The Process (of starting to think about writing a script that you will eventually turn into a comic)
I am always curious about how other web comic creators go about their process.
My “process” is so haphazard and random, it’s hard to really describe it, but I will try to narrow it down.
Usually I come up with an idea while driving or listening to music. Sometimes an idea comes after seeing something that makes me particularly irate on Facebook. Basically the ideas for a comic come from out of nowhere and are influenced by a particularly strong emotional reaction.
2. The Writing.
This part doesn’t always occur for every comic. I have a Google doc entitled “Untitled Document” that is a long stream of scripts for comics I have drawn. If the comic is short, I usually don’t write any of the descriptions or dialogue down, I just draw it. If I want to panel it out first or make sure my spelling is correct, I will quickly write down the sequence of events and dialogue in this Google document. I hardly ever script it out in proper format (i.e. PANEL 1 MCU, etc.) The notes are just for me to read, so it’s pretty bare bones descriptions.
3. The Penciling.
At this point I begin penciling out the comic. Some artists just pencil basic shapes and then go over and add the details in ink. I usually pencil out everything, including the borders of the panel. The one thing I don’t pencil out is the word balloons, as I add those in Photoshop which can make for some interesting sizing issues later on.
After I have penciled all the panels, I go in with the pen and start inking. Sometimes I will only pencil the foreground details first, and then go back and pencil the background details after I have inked the main focus of the panel. It really depends how much is going on in each frame.
After everything is inked and the pencil outlines have been erased (as best I can), I scan the comic and then touch it up on Photoshop. This process starts by balancing out the blacks and the whites. After that I go through and clean up the edges (again, as best I can). I then add color fills to as much of the comic as seems appropriate. Sometimes leaving the background uncolored make things pop more. I leave the color settings as black and white, as I find changing it to color to be more time consuming and more work than I usually have time for (sometimes my comic posting schedule is down to the wire).
Once the page has been cleaned up and “colors” added, I add word balloons and text. After everything is in place, I convert the Photoshop Document to a JPEG in the appropriate size for the site, add the Drunken Cat Comics logo and save it. I save several different versions of each comic (the original import, the JPEG as I am cleaning it up, a version for printing at 300DPI and the version for the web).
I have heard really good things about Manga Studio, and I would really like to experiment with it, but for the time being I am most familiar with Photoshop.
Finally I post to web and let the magic take it’s course.
So, fellow web comic creators, What is your process?