One of my favourite things to read through on the web is the process artists go through on their own pieces, even if it’s a few photos or a small paragraph featuring some in sight on how the piece was created. So I decided to take the plunge and do my own, I hope you find it useful.
I use a varied amount of tools in my work (which I will link to here) but my whole process goes through Photoshop. I find it the most comfortable to work with and that’s pretty much the reason for all my software/hardware choices; find programs and tools your comfortable and confident using, I feel that is the best way to get results instead of trying to force results from tools you know works for others.
So here I start off with my pencil layout, I create my page size at 11×17 inches at 300dpi, I bump this up to 600dpi when I start inking but this might sometimes be too large for comic work (haven’t asked a pro myself yet). I create a new layer and use FRENDEN’s Pencil: Blue brush to start laying out. I use photo reference for the characters though out but stay away from going for a straight copy of any photos I use. As you may see I used the ‘transform’ tool to adjust head sizes and positions I wasn’t happy with. Make sure you’re happy with the sketch before you start the next step it saves so much agro later on!
The inking stage is a step I’m getting used to myself as with my digital paintings I usually go straight into the painting process. FIRST THING: lock your pencil layer! It’s the most annoying thing to realise your wonderful bit of inking is mixed in with your pencils. I drop my ‘Pencil’ layer to 30% opacity and create a new ‘Inks’ layer (Tip: label each layer you create and order different steps into group folders, it makes it so much easier to navigate) For this step I use The Kyle Webster Ultimate brush pack opting for the ‘Inking Thick ‘n’ Thin’ Brush.
Next up is the colours! I again lock the ‘Inks’ Layer and then creating underneath that a layer I call ‘Flats’. People colour and paint their own stuff differently, some go with a ‘multiply’ layer over the inks but I prefer having mine under. In this one ‘Flats’ layer I choose the middle ground colours for the whole page using the ‘Lasso’ tool and any hard brush to correct the edges. I only use one layer for this as when I’m rendering/painting It allows me to quickly make selections off this layer using the ‘Magic Wand’ tool with out having to scroll through my layer folder. All my rendering and painting with all my work is using Dan Luvisi’s Brush Pack. I vary rarely use any over Brushes! You can see I’ve already started the next step on this photo so let’s move on.
Here I create a Layer Folder called “Colours’ where all the various colour layers and filters live. I start with a ‘Shadow’ layer creating all my dark colours and tones over my flats (Remember to lock that Flats Layer if your jumping between them!) and then a ‘Highlight’ layer for all my lighter tones in this case where the suns focus is strongest. I use the ‘Hard Ink Brush’ in the Dan pack and then use the softer brushes to blend the colours together where need be. I can’t really teach much about colour theory, all I try to do is incorporate different colours into the mix rather than just adding black or white to make the lighter/darker versions of the base colours.
This is also a new step I’m getting used trying to do comic pages rather than paintings; Lettering! Again creating another Folder called ‘Letters’ I use the Shape/Pen tool to create my balloons, this allows me to constantly move/transform the balloons to my liking. I select the necessary paths and fill a layer with straight white, I add a ‘Stroke Effect’ to this layer so anything I add automatically gets that black outline. It’s then a case of adjusting my terrible writing across the page to fit the spaces I allocated on my panels.
And Voila! There we go, I hope I didn’t babble on too much and this was somehow helpful. I’ll keep trying to post these as I get better myself, until then have fun drawing!