I didn’t use to script, but scripting is very important especially for long-format stories. Scripting is actually one of the most fun parts for me!
My script is pretty rough, since I’m the only person who’s meant to read it. I abbreviate all the names, which makes it hellish to read if you’re not me - shoutout to Andrew, my editor, for managing to make it through it! Occasionally I’ll change my mind about what’s in the script once I get down to draw it - sometimes these changes are minor, and sometimes the page comes out completely different from the script.
STEP 2: SKETCH
My comic pages are entirely digital and done on Photoshop from start to finish. I start with a grid that helps me roughly lay out the panels:
And then sketch out each panel loosely.
I like for my sketch phase to be rough because I want the final linework to be able to do its own thing. Inking a tight sketch is no fun for me and makes my final lines look kind of stiff and lifeless. Still, while this step may look slapdash, it’s still very important and takes a lot of planning - this determines the layout and action of each panel.
Goldenloin almost always looks like a doofus in this phase.
STEP 3: LINEWORK
I lower the opacity on the sketch layer and block out the final panels on top. I like for the opacity on the sketch to be VERY low - about 5%, just enough so I can see where everything is but not enough that it will distract me from the final lines.
Next come the final lines. You can see the places where I stayed fairly close to the sketch and the places where I took some liberties.
STEP 4: COLORS
This part takes the longest for me and it’s a pain. I hide the sketch layer and lay down some solid backgrounds. It’s easier to color if you’re not doing it on a white field.
Then I fill in the characters and foreground elements. I do flats first and then shading, but since the shading and flats are on the same layer, I only have a screenshot of the finished product:
I didn’t have to fiddle with these colors much since I figured them out a few pages ago and I can just color-drop from there, but usually choosing the colors is a long and arduous process for me. Color-picking isn’t actually one of my strengths, but I’m getting better at it.
Because this scene takes place in a smoggy room, I use gradients to get a smokey effect:
I lay the gradients over the solid backgrounds and then adjust the opacity so the background color shows through as much as I need it to.
STEP 5: TEXT
I keep text and balloons on a separate layer. That’s pretty important. You never know when you’ll need to change it, or when you’ll make a typo.
STEP 6: FINAL TOUCHES
In this stage I do all the highlights, dark shadows, and special effects I may need. If Nimona’s on the page I have to draw in her chainmail which I always leave for last. I also add the paper texture I’ve been using since the beginning (on a low opacity).
Bam! Finished page. From start to finish, this can take me anywhere from 5-10 hours. Occasionally longer depending on how much of a roll I’m on.
That is how I do it personally. There are many different ways to do comics! Find the way that works best for you!
Other comic-makers’ processes which you may find helpful:
- Ryan Andrews (whose process posts helped me figure out how to put together a comic early on!)
- Sam Bosma (whose comic Fantasy Basketball is fantastic and you should read it)
- Tony Cliff (who writes one of my favorite comics, Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant)
Fifty years ago, Jerry Gretzinger started painting a map of a world that existed only in his imagination. It began as a doodle, but since that first day, he has been adding a new hand-drawn panel to his map every day. Today the masterpiece known as Jerry’s Map numbers 2,600 different unique panels that cover 2,000 square feet. And it’s still growing…
“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals—sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”—Gary Provost (via qmsd)
This series by navate on deviantart is a great resource from which to learn about looking at skin, interplay with light, all that good stuff, and it’s important because it talks about the variety of human skintones, unlike most “how to paint skin” tutorials that focus exclusively on white bodies.
And one personal piece of advice I can think of off the top of my head is to not be afraid of saturation, of having richness and depth of color. In regard to Night Vale fandom, which prompted this post, I often see a lot of drawings of Carlos where he looks really washed out, like gray and ashy, and I imagine that that mostly comes from people relying on simply darkening and lightening the base skintone for shading and highlights. Play around with shading in COLORS! It’s fun and it makes your figures pop and look vibrant!
And just as a caution: if you go looking for tutorials and guides on drawing people of color you are ABSOLUTELY going to run into the three-part “Guide to Human Types” chart by deviantart user majnouna. and while it is tempting to look at that and go “wow there is sure a whole lot of variation in body and face structure, I’m going to use this for designing characters!” you NEED TO BE AWARE that the sources used by majnouna in creating that guide are DEEPLY PROBLEMATIC. Like, Nazi scientist problematic.
Sooo I wouldn’t necessarily go about using those charts as a guide for how to draw characters of color, because as good as majnouna’s intentions may have been, the source material they used for reference is outdated and was created basically to promote continued oppression of nonwhite bodies. JSYK.