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Speeding up the process (Quackcast 21)

skoolmunkee at 3:02AM, April 4, 2011

General categories and some examples on how to make some elements of the process faster.

(5 star average out of 1 vote)

Speeding up the Process

We’re going to try to say at least something about all levels of “the process” - writing, drawing, putting together, posting. (And communicating, if working collaboratively!) although most people feel the artwork can be the most time consuming part, so much of what we talk about will be about that stage. And not everyone feels like they SHOULD have to work faster, that some things are worth spending time on. We’re not arguing that- but we do hear a lot more “how do I do it faster” than “how do I do it slower!”

In general, you probably know what you spend the most time doing, and whether you think that time is well spent. We won’t have the solution for everything, but there’s a few main categories you can think of when you’re thinking about “how to speed up a process:”

General Categories

Things or processes which you can set up to pave the way for you to move along quickly.

- Copy/Pasting and reusing art
- using pieces of large ‘stock’ backgrounds, re-inking even though using the same pencils, etc.
- Using 3D programs to create stock environments and outputting bespoke camera angles/etc to use as a guide/tracing for backgrounds
- Creating (or buying) paper with predefined panels
- Creating template files within software so everything needed to create a page (layers, default text, palettes, etc) are present
- Creating software files with frequently used resources (patterns, tones, copy/paste elements)

Things which remove work from you entirely. By nature most of these are going to involve software.

- Plugins for software (like bpelt for Photoshop) which automate tedious elements (like base color fills, for bpelt)
- Brush settings, patterns, etc in software to achieve effects
- Programming keyboard shortcuts and macros for frequently used functions
- Automate filesharing with collaborators using services like Dropbox or Google Docs
- Using other formats, like voice recordings to give feedback to collaborators or dictate to speech-to-text to brainstorm/plan/write

Basically, it’s cutting corners. There’s an argument here for whether your shortcuts are ‘allowed’ to reduce your comic’s quality or not. In general most of these should be used sparingly! You don’t want to RUSH it, which will show and will burn you out. But you want to cut out things that don’t benefit you in some respect.

- Background “cheats” - photo elements, traces, minimal rendering, selective use, etc. (Do backgrounds when needed, just be more economical overall!)
- 3D elements (like figures) to render to match your style and place into the comic pages
- Not drawing behind where word balloons will be
- Re-using elements of the art (like copy/pasting one side of a face to make the other)
- tracing (or loosely tracing) backgrounds and figures from photo reference
- Use simpler art styles which can be produced more efficiently

Taking the time to learn about or get better at something generally means you can also do it very quickly.

- Take time to learn how to use the program more fully, some less obvious features can save a lot of time
- Take time to learn whether what you want to do can be done more easily or quickly in other programs
- Figure out whether you're doing something in the most efficient way (drawing in pencil may be faster than drawing with a tablet)
- Practice things that you may find difficult to draw (like hands), familiarity brings speed (however, try not to rely on using the same views/angles/etc constantly because it will look samey)
- Learning enough about web programming (php etc) or installations like Wordpress can make the hosting/posting element easier and faster

Being organized can help, and so can knowing what you need in order to work effectively. Time management too!

- keep a notebook handy for ideas, sketches, etc. and use it often
- keep in mind that being lazy doesn't always pay off
- scripting and thumbnailing before doing the drawing
- long-form comics: keep a file of characters, plot elements, important information, etc for quick reference
- have at hand any references you might need (costumes, etc.) as well as character drawings
- build up your references file as you go, make a habit of constantly collecting things you think will be useful to you
- mental preparation - create the space/environment you know you need. Music, time, meditation, etc.
- Use psyching-up or pumping-up strategies to get into the ‘zone’
- Working in ‘blocks’ (writing a lot of chapters at once, penciling a lot of pages at once, etc) to stay in that zone longer
- Setting yourself deadlines or goals (possibly backed up by telling your readers when to expect something)



Julien Brightside at 3:25AM, Jan. 25, 2012

Many useful tips here. Thumbs up for this one.

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