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Stock images and backgrounds

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, July 24, 2020

My comic partner and I are in the process of updating one of our comic series. We’re doing this in part to fill some plot holes (and potentially dig some new ones). However we’re also updating the artwork as it is quite old now and doesn’t match the current style of the comic. This update has afforded us to go back and revisit backgrounds and locations and give them a much needed makeover.

I am a firm advocate for finding efficient ways to get work done. Given we try to turn over a 40+ panel comic episode every two weeks, it’s in our best interest to have the most streamlined process we can to save us time and a heap of stress. One aspect we noticed was other series having a stock of background and location images that they would use over and over again to help orientate the reader, as one might see in a television show.

When you’re planning a comic, particularly a serialised one, it’s a good idea to create backgrounds that you can use. Having a stock library can save you a great deal of time. We create these stock images/locations in different times of day as well, such as at night, dusk or day. You can even mix it up by introducing environmental elements such as rain or snow.

The effort you put in to creating these stock images can save you so much stress down the line.
Do you have a stock of backgrounds or locations that you reuse in your comics? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!

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OrGiveMeDeath_Ind at 9:21AM, July 26, 2020

I'm all about running license free photos thru different filters to create backgrounds to draw over. GIMP is a great freeware program for it.

cdmalcolm1 at 1:41AM, July 25, 2020

I use picture and redraw them. I wish I had a 3D software to help me out.

entropy0013 at 8:52PM, July 24, 2020

I design the entire room to plot what is in view from the different angles and then draw what would be the most common shots in the location as the background for efficiency. You would have the information for the odd angle in the room and maintain scenery continuity.

GearDrag0n at 3:51PM, July 24, 2020

I do all my backgrounds by that I mean I avoid them as much as possible

hushicho at 3:49PM, July 24, 2020

Very much agreed. It's best to have various backgrounds to use, because it can be so valuable in efficiency! It's also just as good to have elements ready that can be easily put together and give your work more depth and character. Clip Studio Paint, for example, has access to countless material catalogues that are absolutely fantastic to keep your flow at peak efficiency. I've always been a supporter of things that save work and little things that can make work look a lot better! It's really essential if you intend to work quickly and efficiently. You can't hand-draw every single detail, and it's usually a waste of your time to do so since most readers won't take the time to notice as many things as you do.

Avart at 2:43PM, July 24, 2020

@Ironscarf, me too. I feel that sometimes I spent more time with references than drawing... But it worths the time. ;)

Ironscarf at 9:16AM, July 24, 2020

I use references a lot and will spend ages searching for what I need or taking my own reference photos. Everything on the page is redrawn each time, but if I'm doing repeated panels of a single room, I sometimes create the posters and paintings for the walls to re-use, then I just need to perspective stretch them to fit the viewpoint.

Avart at 7:41AM, July 24, 2020

I don't use many BG, for an initial shot I use one to establish the scene, then just a few and that's all. I also have 3D BG ready but they need to be tweaked so they doesn't look too digital. I've planning a short story and I might need to make some stock BG and assets to maintain a consistent workflow. Great article!

Banes at 7:29AM, July 24, 2020

Speaking of redoing a series or updating it - I used to argue for not doing that and keeping the historical documents intact! But I’m starting to turn around on that. It’s something I might do in the future too.

Banes at 7:25AM, July 24, 2020

I have a 3D set of my main set even though it might get a redesign, I like that approach A lot! Definitely a time saver and looks good. There are times when a quick handrawn background is better - like when the characters are outside the main set! - so a problem of inconsistency can come up. But I do like having sets to use repeatedly!

Jason Moon at 7:06AM, July 24, 2020

It's sad that you can rarely find hand drawn work these days. Digital can look too clean at times.

skyangel at 5:41AM, July 24, 2020

In the beginning I didn't pay much attention to continuity in most scenes but as my art improved and I wanted to give settings more realism I began to put more thought into it. As a result I built an entire mansion for one chapter in a 3D prog so I could have fun playing with different viewpoints etc. I've also used Google Maps to drop in a street for realistic but casual references.

MOrgan at 1:26AM, July 24, 2020

I used to, but the computers I had these files saved on are not currently working.

Prototype at 1:11AM, July 24, 2020

I use this method also. Highly recommended. I typically only make one wide background image for every new setting and then use parts of it here and there, zoomed in, blurred etc. It really does save a lot of time.

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