Hey there, and welcome to what will be a regular feature on my blog on Tuesdays. These step by steps will be concise descriptions with images of my process making a comic page, hopefully giving a glimpse into how theyre made, as well as allowing me to analyse my own work.
SO LETS BEGIN! I first started this comic back in December 2012 and for a variety of reasons (including poor draft of the script) only the first page made it online. With hindsight, I’m glad, as it wasn’t a great example of my work. in the year and a half since the first version, the script has changed dramatically, and I’ve improved an awful lot as an artist. I’ll share a comparison shot at the end.
First thing when making the comic is to have your script. If you feel you can’t write a script, then work from someone elses. If you’re trying to do test pages for your portfolio to apply for comic jobs, its best to get an already existing script, which are easily found with a simple google search. If you’d like to write one, by all means do! I’m not a great writer, but I like the control over the story, themes and world it gives me.
Once you have your script, you should do some prep work, time allowing. By this I mean collecting reference for things you might need to draw, character designs, and environment sketches. Not every project will allow you the time for this but if you have the time, use it. Next step is to thumbnail out your pages. This is important. Thumbnails can be any size but its best to work small. Keep them rough, easily changed, try different things and try not to settle on the first layout you think of, as the first design is rarely the best. Thumbnailing is an important step for any comic page, illustration etc. For me, I work digitally, using a Wacom Bamboo tablet. My thumbnails are done using a rough opaque brush so i can build up images and shapes. You can see below just how rough I start.
The Next step is your finished linework, There are various ways to do this, be it with actual ink over pencils, using the pen tool in photoshop, or with brushes in photoshop. I use brushes in photoshop, and my technique is far FAR from perfect but I’m learning as I go. You want all of your line work to be clear, and consistant. objects in the foreground should have thicker outline than objects in the background. For this page, and for all of my comics, the line work may seem sparse in parts, but that is because I plan the page as a whole, which is to say, if I think I could detail or render something better with colour rather than linework, I will leave that till the colour stage. A good example is the blood coming from the arm, which is no where to be seen in the linework, but is an important part of my page.
Finally, for this page, as it had no lettering, the last step was the colouring. For this, its good to either get a colourist (if your not confident in your own colouring ability or choices) or colour yourself, but make sure you choose your colour palette before hand, and choose your colours carefully and thoughtfully, Think “Why am I choosing this colour”, “What is the theme and atmosphere” and “what does this colour represent”. Then use whatever colour theory you know to mix colours beforehand to make a palette of colours you expect to use. Heres the one I chose As you can see on my finished page, the red is meant to draw your eye and lead it across the page, panel by panel, to the points of interest (what I want you to focus on). The saturated bright blue is used as its a contrasting colour and I wanted to draw you to the eye of the white raven. As for colouring, you flat out the colours, which is when you isolate each section of the illustration and colour them with one flat colour. Next you add shadows, light, texture etc. This is nearly worth its own step by step. Then youre finished!
Final page can be seen here at Tapastic, and new pages will be uploaded every friday.
As promised, heres a comparison between the original page from a year and a half ago, and the new page from the revised script. Thanks for reading!