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)