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.

Document Size

Document size + Bleed

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.

sketches

Inks

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.

Colours = FAIL

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.