Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Time Saver - Develope a Character Library
grobles63 at 5:33PM, Aug. 27, 2009
posts: 12
joined: 6-2-2009
A big time saver for me is an old trick that cartoonist like Stan Drake used. They would reuse old drawings by pasting copies of past drawings on to the new artwork . But where they cut out and pasted up paper we can create PNG's and cut and past them in photoshop. What I do now is draw in my sketch pad through out the week, working from a rough layout I would do drawings of each figure separately. I would then ink and scan those drawings into photoshop, color them and save them first as photoshop files then I would save them as PNG images, preserving the transparent background, I would also create the backgrounds in the same way. Then I put all the piece's together following my layout.
I save all the individual components in a folder called Character Library to reuse later when needed. You can check out the results on my webcomic
I started doing this at about page 30 on, at about page 41 I started pasting up everything.
I hope this is not confusing because it works and can be a real time saver. Let me know If I need to be more clear.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:39PM
Skullbie at 6:19PM, Aug. 27, 2009
posts: 4,709
joined: 12-9-2007
Ahhh yeah, I rarely ever get to post this:
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:47PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 6:22PM, Aug. 27, 2009
posts: 1,340
joined: 9-2-2007
Ehh, personally, I'd like to draw something different for each panel. Having the whole copy-paste thing IS a time-saver, sure, but with your character having their mouth open like their talking when they aren't saying anything, just kinda looks stupid, IMO.

IMAGE is terrible with that, I realize.
I see it in Invincible, Walking Dead, and I think it might even be in Astounding Wolfman.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
skoolmunkee at 1:55AM, Aug. 28, 2009
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
I don't think it's a bad idea, I've re-used art with major/minor tweaks myself… I just think you have to be a little careful, because once people start noticing you do that they tend to start thinking less of the comic.

The other danger is that overall things start looking a little same-y if you're using your stock images for a lot of things. Everything ends up being shown at the same angles, you re-use the same backgrounds over and over, etc. Sometimes that's fine but things start to feel like a sunday comic where no one changes and every strip looks the same.

How about sharing some tips about when it's a good time to re-use art, or ways to re-use it effectively?

I'll start:

Many people re-use a panel for ‘time lapse’ effect, but making small changes can change it from a simple copy-paste to something more significant and visually interesting. For example:
- Different colors, lighting, a silhouette, background effects, etc (with purpose)
- Re-inking the same scene for each panel, even if you're using it 2 or 3 times, helps alleviate some of the ‘copy and pasted’ look
- Zoomed in or zoomed out, for effect (good in combination with the first one) or a different part, like re-using just a part of a background
- See if you can change the angle, like if you want to re-use a top down scene, you can turn it around to look somewhat different (as long as it doesn't make the perspective all wrong).
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
grobles63 at 1:58AM, Aug. 28, 2009
posts: 12
joined: 6-2-2009
Okay that's taking it overboard. I wouldn't paste the same image on the same page like that. There were artist who did this in the past and you would have never noticed because they were not so tacky to make it obvious. I m talking about guys like Stan Drake,Al Williamson,Wally Wood,Etc. I would wait some pages before I reuse something and It probably would not be the center of my composition-I would not just repeat a whole panel.
I purchased a couple of originals by Stan Drake ( The Heart of Juliet Jones ), In them he had at least two panels where he pasted up a copy of a previous drawing with some alterations so that it would fit in the composition of the new panel. That is what I was talking about. It looks just plain lazy if you go overboard with it.
skoolmunkee has the right idea
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:39PM
Phillby at 9:08AM, Aug. 28, 2009
posts: 195
joined: 3-12-2009
I enjoy drawing my characters too much to copy and paste them.

Backgrounds however…
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:43PM
Aurora Borealis at 1:52PM, Aug. 28, 2009
posts: 1,289
joined: 3-2-2008
It's an interesting shortcut which I have used from time to time, usually on closeups, and only when it works. And I rarely reuse the same image as it is, usually I modify it.

See the repeat? :D

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM
grobles63 at 1:26AM, Aug. 29, 2009
posts: 12
joined: 6-2-2009
This is a page I've done where all the images are drawn separately and then put together like a jigsaw puzzle. The images are then saved for future use. I wont use whole panels again, I think that's a bit tacky unless there is a solid reason for it. How is this a time saver? I work on the drawings in my sketch pad as I go through out my day, At work on my breaks, when I do casual sketching.I ink the drawings in my sketch pad, scan them and color them in Photoshop. I am always thinking about the comic and what I'm going to draw next.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:39PM

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