Sunday, July 26, 2009

Frog Grazer

I've been playing around with making brushes in photoshop look and act a bit more like real brushes for inking purposes. I made one that I think worked pretty well, so I did a small illustration to try it out.

Later on, I decided to color it, just to bring it all the way to completion. I'm not really sure what this critter's deal is, but he's got a colorful butt.


Charlie said...

My process is slowly becoming very similar to yours. I am now blowing up my thumbnails and pasting it into my PS 11x17 template and it helps. I move some elements around in the thumbnail and then get into my digital ruffing stage. I lower the opacity of the thumbnail then do a basic perspective and shapes digi ruff layer over it. Then an additional layer to refine the drawing to get it ready for print. I then pencil over the printed 11x17 blue line for more detail. I could almost pass my final digi ruff off as a finished page, but it doesn't feel right.

I am up in the air right now about inking at all. What is your opinion on just going full color without the traditional black inked comic look? I have seen some new comics going in that direction and they looked pretty good. Is it a matter of taste and the aesthetic you are going for or can you see ways it can hurt a project further down the line with limiting it in some way? I guess having some original inked art would be one major drawback. I don't know, indy publishers don't normally do well selling inked pages do they?

My final pencil stage on paper is done in graphite, not blue line so that when I scan the page in a clean line, similar to inking, is left. I will probably ink one page just to see how it goes to determine if I will include that step at all for future pages. I use the Prismacolor pens similar to the Microns, but I think I will give the nib a try when I do my inking trial run. I am working on getting the pencils done for 6 pages right now. So by next week I will be sharing on my blog the results and possibly an introduction to the project I am working on.

I went to the library and picked up the DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering and I have already learned a lot. I fixed the black settings in PS for one thing and learned how to seperate the line art using channels. That was interesting, I had been doing this using a layer mask, but I like the channel way better. I also picked up the DC Comics Guide to Penciling comics, it seems like all those books have good information.

I am getting really pumped about all of this because once I have this process figured out completely in the next couple weeks I will be able to crank out pages. I do prefer penciling a group of pages like 5 or so at a time to break up the process. I think if I went from thumb to full color one page at a time I would feel like I am getting nothing done.

Andrew, I really apreciate your posts and the digi conversations we are having to keep our batteries charges so to speak about this crazy comic making stuff. I am enjoying border crossings and look forward to seeing some more of your concept work. I am partial to creature design myself.

Drew said...

Man Chuck, you just keep writing these tomes, heh.

Doing colors over pencils is tricky, if you ask me. I can safely say I can never see myself doing it, mostly just because the artists who have had the biggest influences on me in comic art were all masters of balancing that white & black of the page (Jack Davis, Milt Caniff, Noel Sickles...)

Nathan Massengill brought up a good point once regarding all that: A lot of the pencilers you see with colors on them don't really pencil with the idea of their pencils being part of the finished product. He refers to them as "indication pencils," which I think is a pretty good definition. You have folks like Cary Nord (who I really liked on Conan, which was handled that way,) or Neal Adams who do this approach, but they pencil still with the mentality of inks going into it, I think.

To me, if you're going to go that route, you need to think even more painterly than if you were doing inks over pencils (which, as I'm learning more and more about painting, gives you a lot more information that you can apply to inks than you think.) Your color sense needs to be really honed, as well as your edge control, because your pencil lines will NOT reproduce nearly as well as an ink line could. So you need to really think over things like focal points, shape contrast, value contrast, edge control a lot more to keep it from slipping into a muddled mess.

Going without inks also limits your publishing options too. You can't print black and white, because your pencils won't reproduce well, so if you ever had to do such a thing, your SOL.

Glad you thought the DC book was helpful. The other ones are alright in my opinion, though most of the stuff found in the other DC books can be found elsewhere in better publications, though the ink one has some good beginning stuff.

Lemme know how your nib work goes, just remember: You don't have to stick to a hunt 102. A lot of artists use it, but you don't have to. Guy Davis inks with a 22b. I've started to use a globe nib, just because it doesn't have a tendency to dig into the page (which the 102's always seem to...) Some artists use Manga G nibs too, which I heard were pretty good.

Of course, hopefully one day we'll both be able to ink with a brush something fierce.

Charlie said...

Andrew, do you use these flatting plugins in PS?

It seems like it can speed up the process by leaps and bounds. Here are a couple tutorials relating to it.

The jist of it seems to be that you do everything the same and let this tool do its thing, then just paint bucket in your palette colors and your flats are done. Seems like same result just much faster.

Drew said...


I tried them once...never again. I think they're fantastic if somebody has really simple linework or really clean inks without too much noodling, but since I tend to go the opposite direction in both accounts, it just creates about another hour's worth of work for me. Plus, I've done it manually long enough that I can get through it quick enough.

Charlie said...

Andrew, I am trying to figure out if I am just retarded or whatever but, how long does it take you on average to complete a page? I wanted to get an idea of someone else's pace to see if I am where I should be with this or to see if I need to evaluate how precious I am being with each stage of the process. haha !

Drew said...

It depends really on the artist, if they're putting in more detail than they have been, how long they have been drawing, etc. For example, Guy Davis is capable of penciling about 4 pages a day (and I think he's done pencils for a whole book in about 2 days once!) But his penciling these days is pretty loose, about the equivalent of roughs, and most of his drawing is in inks, which I think he does about 2 pages a day.

I'm able to crank out 2 pages a day if I sit at the draft table long enough, but I'd say a page for me can take about 5, 6, maybe 8 hours. Of course, I ought to tell you my sense of time is greatly skewed, and I never actually timed myself.

I think if you're looking to speed up, the old mantra still applies: "Take your time. With experience, comes precision. With precision, comes speed."

Charlie said...

Thanks Andrew, yeah I have decided to focus more on just perspective, bigger shapes, and scene in the digi ruff stage to speed up. I was taking that part to a more finished page, but I draw slower digitally I think mainly because of the undo in PS. You can be more picky drawing in PS which slows you down.

Are you and Christian going to Baltimore Comic-Con? I have a table there and we are staying at the Hyatt across from the convention center. Going to have our preview book there, first 12 pages etc. Hope all is well for you and Christian down in the dirty dirty. :P