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Yes! We can take shortcuts!

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, June 29, 2018

Did you know as an comic creator you are more than allowed to take a shortcut here and there? It’s true! You want to know something else? Everyone does it! So this week I want to share some shortcuts I have found immensely helpful when trying to speed up my work.

Use references!
Drawing is not an exam. Or if it is, it’s at least an open book one. If you’re finding yourself stuck on how to draw a particular thing, or if you’ve never drawn it before, find yourself a reference. Not only will it speed up the process, it has the added benefit of giving you an idea of how you can construct a similar expression, scene or background next time.

If you do art digitally, learn your keyboard shortcuts
Take some time to familarise yourself with your program of choice and its keyboard shortcuts beyond Ctrl+Z (Cmd+Z on Mac). For instance, in some Adobe products, you can easily duplicate a selection by holding down “Alt” (“Option” on Mac). This saves you at least two to three keyboard commands! You can usually find these settings in the preferences for your program so go have a look and see how you can maximise your workflow.

Draw some standard backgrounds and reuse them
Depending on the type of story you are creating, you can often just reuse backgrounds. Many artists, particularly those that have to produce 40 panels a week often repeat backgrounds or even use 3D renders to help speed things along. Be sure to balance it however so as to not bore your audience.

On the flip side, not every panel needs a background
Resist the urge to put a background into every panel. You run the risk of not only tiring yourself out, it can draw the focus away from your characters. Save them for when you need to place the characters in a scene or if you feel you need to remind the audience of where your characters are.

What shortcuts have worked for you? Share them in the comments below! Is your comic incredibly detailed or do you try to keep it super simple? Comment below and let us know! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST).

Till next time lovelies!



Ozoneocean at 4:53AM, July 1, 2018

Umm... that's quite a typo... Sorry ;_;

AmeliaP at 5:45PM, June 30, 2018

3D! 3D in my backgrounds. 3D everywhere!!! Blender is a bless for having a good hard edge modeling tool.

PaulEberhardt at 5:56AM, June 30, 2018

I use references for cars and some furniture elements, for example. It adds a lot to the fun of my creative process, as I try to take as many of my reference photos myself as I can. Granted, googling these things may be the easier shortcut, but I'd miss my excuse for roaming all those places this not-so short cut gets me to. I cheat with the background, as well. If you draw it in high detail once, you can easily reduce it for the rest, or even dispense with it. Your readers will do a lot of your work in their heads if you know how to guide/trick them into it carefully. As for keyboard shortcuts I'm afraid I only really know Ctrl-Alt-Del on some days. ;)

ashtree house at 6:02PM, June 29, 2018

Premade or 3d render backgrounds?? Never thought of that, that's a crazy good idea haha!

Ironscarf at 4:11PM, June 29, 2018

I think his hotkeys have gone Freudian!

KimLuster at 2:32PM, June 29, 2018

Your short...what, Ozone?!! :o

Ozoneocean at 10:24AM, June 29, 2018

My shortcunt: Instead of drawing every single hair on a person's head, draw every 5th. No one will notice XD

Avart at 9:36AM, June 29, 2018

Really useful post! Command keys shortcuts are a must for me. The reference is something that I use a lot, and 3D background too. On each chapter I barely draw backgrounds, but when I do, I spend a lot of time making them. I have an archive of eyes, mouths, hands, feet, to use anytime I need.

KimLuster at 9:32AM, June 29, 2018

I use all of these except for the Standard Backgrounds! Looked in using Sketchup but my experience was similar to Ironscarfs!! Another shortcut! Keep a mirror handy! If you need an expression, look in the mirror and make the expression!! You're right-handed, but need to reference a pose for your right hand? Mirror! Viola! Your left-hand becomes a right-hand!

Ironscarf at 7:55AM, June 29, 2018

I've seen some very nice things done with 3D backgrounds. I did try getting to grips with sketchup, but it quickly drove me to despair and that's consider easy to use I believe. On the other hand, choosing and using references is probably the most time consuming process of all for me. If I didn't bother with references I could update like crazy, but you can't escape them. Even if you're inventing everything, you still have to go back and reference what you did before whenever you draw the same gun or spaceship or fancy pair of cybergoggles. It must be nice to be a writer and just go "a panoramic view of what looks like Victorian London stretches out before us, but we see it's populated by countless human sized insects of every type".

bravo1102 at 4:09AM, June 29, 2018

Many programs you press Alt. And the shortcut keys are underlined. So press Alt and I is underlined in images and the I in size so you can adjust the image size by doing alt i-i.

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