In this tutorial I show you my own process in creating a page for my Webcomic Thorns. This may brush on some techniques you may not be caught up with, but for the sake of keeping this simple I won’t go into detail about said techniques. If you have any questions please leave a comment below.
Step 1: Thumbnailing and Working with Scripts
Initially I will write out the whole script for the book. It ends up looking like a normal manuscript as opposed to a “Script” (film), but for the sake of this tutorial let’s call it a script. After I’ve completed the Script I will write another separate document that involves instructions, notes, and details on how each panel should be. Since this project is done by myself I don’t have to worry about being too wordy or straight foreword. Just enough so I myself can understand it. Next comes the thumbnailing process. My thumbnails actually are very very rough. I don’t bother to flesh anything out and all of the sketches look almost a stage above stick figures. As long as the camera placement, layout, and positioning are great that’s all I need to work with.
Step 2: Layout and Penciling
This is my favorite step of the whole comic process. Since I consider myself a sketch artist first and foremost this stage is where most the organic magic happens. For this particular Webcomic I’ve chosen to do all pencils on a 14×17 sketchbook. I will measure out each panel and draw it out with a ruler. After that I will rough sketch out the character’s in the panels. Then I will refine and finesse. This step overlaps into the first step a lot where I will improve the idea of layouts and character position.
Step 3: Backgrounds
For the backgrounds in this Webcomic I chose to use the 3d Package Maya and created really simple objects to plot out the perspective of the backgrounds. Here is a picture of what the scenes look like in 3d. I will then rough sketch out the 3d image of the background into the background of the panels on my paper then i will start fleshing and detailing (drawing in the books making the primitive objects appear like objects you’d see in the real world *much like an actual elevator*)
Step 4: Scanning/Inking
In this step I will scan the page (for this book I used a professional scanner since the pages are quite large and I didn’t want to use my normal scanner). Once it is scanned in I will change the hue of the pencils to a light blue color and print it out on Water Color Paper. I’m left with a print out of the light blue sketch. From there I will start inking the page. For this Webcomic I’ve chosen stylistically to make the inking take the direction of thick vs thin line to offset the look since I’m not a big fan of using ink to crosshatch or shade.
Now I will scan the inked page at a high resolution to work with in Photoshop. Here I will clean up any mistakes made during inking or modify lines. I use a plugin for Photoshop that actually creates dummy flats based on your lines. It will end up looking like the psychedelic coloring shown in the picture. Then I will take the color bucket and start placing in all the predefined colors that make up my story.
Step 6: Coloring/Shading
For the shading I know I want to go with a type of cel shading since my style in this Webcomic takes on an animated look. I will use the selection wand and select various parts (ie skin, clothes, hair) and start laying in the shadow flats.
Step 7: Details
The details can consist of many things. One of them is the use of a simple iris/pupil I want for the eyes. I will place all the eyes where they need to go and fit it to the
perspective. I add a light blush to the characters cheeks as well. Some scenes may require visual effects so I deal with that in this stage as well. Lastly some backgrounds require more of a painter look than others. It all depends on the scene. For this one since It’s the beginning of the story and sets the mood I wanted the bookstore to look visually appealing. So that was done in a painterly way with good old fashion rendering.
Step 8: Word Bubbles/Sound Effects
All word bubbles are created using the pen tool and dropped in where needed. As is the text for each bubble. Lastly the sound effects are placed in using a different font than used in the bubbles. Each sound effect carries a manipulation to help push the scene.
Step 9: Finaling
In this stage I will take a look at the scene as a whole and make sure there are no mistakes such as unclean lines, colors outside their predefined shapes, etc. Also certain sections of the borders will be cut out for the character to pop through based on the layout. Then all that’s left to do is save out a desired size. I work very large and save out small. It’s a good rule of thumb to work this way so you always have a large version in case anything should come up or you need to print your work.
Step 10: Done
I pat myself on the back, make sure I have enough coffee in the cup, and then do it all again with the next page!