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Using pre-made assets

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, Sept. 10, 2021

As I was scrolling through Instagram I saw a video from a fellow comic creator. They were demonstrating how they went about drawing shoes. They opened up a sheet and, here’s the kicker, the sheet was full of shoes at different angles. They just copied and pasted the angle they needed. It was so fast!

Using assets is a great way of speeding up the comic process. There are a number of places you can go to get premade assets or you can make them yourself. For those of you who use Clip Studio Paint (and if not, you really should! It is amazing for comics!), you have access to an endless collection of premade assets from hands, to feet, to sunrises to sunsets.

I am always trying to find shortcuts in my comic making process. To move my art along, I have also used 3D models made in SketchUp to create backgrounds, or just to get the angle of a room right. Like CSP, SketchUp also has a library you can pull from, making backgrounds so much easier to create.

Assets also include backgrounds or settings you draw yourself. I have a number of scenes where I have drawn the room or the building in its entirety, using layers to change the lighting depending on the weather/time of day.

I use these assets as establishing shots in my comics. Not only does it save me time it also solidifies the location in the reader’s mind, so it’s a good story telling device to keep in your back pocket.

Do you use premade assets 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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PaulEberhardt at 7:50AM, Sept. 13, 2021

Nope. Even if I did anything digitally, I know myself well enough that I'd always subconsciously choose just the one character pose in a zillion for which there is no fitting asset. Also, it wouldn't be the same; I enjoy the process of drawing in itself and that would be doing something different.

ChipperChartreuse at 10:19AM, Sept. 11, 2021

I hear what you're saying TENSA1, and work much the same way. What I've noticed about myself is I struggle to stay on time in the front end of working on a chapter...because I'm working on hand drawing/painting my assets(next scene I'm going to start with the setting and hopefully stop killing myself creating new backgrounds to build up assets ahead rather than on as needed basis). Of course, I do the same with character costumes and sometimes basics like hands I can snatch from work I've already done then change the lighting as appropriate.Same principal, but hand-done:)

Kou the Mad at 11:33PM, Sept. 10, 2021

In all honesty, it's all about execution. If you can reuse them in an effective manner, reusing assets is completely fine.

usedbooks at 5:02PM, Sept. 10, 2021

Like rmccool mentioned, it would probably take me longer to pick out and copy-paste something than it does to just draw it. But I draw by hand and then scan my work. I am way too clumsy with digital media. I find it frustrating. Kudos to people who excel at productivity programs. I need my pencil. (Any time I have tried to directly trace my own photos or something, it never looks good and also takes longer than freehand.)

hushicho at 4:24PM, Sept. 10, 2021

It absolutely ends up saving time for most people, and integrating it with one's work isn't that hard, especially with Clip Studio Paint. It's not that different to sketching from a reference, and it saves you having to draw something usually tedious or ridiculously time-consuming, like a building or a complex vehicle. Also of note: most people who read comics will never notice when a skilled artist uses premade assets! Even I have to look closely and for a good while to pick it out, in most comics. It can also help with things you know you're not good at drawing, no matter how much you practice. Sometimes, you can use something premade and not have a conspicuous drop in the quality of your comic because of a difficult subject to depict. At the very least, you could use a premade image to base your sketch off of and make it easier to compose an element that shouldn't take too much time.

TENSA1 at 10:43AM, Sept. 10, 2021

"Here's the kicker" lol I do prefer to draw things by hand, though. Maybe for a specific pose or background I'll use a reference. At most I'll maybe trace if there's something really specific I want to recreate, but in the end I'll always add my own spice. I think it keeps a certain sense of consistency knowing everything that goes down on my page came straight from my fingertips.

rmccool at 7:42AM, Sept. 10, 2021

A few people I know end up useing more time looking for the right asset then it would of taken to just draw it... a background room I plan to use over and over is worth my time to draw and create the props for as I will be in that office over and over.. but as some that mostly uses pencil ink paper.. I am often disappointed when I admire someone's work.. and want to learn from them and they are like oh "I just trace.. and use premades.." then I feel stupid.. cus I am over here slowly like 10.. 20 years slow trying to get better..with a pen..and paper..

area5_1 at 6:10AM, Sept. 10, 2021

It can certainly help with consistency, but I'm not convinced it always saves time.

marcorossi at 3:50AM, Sept. 10, 2021

I do not use pre-made assets for my comic (although I use Clip Studio). I think that speeding up the drawing process is important, but even using photograph as a reference is a problem for me because it disrupts my workflow.

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