First, I write the scripts. Usually they're very sparse, just dialogue and no direction, since I'm drawing it myself, I can usually figure out what I want to do. For, say, Last Monday's comic, my art direction was more detailed. The first three panels didn't even have any dialogue at all, and I added some in the third panel. Anyway, scripts are usually written far in advance, because it's faster to write than draw... I am right now working on the beginning of the fourth chapter of "Rise of the Alarmbot," to give you an idea, and I've only drawn up to 9 or 10 comics away from the end of the first chapter. (Each chapter has about 15 comics in it, if that helps. GEEEBUS.) The writing part is largely easy, though I have problems getting the comics to be A: Funny (There's a reaosn I'm not writing a gag strip) and B: Short (I am a verbose person). But these are problems I deal with, either in the writing or the editing process.
Second, Pencilling. I could say editing is second, but usually editing is an afterthought, done either while I'm writing or while I'm bubbling the comic at the end there. So second step is pencilling. I'd have some scans for you if I was prepared, but I'm not so you'll have to picture it in your head. Probably I'll use this framework for a tutorial at some point, maybe. I pencil the comics in a normal 9X12 Sketchbook, (The kind with the hot-air balloon on it, I'm too lazy to check) which I might have to stop doing because the ink sorta soaks into the pages and the paper bits get in the nibs and ruin them. But for now, I'm cheap. Pencils are cheap and loose and sometimes I accidentally forget stuff. Pencils is the equivalent of storyboarding for me, which I used to do but I realized that it was just as easy to make up layouts on the fly. So that's what I do. I usually do a big chunk of pencils in a row, which is why sometimes there are big chunks of comic where the character designs are pretty much the same, and then abruptly they start looking a TINY bit different. Or a lot different, I dunno. AAAANYWAY. Right now I have up until next Wednesday's comic half-pencilled in my book.
Third we have Inking. I like inking all right, but I get a severe case of pencil-arm and ink-finger afterwards. Inking with liner pens may have been slow, but it's a heck of a lot more clean than inking with dip pens is. Still, dip pens have a major attraction for me, partly because I like to get elbows-deep in art, which is why I like charcoals so much, despite rarely using them. Anyway, what I do with the inking is put ink lines over the pencil lines and sometimes draw stuff that's not there in the pencils, which looks really crappy. I did that with the Kelly in the third panel of this comic. That I do because I'm too lazy to put the pens away and take out the pencil, usually. I usually ink just before I need to post. After I finish inking, I erase the pencil lines and tah-dah, finished comic.
Only not quite. See, my fourth step is scanning it into photoshop and doodling around with that for a while. First I have to erase the blotches of ink where I messed up, which happens quite often, and fix the random overlapping lines and erase the stuff that looks dumb and redraw it with the line tool or (more recently) the tablet. Some things I draw completely on the computer, like the robot, which would look a hundred times more stupid if I drew it by hand. I swear, you don't even know. There's a reason I don't draw my own panel borders. Speaking of which, I use the selection tool and shrink selection to make my panel borders, clear everything that doesn't belong in them, flatten the panel borders layer and then select the panels and move them around so that they look even remotely good. Possibly at some point I'll have something break through the panel border, but at this point I've never seen a good opportunity to do that. I usually scan two comics at a time, but I only start fiddling when the comic is the next in my queue, usually when it's supposed to have gone up two hours ago.
Fifth step! Color! I color in small sections. I'll flat, shade, and highlight one thing, like The Green Avenger's hair (which I usually do first, come to think of it. I like to color hair.) and then go on to the next thing. It's easier than flatting everything at once, because that way I don't forget to shade anything and I don't have to switch my colors all the time. Of course, I use specific shading colors, and don't use a shading layer, which some people do. (lucky bastards)
Sixth step is bubbling. I put the text down and use another layer to put the bubbles on. I don't usually plot out bubbles in advance, I usually just end up putting them wherever there's room, but I do usually make sure there's enough blank or nearly blank space in a panel to put the bubbles in. Or something I drew that's ugly that I want to cover up.
Anyway, that's it! Then I flatten the comic, shrink it to 550X750 and save it to jpg. It's fun times. I didn't mention preliminary drawings, which are random doodles on scraps of paper or in the wacom, and can be for comics from any point in the future of the comic. I rarely doodle based on stuff that's already happened, though.
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