Hey Everyone, hope you enjoyed your weekend. Wasn’t a bad one here. I spent my weekend working on the cover for this comic. With Armageddon Auckland coming up in under a month, I’m under the gun a little to get this all done on time.
Friday I sat down and knuckled down into getting an image done. The problem is, switching to digital is still a learning curve, so I am learning as well as trying to produce something nice to look at.
I work in Adobe Photoshop, which is a very versatile programme for creating art, manipulating photos or pretty much anything really. I started out by making my document a decent resolution, and twice the size of what I want to print at. In this case I’m working at 400 dpi and A4 size. Anything around 300 to 400dpi is fine in terms of print resolution. Once I’ve worked out the drawing size, I also add 10mm bleed around the edge. Bleed is an extension of the image, that the printers will trim off. 10 mm is probably more than anyone would require for printing. I’m just playing it safe. It’s better to have more at the start than less. The first screen shot represents the rules I have put into place so I know my sizing. The purple is the actual document size. The orange represents the bleed. When drawing, draw right to the bleed line.
Once you have that sorted. I create a new layer for my sketching. As you can see, I keep the background layer blank. Each new thing I add to the piece, I will create a new layer for. This helps keep the process clean and easy to manage. Otherwise you’ll find yourself in a mess trying to deal with one element which you have right, that might be intersecting with another element which you need to fix. After I am happy with the sketching/construction I have laid down. I create an new layer for the inks, change my paint brush to a black, and away I go into the final art.
Once you are happy with your inking layer you can start on the colours. The way I do it, is have the colours layer underneath the inking layer. This way your black line art stays on top and you can happily throw your colours underneath without taking any image quality out of your black lines.
I’m no expert on any of this really. This is just how I do it. There is plenty of good advice on the internet however. Ask google some questions for some alternative processes.
I still have a lot to learn about colouring. The comic I am making is light hearted in tone. So I tend to use bold colour choices to reflect it as a fun comic. The colours are usually very primary based colours. Think about the mood of your comic. Try and adjust the colours to suit. If you are drawing something dark, maybe some darker tones will accompany the story along better? Help set the mood. My emphasis when I put colour down is to always try and keep the reader locked in on what is most important in that specific panel. If I were to draw a background with my character in the middle of the scene. I want the readers eye to go to him/her first. So I’ll use bold dramatic colours on him/her and tone everything around it down. This way the readers eye will navigate to the character. At least that is the plan. Sometimes I try and indicate light source. Mostly though, I just want my character to “pop” off the page first and foremost.
Ultimately this idea was scrapped. The image while OK. Was not doing the best job that a cover should be doing. When thinking about a cover, its often the hardest part of the comic making process. You have to make sure everyone can tell what the comic is about but it also has to be eye catching and look good. It’s a tricky thing to pull off. This image is a FAIL. You can’t specifically tell who the character is. All his character aspects, like his hat, or his hair would be trimmed off. It was back to the drawing board for me.
Good practice though! Hopefully you enjoyed a look at my digital process. I’ll post pics of the new cover image once I am happy with it, and finished.
Reminder: I’ll be at Armageddon Auckland in October (24-26). Come and visit me, and check the comic! Hopefully I will see you there.
Thanks for reading.
Above: The first page of the new story with the greys finished. Not sure about the speech bubbles as yet, I’ll sit on that one. Might re-do them.
Maaaaan. Is it me or do the weekends tend to just fly by? I find myself staying up later in the evenings as we inch closer to October. The deadline awaits! Frantically I am working my way through the last story trying to get it to a point of completion. Armageddon Auckland is coming. I’ll be there, ready to meet, greet and pimp. The ActionMan Adam comic is coming along nicely. It’ll be three years of learning how to make my own comic. Each step representing the best comic I could produce at a certain point in time. Readers will see great variation from the first story to the last, which is personally part of the fun I suppose. To get better at your craft. Make the best comic you can possibly make.
Not helping the matter are two things. One: I just moved house. Everything is still in a bit of a mess as we go about trying to unpack our lives and settle into the new home. Domestic chores are now added to my checklist of things to do. Like mowing the lawns, and assembling kit set furniture. It’s fun, being able to control how you want your own space organised. It’s also frightening how much stuff one can accumulate over a period of time!
Two: Work. For some reason we went from being dead quiet to insanely busy. Which is a good thing. Just the timing is off. I’d rather not be coming in on my “art” days.
Still. I’m gonna find a way to keep battling. I need to have this book out and in readers hands this October – Labour weekend. I still have to finish the digital greys for the last story (in progress). Then I have to draw a cover. Hopefully that will go down this weekend. Fingers crossed!
Watched a Harry Potter film for the first time in my life over the weekend. Was looking through iTunes for something to watch while I was working and came across one of those films. I’m pretty much a decade behind everyone else, but I’ll get there! Ha ha! It was pretty good. I’ll look forward to eventually seeing the rest of the series. The aim will be to see the next one in the series before this decade is out. Heh.
Don’t forget. I’ll be at Armageddon Auckland in October (24-26). Come and visit me, and check the comic! Hopefully I will see you there.
Thanks for reading.
Checking back into the ole blog again. I’m determined to get this site back on track. Been an interesting week already. Spent the past weekend doing some work on the house we moved into. Assembling desks for the studio and setting up the computers and stuff. It is all very time consuming. Pretty good to have all that done.
Amongst the mess that was the studio. I didn’t really get too much else done. I got some art done, but not as much as I was hoping. With the October deadline rolling on at a quick pace, I need to get my shit together quick smart. I’m also hoping to get out of the house and see “Up” at some point. It looks really cool. I know it’s been out forever in North America, but it only just opened here in New Zealand. Have pity on us southern hemisphere people, not only do we have ozone holes, but our entertainment arrives late.
After sorting out the office. My wife and I decided instead of going out and seeing Up. We’d stay in, and rent something to watch from iTunes. We decided we would try and be down with the kids and rented Twilight to see what all the fuss was about. I was aware of the film. Mostly due to the fact that its a film that seems to polarise people. There are just as many people that hate on it as love it. Which is kind of funny to me. It’s just a movie. After watching, yeah, it wasn’t THAT bad. I can kinda see how it makes a shit tonne of money. Mostly teen romance peppered with some super powered good looking vampires. If you’re into it, cool. If not, cool. As for me, it was entertaining enough. I’ll give it a pass. I just wish the awkward acting included a little less huffing, and a little more acting. Ha ha!
Also downloaded “?” by the Mint Chicks. Was kinda fun. If you have a Mac. Download that sucker. It’s worth ten minutes of your time, and is pretty amusing.
Finally dropped off some art I’ve had in storage for a while to a framer. Looking forward to getting that back this weekend and getting it up on the walls. It’s going to be awesome. It’s a crime to have good art, and nowhere to put it!
Remember I’ll be at Armageddon Auckland in October (24-26). Come and visit me, and check the comic!
How was your weekend?
Thanks for reading.
So early this morning I’m kicking around in bed. Tossing and turning. Not really achieving what people call “rest”. I decide that the attempt has been a major fail and I should probably get up and do shit instead. I suspect it has a little something to do with the soft drink I consumed the evening before. An error of judgement on my part perhaps?
Usually at that time of the morning there isn’t a hell of a lot to do. It’s not like I was gonna go out an grab a coffee. If I drank the stuff though, I’m sure it would have helped.
I could have done the usual thing when you have some down time. Which is watch a couple of videos from YouTube. Seemingly you’ll always find something entertaining to watch on that site. My wife has been digging on this one of the fonejacker. She has probably watched it a few million times. I think the charm is finally wearing off now. If you haven’t seen it yet, you might enjoy it?
Like a well trained ninja, instead of being distracted by the glories of the internet I decided it was best to put my skills to use and get on with some inking on one of the pages I have. It feels decidedly old school to go back to the art board and Rotring pens and ink brushes after my tablet practice the other day. Still, once I have finished the book I’m sure I’ll look back and enjoy the accomplishment that it is. I could have so easily strayed off course. I’m happy that it is almost done, and I’ll soon be able to focus on getting stuff up online.
If you have creative endeavours that you are in the middle of and still have not found a way to finish off. Get to it! There is nothing stopping you except your own procrastination. Like me, use your ninja powers and keep on battling!
Thanks for reading.
Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. is such a weird series to summarise. I picked this book up off the stands from the first issue, and was immediately hooked. Warren Ellis has a twisted imagination. Stuart Immonen handles the art chores, and as always does a beautiful job. Each new series he has to draw, he seemingly switches his style up for it, and I dig that. His stuff is never stagnant.
The series follows a collection of Marvel characters who have been unused for some time, and have been given a refresher via this series. It’s not something you’d expect. Turning Marvel comics serious approach to story telling on its side, readers will find this series quirky, weird, zany and fun. The biggest let down about this series is it was cancelled after only 12 months. Which was a bummer, but understandable. It probably wasn’t a big seller, and Immonen moved onto Ultimate Spider-man, which was a larger profile book for someone of his artistic status.
One of the characters, called “the Captain” has a flashback origin story – somewhat similar to the Green Lantern’s. Except, instead of aliens entrusting him with a power due to his exceptional potential for heroism. He is handed this power while he is completely drunk out of his mind. Once the power is bequeathed to him, he beats up the two aliens that gave him said power because they ruined his shirt.
This kind of comedy is all the way through the series, and every character gets a few laugh out loud moments for sure. It’s definitely one of my favourite comic series of all time. If you’re looking for a good read, with spectacular art. Check this series out. You can pick up either the trade paper back (softcover) or hard cover editions through your local comic shop, or order it from one of the many retailers online.
Check out Warren Ellis further at his website: http://www.warrenellis.com/
and Stuart Immonen here: http://immonen.ca/
Thanks for reading.
One thing that I have become increasingly aware of as this comic process has continued is my speed. Or lack of it. The time it takes me to layout a page, check that I’m happy with it, ink it, scan it, and add the greys has been a painful process. I wanted to speed things up so I can update more often here when I eventually start putting all the comics up on this website.
After much thought about it, I decided to switch to a digital process. It is going to be a learning curve. I’m so used to the feel of paper, and the control of a pencil. This weekend I sat down with my tablet. I had to get a piece done for promo for the upcoming show in October anyway. At first it was frustrating. I probably spent a good couple of hours playing with it all. It’s not completely natural for me to draw this way of course. I’m hoping in time though, that I’ll become more comfortable with it and eventually will get my speed up.
Drawing directly in Photoshop does have its advantages though. Aside from the weirdness of doing it that way. It is really handy to have “undo” as an option if you make a bad line choice. The layer options are rad to. I was able to sketch, ink and colour this piece all in one sitting.
Has anyone else out there tried drawing digitally? How did you find it? Are you still doing it now? If you have any tips or tricks that might help with the process throw them my way. I’m eager to learn.
Above is the first piece I have cobbled together digitally. No paper, no inks.
Wow. It’s been some time. My apologies. Everything was rolling along quite nicely. Then I went and did something stupid. I decided that updating WordPress would be a good idea, my theme wasn’t yet updated to support it, and everything went bung from there. At the time I was working on a new look for the site anyway. Instead of starting from the basics, I had my friend Richard help me get it somewhat closer to that look.
What do you think? A little bit nicer to look at huh?
A few things have happened in the meantime. Just moved into a new house. It has a bit more room. We’re now able to spread out, and contain the art side of the house to one room, instead of having it in the living area and spilling into every other aspect of our lives. The whole moving house thing has kept us from going out and doing many exciting things though. I have still yet to see District 9. Though I have heard some good things about it. Will be going to see Inglorious Basterds this weekend with any luck!
Did get out once in the last month. Managed to hit up the Misery opening/James Jean signing. That was pretty dope. Everyone seemed to show up for that one. Good art + free booze = win! Was able to peruse some art, and get my hands on James Jean’s new book Kindling. Which has a collection of prints from the show of the same name inside. The design and collection of it all is pretty amazing. Well worth the buy.
Spring is here already. Everyone seems to be looking forward to the warmer weather. I’m personally lost, just trying to re focus on the artwork. I’m going to be attending Armageddon Auckland at the Greenlane show grounds in October. The comic will be done by then finally. Promise! If you wanna come down and pick up a copy, say hello, I’d be most appreciative!
Thanks for reading.