November 15, 2012

making soulless

Ok, I'm going to attempt to reiterate what the process I go through to make a book of Soulless is, while trying not to be too verbose about it. Again, this is my (current) method, but that doesn't mean that it's the right method. I don't think I've quite found that yet.
(sorry about the image quality here~ my camera fails me~ ;3; )

I start off the process by taking the novel and writing first an outline, then a script for the chapter. The more chapters I can do at once the better, really, because then I can really get into the storytelling.
I made a thumbnail template in Photoshop at the same size as the pages in the finished book so that I can print out a bunch of these templates onto 8.5"x11" printer paper. I like having two pages per sheet so that I can get a feel of what the pages will look like once they're published. Then I draw out a chapter's worth of layouts and add the text and my editor and I discuss what changes should be made. Here's what a finished page of layouts looks like:

Then I start on the sketch. I usually sketch pretty loosely unless there's an expression I want to get just right. Sometime I'll have drawn a really good expression in the layouts, in which case I'll blow up the panel in photoshop, print it, and then trace it onto the manuscript paper with my light board.
I'll start out with inking anything that overlaps panels, and then the panels themselves. People always ask me how long it takes to ink a page. That REALLY depends on the page. Pages with detailed backgrounds or lots of people on them take forever, but on average I finish 3 pages a day, and on really good days I can finish 5. My record was 7 in a day...but they were really easy pages. lol

(I worked on this page before I figured out that making a thumbnail template was the way to go, btw)

After the inks are done I have to scan the kinda a huge pain. My scanner only scans A4 sized pages, which is close to 8.5"x11", but the size I ink at is 9"x13" I have to scan each page in parts, and then stitch the parts together in Photoshop. I know there are cheap, large format scanners out there... I went through 2 of them in 6 months before I decided I wasn't going to waste any more money. Maybe I just have bad scanner luck..but...whatever.

Anyway, so with everything scanned and stitched together, I can finish things up. I scan my pages in grayscale at 9"x13" @ 600dpi, clean everything up, and then resize to 5.876"x8.5" @ 1200dpi. Then I convert my page to bitmap. With the inks completely finished at this point, toning can begin! Whee~ my least favorite part of the process~ I have several minion--- er, I mean friends on call to help me out at this part because if I had to do it all on my own, I'd probably go totally insane. :3 I usually have them flat color everything on the page that will be toned, creating selectable areas of gray that I can finish toning myself.

Once toning on my end is finished, if I haven't done it already in the inks, I'll add dialogue bubbles and sound effects. Then the whole page gets turned into a bitmap image via halftone, creating those dot patterns you see in black and white comics.

There you have it, the whole process. Just repeat 250 times and you have yourself a book! lol <3

November 12, 2012

Ok peeps, I finally, finally got around to making some posts about how I make comics. It seems as though it's been long over due. I dunno, I've been sorta out of the loop lately.
So yea. Here's how I get my freak on...with comics, in the solitary confines of my studio, in case anyone was curious. For now I'm going to start with tools, and then onto other steps later.

{01. Mechanical Pencil, 0.5mm lead HB, 02. Lead holder, 2mm, HB, 03. Blue Pencil, 0.7mm, 04. Zebra G-pen, 05. Brausse 66 pen nib, 06. Maru-pen, 07. Felt liner for panels, 1mm, 08. Copic sketch marker, #100 or #110, 09. Royal & Langnickel miniMagestic spotter 3/0, 10. Gel liner, 0.3mm, 11. White Gel liner (for boo-boos), 12. Pilot ink, non-waterproof, 13. Extra G-pen nibs (I wear through a g-pen nib approx. every 20 pages. These are tachigawa brand) 14. Kneadable eraser.}

I thought it'd be handy to include links to each of these tools, but that doens't mean you HAVE to use the same tools I do. Over the years these are the ones I've become the most comfortable with, but  everybody's different, experiment with different things and find what suits you best. I think it's most important to use the tools that suit whatever style or way of storytelling you want to express. That includes working totally digitally and completely ignoring all this comic tool business. I work digitally often, there are even *gasp!* a couple of pages of Soulless I inked in Sai~ (big secret, in case you were wondering) So yeah, don't feel like you're not hardcore enough if you don't want to work on paper or whatever.

November 7, 2012

time warp

Being me, for the whole middle of this year, was like being stuck in some sort of weird time freeze. Now that the second book of Soulless is behind me and work on the third has already begun, I look back to where things started to get really stressful in June and it feels like, after all that work and stress and unhappiness, it was all just....a dream or something.

I guess I don't really see any point in going into details. All I can say is that I'm very happy to have had a little time off to appreciate things this past month, and that I'm VERY glad for a new beginning. Though I did want to point out something very special in my life that has been making huge changes since June: my new kitten, Moxie!
The story about Moxie is that I was at my buddy's house lamenting the fact that our cat, Kukuri, hates me and loves Clint and how now that we have a bigger place, I really wanted another cat. A gray cat, because I've always wanted a gray cat. Later that same night I come back home and hear a kitten crying at my front door. Literally on my doorstep is a tiny grey poof, begging to come in.

So, here is a little taste of what I have been living through the past 5 months in the form of my magical little beastie, who I'm so glad decided to beam down from space to be my cat: (btw, sorry these pics blow, most of them are from my phone :P)

May 31, 2012

Anime North mini report

So I got back home from AN Tuesday, I had to spend another day in Toronto recovering with good friends before coming home. IT WAS VITAL.
I was able to come to AN thanks to a collaboration between Lianne Sentar (who is crazy awesome), Yen Press, and the Beguiling book store. The con itself seemed to for the most part wipe its hands clean of all duties that involved taking care of their guests. lol
They did give us an EXTRA SUPER LARGE "featured guest area" of the artists alley, which was so large and so far from the rest of the ally that I think that we were invisible to 99% of con goers. A valliant effort on AN's part though. (not really)
I didn't really have a setup for the alley either, and seeing all the AMAZING TALENTED ARTISTS in the artists alley did not encourage me to stick around my sad little table much.

Despite some little setbacks, the con was really fun, I did a couple of panels, one for Lianne's book Tokyo Demons, which had a good showing, and one for just me and Svetlana Chmakova (!!!), who also showed up. Svet and I also had some signings on Sat and Sun at the Beguiling's booth, selling lots of copies of our books. It was fun to meet Soulless fans! Everyone was SO FRIGGIN NICE!!! ;_____;

Thank you to everyone who traded prints with me, or just stopped by and said hi! Someone gave me the CUTEST EVER Jade keychain which I cherish~ (wish I had caught your name, you sweetheart, you!) I was so happy to meet the super sweet and super talented Akashiro, Holly, Areu, David, Hime and some others wonderful people who's names were written down on a sheet of paper that I loooosttt~~ u_u;;; You guys made the con for me! Thank you everyone~
I just hope I can see you guys again someday!!!

Now I plan to work like crazy to make up for canada time so if you don't catch me on the internet, that's why! /run

March 30, 2012

small staus update

Since I haven't really posted stuff about myself anywhere in a really long time, I guess I'll give a quick update on what's been going on in my life the past 4 months or so. My life is like, super boring! So it's hard to find anything to talk about most of the time. o_o;

But anyway... Since NYCC in the fall things were SUPER hectic for me, trying to scramble to finish Soulless book 1 was tough stuff! And then there was the holidays to contend with, which I didn't really get to deal with much until January, to be honest. Two very close friends got married in this time (Clint and I got engaged ourselves), and then we finally had the chance to move, which was a bigger deal than it should of been, mainly because we hadn't moved in like, 6 years.

Clint and I had been living in this tiny crap apartment for way too long, cuz when we got to the new place it felt like a friggin' PALACE. It's not even all that's just like, way, way more awesome than the last place. And it is way bigger than the last place, which was essentially just one room with all our shit in it. lol So like, having a 1200sq ft, two story place (WITH 2 BATHROOMS!!) feels like a huggggeee upgrade. The biggest perk, in my opinion, is that since it is a two bedroom townhouse, and we don't need an extra bedroom for anything, I get to have something I've wanted my whole life: a studio~! (ノシシ*^▽^*)ノシシ

It's still kind of a mess right now, and I don't have anything up on the walls yet, but I love it. X3 Its nice to get so much natural light in, and to have all my books around, and when I have to pull all-nighters to get pages done (which is a little too frequent) it's awesome to have this...little sanctuary and stuff. I didn't take a picture because it was a mess, but I even have a couch in the corner for camping out on. I guess I don't really mind being chained to a desk when it's in such a comforting space.
I'm going to end up being a hermit forever....;___;)