It is a balancing act when it comes to the level of detail we comics artists like to include in each page and the speed at which we can complete said page. Sitting back and seeing a beautifully coloured render of your work may be satisfying, but is the level of effort required to create going to be sustainable over the long term? I myself have struggled with this and, even to this day, I find myself agonizing over details that are barely noticeable in the final product. The question then becomes where does one sacrifice detail in favour of speed? Here are some considerations that can help you answer that question and, hopefully, assist you in getting a page out in time without burning you out.
How long is your comic?
If you have an epic planned over 50 issues/chapters, you’ll want to seriously consider the level of detail on each page. This is where outlining, plotting and thumbnailing comes into play. By laying out what story beats you want to hit and where, you can begin to see where the detail will really pay off. A sweeping establishing shot, a thrilling action scene, a character’s death or a tense romantic moment will be all the more impactful if your detail is concentrated there. This allows you to grant yourself some grace when it comes to drawing more basic backgrounds for conversations or points of little action.
Consider how long you want your work to take
When you sit down to plan your next shiny project, set yourself the task of deciding how long you want this project to take, ie when do you want it completed by. If it is a short, one-shot comic, or a series of four panels, is it one you want to finish in a matter of weeks or do you want to take a bit longer? Setting a timeframe helps you determine how much time you want to take to tell your story, as well as keeping you focused. If it is a one-shot over a series of months then you can take your time with the detail. If not? Then you need to consider the shortcuts you might have to take such as pre-drawing backgrounds, character sheets and gathering assets.
Set yourself up for success
You’re going to need breaks. Plan your hiatus by building a buffer, if you can. This can be helped along by having an outline, thumbnails and a clear update schedule. If you know an update is going to need more time, give it to yourself. Be prepared to have life disrupt your most well intentioned plans. As they say, hope for the best, plan for the worst.
Come to terms with the fact that detail vs speed is a compromise
As you develop your style and skills, you’ll eventually find it easier and faster to produce pages. However, even the pros cut corners to get more work out. Till then, try to be realistic when it comes to your expectations about your work and don’t be afraid to sacrifice a little bit of detail for speed and vice versa.
Is your comic incredibly detailed or do you try to keep it super simple? How do you speed up production of 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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Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, May 28, 2021
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