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Traditional Art in Webcomics

HippieVan at 12:00AM, Feb. 6, 2015

We've talked a few times in newsposts and Quackcasts about how tablets have made digital art more convenient than ever. But as much as I enjoy the clean lines and bright colours of digital drawing, when inspiration strikes I still often find myself reaching for my sketchbook and ProMarkers. There's something really satisfying about the texture of paper that a tablet can't quite reproduce. The only downside to this is that I've never had much luck translating traditional art into screen-friendly comics.

Generally I run into two problems:
- Do I draw the full comic page at once, or separate panels which I put together (along with speech bubbles, etc.) in photoshop?
- How do I preserve the original colours?

I know traditional art webcomics can be done, because I happen to be a sucker for watercolour webcomics! So for those of you who have incorporated traditional art into your comics, any tips for those of us who can't quite seem to make it work? And why have you decided on traditional art over digital? Let us know in the comments!

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Singring at 3:57PM, Feb. 7, 2015

I work almost 100% traditionally (apart from lettering and a bit of post-scanning shading and balancing etc.) I don;t colour, so that is not an issue for me. As good as some of the modern tablets etc. are, I just feel like I have much more control over a piece of paper and pencil. That tactile sensation is really essential for me considering the amount of detail I like to put into drawings. I know I could just zoom in/out of a digital page, but I find that tiresome, time-consuming and it tends to break my flow. So for the foreseeable future I see myself sticking with the digital.

fallopiancrusader at 8:51AM, Feb. 7, 2015

I find the main difference is that for traditional (physical) media, you need to spend more time planning stuff out before brush ever touches paper. Even with my digital work, I usually do a thumbnail on paper to plan out the page. I then scan the thumbnail and blow it up to full resolution inside Photoshop. I like treating the whole page as a meta-composition, but that's just me. You can also take the stance that making it up as you go along is an integral part of the comic's conceptual identity. Moebius did that with "The airtight garage". Color management will always have limitations in digital media, because you can manage colors all day, but every end user is going to have their own unknown monitor settings that will display your colors in radically different ways. Even greyscale art displays in unpredictably. If time permits, I try to view my color work on different monitors before releasing it. Printed work always has a smaller color gamut, but at least you have more control.

Ironscarf at 6:19AM, Feb. 7, 2015

I don't know if this is helpful at all, but I would resist treating them as seperate things. I don't like clean lines, so all my digital brushes have jitter or various other means of simulating a rough working surface. You might not see it in the finished, reduced page, but I need it when I'm drawing. Likewise colour: I'll usually mute the colours quite a bit. If you scan an old print comic and colourpick from that you'll get lovely pastels! I don't see why digital work should have harsh lines and eyeball searing colour.

Ironscarf at 6:13AM, Feb. 7, 2015

I learned to do everything traditionally, so going digital presented a choice: do I embrace a whole new style, or find ways to reproduce what I already do? I chose the latter. I treat my digital pages as if they were traditional pages, working on the whole rather than assembling panels and following the steps of drawing, inking and painting as before. The differences I take advantage of are the ones that help me most. I can scan in thumbnails and work in layers. I can throw ink at the page without fear of ruining it, or zoom in and out at will - a great help as my eyesight changes. If I develop an unsteady hand in later years, there are fixes for that too!

VinoMas at 7:11PM, Feb. 6, 2015

Love this. Most of my work is hand-drawn, colored with markers and pencils and cut out. It's so important that comics are done in a variety of ways and different mediums.

CornTown at 6:44PM, Feb. 6, 2015

While I ink my stuff by hand, I've only just delved into the world of color strips. Let me tell you, the results are better, but it is quite time consuming (Especially when coloring with a mouse).

brogan68 at 12:54PM, Feb. 6, 2015

I've always kinda stuck with the 'newspaper comic' look and format, so I rarely color my strips, and when I do it's digitally done. I do remember when I did my first book I took the 2 main characters and did an acrylic painting on canvas for it and enjoyed making it and really liking the look of it. It still hangs above my desk. :)

Banes at 11:54AM, Feb. 6, 2015

Another great topic, Hip! Big kudos to the artists who can pull this off. There are and have been some fantastic traditionally drawn webcomics on DD. The Godstrain, Putrid Meat, The Compozerz, and Master the Tiger spring to mind! All very different, but with a certain energy to their pages. The non digital approach must have something to do with that !

KimLuster at 8:41AM, Feb. 6, 2015

I still greatly prefer traditional (I've incorporated pen, pencil, watercolor, and acrylic all into a single page in varying degrees). The two problems you have I deal with like so: 1) I always draw out the panels in a single large watercolor page, then I separate them into manageable sections to do the art details and for scanning... 2) I've taken to digitally enhancing the color and shading after scanning - my originals always seem way too washed-out. I was timid to do so at first but I'm getting braver...! Yeah, it feels like cheating but hey - time is the only resource that isn't renewable ;) I'm not sure if I'll ever put in the time to learn how to do a piece from start-to-finish digitally...

Szyszka666 at 3:49AM, Feb. 6, 2015

I actually have more years of experience in traditional than digital art. Rettubia was to be made traditional, but eventually I changed my mind :) I used to do all panels separately and then put them together and add speech bubbles on a computer - it allows You to be more elastic about the composition. But as for the colors (I use watercolours) I had the same problem :(

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