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Comic - John C. Kirk

Feb. 17th, 2006

01:13 am - Comic

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Ok, page 1 of my comic is now basically done. If you're interested, you can view this as a preview for the whole thing:

Page 1

My basic approach so far has been:

1. Came up with the basic idea, wrote the script.

2. Did a storyboard, just to figure out what's going on in each panel. At this point I didn't bother putting in all the dialogue, so I just did a shorthand with "Yes" instead of "Yes, that's right!" This worked out to be 2 pages of A4 for the whole story.

3. Converted the dialogue into speech bubbles, wrapping lines at appropriate points so that each bubble is a sensible shape. Since these are handwritten, I'm "shouting", i.e. writing everything in capital letters rather than mixed case.

4. Cut these balloons out, and rested them on top of the storyboard. At this stage I realised that there wasn't space for the speech bubbles in the panels I'd laid out, and I couldn't realistically shrink the text if I wanted it to remain legible. So, plan B: make the panels larger. This means that it will be a 4 page story instead.

5. Drew the panels in pencil, then traced over the top with biro. So far I've done all of page 1, and the first half of page 2.

6. Erased the pencil lines from the artwork, leaving only the ink. This made a surprising difference, since a lot of the pencil lines were overlapping each other - I'd draw the background, then draw the people over the top, so it looks a lot better when the people are no longer transparent :) I've done this for page 1 so far.

7. Scanned the page in, as a black and white bitmap. I deliberately did this before I added the lettering, so that I can replace the handwritten speech bubbles with computer lettering later on.

8. Attached the speech bubbles to the page with Pritt-Stick. I wasn't too fussed about these being neatly glued on, i.e. as long as they'd stay put it didn't matter if the edges were loose. The only issue was that I needed to turn the page upside down in order to scan it in, and once the page was face-down that would keep the balloons flat anyway.

9. Re-scanned the page, as another black/white bitmap, then copied it into a jpeg and shrunk that down to 45% of its original size. I had a bit of trouble with this step (the scanner was acting up), which made me worry that I might have broken it by melting glue onto the glass or something, but I was able to resolve that.

So, as I say, page 1 is above, and I should get page 2 finished tomorrow evening (Friday night), then pages 3 and 4 over the weekend.

The artwork isn't great, but I'm sure that I'll improve with practice. Eventually, people will be begging me to join their Pictionary team! (Well, as long as none of my friends who can actually draw are there, that is.) I borrowed Piro's technique (from some of his quickie Megatokyo strips) of doing spheres for hands, which saved me having to fiddle around with fingers. Mind you, while this is only one step above stick figures, I like to think that there are some subtleties in there; I'll follow up on that once I've posted all four pages. The biggest challenge so far has been drawing bent arms, e.g. the woman raising her hand to her chin in panel 3. That's partly because I need to do it myself with my drawing hand, and then mentally invert it to the mirror image... I also copped out with the chocolates, by adding text - I wasn't confident that people would recognise them without the hint, particularly in black and white.

In the longer term, I am planning to colour and letter this on the computer. I hear that Wacom tablets are the way to go for this, especially since they come bundled with Photoshop, so I just need to choose which one to go for.

Anyway, it's nice to do something creative for a change :)

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