Friday, January 18, 2013

And So it Goes...

...tiddely pom.  To quote someone else with very little brain. 

I've drawn 26 pages of my comic book, A3-size, and inked them, despite the fact that I don't need to do that because I'll be inking digitally - but I did anyway, it's my way of finalising the pencils and checking continuity (or I'd edit from now until doomsday).  So whilst they look like final pages, they aren't, they're really my final pencils, and there's still one stage to go, the digital inking.  Which is why I was at the printer's, you see I have to get the drawings onto the computer and at the moment I have no A-3 size scanner, so I was there getting the drawings reduced to A4-size so I scan them in easily and quickly on my A4 scanner, without folding the pages and joining the artwork together on the computer - which is tedious in the extreme. 

So, after scanning the reduced A4-size pages in, I went to work on them using a combination of Photoshop, Illustrator, and Manga Studio.  I used Photoshop to increase the A4 drawings back up to A3, reduced the levels so that the drawings look like feint pencil, and established a new layer before I opened the drawings in Illustrator, where they were inked.  In Illustrator, I imported the drawings with layers converted to objects, and started to draw, using Sherm Cohen's cartooning brushes.  After finishing, I imported the drawings into Manga Studio, where I ruled the pages, placed word balloons  and laid-down a layer of text.  I then exported the finished drawings as PSD files, and then I discovered the mistake.  

When I exported the drawings from Manga Studio I took my eye off the ball, and halved the size of the pages when I reduced the resolution from 600dpi to 300dpi. So what I now had were A4 size drawings, again.  Oh, it's possible that it wouldn't have mattered that much.  Certainly, if I'd kept them at 600dpi, I'd have no problem increasing them to A3 at 300dpi, but I just feel that increasing A4 to A3 at a resolution of 300dpi, is pushing your luck.  So I've started again, only this time I'm doing everything, drawing, balloons, lettering, in Manga Studio, because I think that will allow me to finish inking all the pages by the end of the weekend.  Said he hopefully.

So this was the page all faded and I was building it a little at a time.  Having finished the panels and the balloons in MS, I was back in PS joining the balloons together in panel 2 and making the eye-hole for the door in panel 3 and I thought it was all coming along okay.  But the following day I discovered my sizes were all to pot.

(As always, if you want a good look at the pics (checking pen settings etc) right-click and open in a new window.)

So this time I need to speed things up and I've straight in with the inking in MS, using the Maru pen, and since I do the panels and balloons in there I might as well do the lot in that programme.

Back to Photoshop for that spy-hole though because it's easier for me to do that there.  Just a case of using the shape tool and setting the transparency.  If anyone wants to tell me how to do it in MS, I'm willing to learn.

 So it's not so bad, if it's a page that's got few straight lines and hardly any balloons.  When that's the case it's a little like tracing and it's a pretty quick job, but only because the pencil work is fully finished.  Otherwise it would be driving me up the wall..


Mike Lynch said...

I remember that at the 2010 OSU Cartoon Festival, James Sturm talked about his process behind his then-new graphic novel MARKET DAY. He basically drew it several times in several different styles. Like your process, there's a lot behind the scenes before the public get to see the finished product! Daunting!!!!

Rod McKie said...

It can be infuriating, Mike, because the major drawback is me. Someone on twitter was complaining the other day that it would be quicker just to redraw the pages. I would, but I'd still have to clean them digitally, so I might as well draw that way too. On the plus side, Manga Studio really lets you whizz through the inking process and panelling and word balloons are a breeze with it. When it's on offer, it's well worth the price.

Happy Birthday again, by the way :)

Anonymous said...

If you're using Manga Studio 4 EX, did you try using the Ellipse tool in the Tools palette?