Let’s draw some more comics. After the last post, I read over my storyboard a few more times and get feedback from a third party if possible. After that’s done, I break it up into pages by separating the storyboard panels first. Each page has 3-8 panels for me, and I’ll pick the panels for each page in a way that, ideally, it always ends on a “cliffhanger”, or in the middle of a scene so there is an incentive to keep reading.
Keeping it simple.
Then I plan out page layouts. As you can see, all the panels are numbered – I then draw up some page layouts, and fill in the numbers. If there’s more pages, I will redraw the storyboard panels, but since the story above is only seven pages, I decided to save myself the hassle. If you plan on showing this to someone else (and you should), make sure it’s intelligible, or be prepared to explain a lot.
The lazy version
Again, this does not have to be pretty. We’ll worry about that later.
Be prepared to edit this. You might have to change the size of panels, move things around, or even change your storyboard and add additional pages. Be flexible. It’s crucial that you work out all the kinks of the story in this stage while it’s still easy, so you don’t waste your time redrawing pages. I also stress getting a second opinion, just because they will notice flaws and inconsistencies that you might not be aware of – after all, you’re the author, and an aspect that might be clear in your head might not come through in the story.
After that, I draw the panel borders. You can do this page by page, I personally prefer working on an entire chapter at once. I’ve done this in SAI, but nowadays I prefer Photoshop.
I abuse the ruler tool to make sure that the gutters are the same size. The outer border of the page is where it will be cut during print, which is between 3-5 mm. This is mostly important if your panels stretch to the edge of the page, or you have panels spanning over two pages. In this case, since it was only seven pages, I put all the panelling into one file and then saved them as individual pages to fill in. If it would be more, I would create and individual file for each page straight away.
Now, draw your stuff. Again, be prepared to make minor changes to your layout when the need arises, but there shouldn’t be any major changes if you’ve been careful enough.
This is page 2.
And now you color/tone it, whatever you do. I didn’t have any color pages, so I halftoned it.
If you have any lettering, fill it in. I was pressed for time (and I felt like it worked better without), so this one doesn’t have any text. If necessary, get everything ready for print, send it off, and wait a few weeks.
Printed matter, how amazing!
Things I’ve learned:
- Make sure your lines are black, and that all colors and tones (if you use them) are opaque. Use a sharp brush. I made the mistake of using a softer brush, which looks nice on screen, but like shit in print, which was pretty disappointing.
- Draw backgrounds. I’ve tried to skimp out on backgrounds before this (and also didn’t get the comic done in time), but it looked really boring and empty. I did hate myself for drawing the same bathroom five times in a row, but it was worth it.
- Work out the story before you draw. If you’re going to draw tens or hundreds of panels, make sure to make it worth your while.
And that’s how I draw comics, I hope you found this entertaining for helpful or at least mildly interesting. If you want to read the full comic, let me know.