust the values. Comes out looking like this:

Alrighty! Looking pretty good, though I will admit, my art lacks a little bit without the color - eh, let's see what we can do about that.

Now my coloring process is a little bit in-depth, utilizing a number of different layers in photoshop. The main thing I do is separate the line art from the background so I can “cell color” everything behind the lines. This gets rid of any white specs you might have by just bucket filling between the lines. I create a “flats” section first - just giving everything a basic color so that I can easily select sections, then I create a “highlights” and “shadows” section (though the two often intermingle - I don't really care so long as it's separate from the flats). After I'm done with that, I shade my line art level a bit then on a separate layer I add dialogue bubbles and speech! Whoohoo! This is pretty much the finished portion. I save my work, then I flatten and resize my image for the web. In the end, it looks like this.

So that's it in a nutshell. Depending on what the strip turns out to be it can either be simpler or more complicated. If anyone has questions/comments… concerns? I'd love to hear them. :D Oh, and if you'd really like to… go check out my comics here on DD. I luvs them comments. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:04PM
Mister Spook at 8:23PM, May 18, 2007
posts: 58
joined: 1-11-2006
Well, I didn't think it was THAT bad… :-\
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:04PM
Aurora Moon at 8:37AM, May 19, 2007
posts: 2,630
joined: 1-7-2006
your method is pretty nice. and nice one-panel strip.. ;)

Yeah, snakes have it rough. to hold anything they have to like hold it in their mouth or something. and some snakes actually vomits up thier eggs and or offspring. talk about gross. LOL
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
patrickdevine at 3:46PM, May 20, 2007
posts: 759
joined: 4-26-2007
I like the loose look of the thumbnail, but the finished full-color looks really nifty too. I like the how the Link-snake has a sword too, I mean what can he do with a sword when he's got no arms?!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:41PM
Mister Spook at 8:22PM, June 3, 2007
posts: 58
joined: 1-11-2006
Yes, sometimes I wish I could get more… activity in my inking work. I think it takes a lot of practice and talent to make pencils come alive. But I do OK. :P

I suppose Slither could always use his tail to whip out the sword, but then he might have a hard time slithering about, hehe.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:04PM

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