Happy Halloween to my fellow Nagranowrimoers!
It is also the eve of (what I assume to be) the largest of the monthly creative challenges: NaNoWriMo!
I will give the the ol’ college try as usual, even if I haven’t had much luck finishing in recent years, and I’m curious if any fellow Nagrano-ers will be taking part. Or perhaps you’ll take November to work on your graphic novel project you started this year?
(If anyone is on Nanowrimo’s site and wanna be writing buddies, I’m Ladama, go Nano!)
I’ve had a couple of requests for this, and it’s been awhile since I’ve done one - I did one waaaay back in NIMONA’s early days but my process has changed somewhat since thing
I’m going to be discussing my process for the most recent NIMONA page.
STEP 1: SCRIPT
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)
If any Nagranowrimo-ers are planning to participate in 24 Hour Comics Day tomorrow, please respond with a link to the blog you will post updates to. The tags for 24HCD are kind of scattered here on tumblr, I’m finding posts under “24 hour comic[s] day” “24 hour comic[s]” and “24HCD” so maybe also respond with the tag(s) you plan to use. I think I’ll use “24HCD” because it’s short.
Again, the official website is: 24hourcomicsday.com
Good luck to everyone tomorrow!