Tutorial Tuesday: Layouts to letters
So this is only my second Tutorial Tuesday, so I’m still trying to figure out The best way for me to show you how to do things. I’m sure all of you out there are waiting to see how I do more tutorials to see if my tutorials help you at all.(the the 6 or 7 imaginary fans i have… i know, you’d think i’d imagine more fans…) BUT despite that I want to hear from you guys. Let me know 1. What do you want me to do tutorials of? and 2. What is the best way for me to show you this tutorial? Is it a live video? Or a step by step process with notes? Or just a general overview of my process? Since Blog’s are a one way mode of communication I’m just going to put things out there, and hope it helps you until i get some feedback on what works and what doesn’t for you guys.
Today I’m going to show you my process for a comic book page and explain the importance of each step. Hopefully that will inspire and aid those of you who have no idea where to begin. So lets do this!
1. PAGE LAYOUT
First and foremost is the layouts. This is the most important part of building the comic book page. I know it looks like a bunch of messy scribbles but these are where all of your decisions have to be made. Think of it as the blueprints of your comic. You figure out composition and pacing. You figure out what the most important scenes are that need to be focused on, and where you want them on the page. You also figure out how much space you need for word balloons. And if you’re like me this is where you’re writing the dialog as well. Now things aren’t written in stone here, you can make changes in the other stages as you see fit. But 90% of your decisions need to be made here, or you’re going to run into problems in the other stages.
The pencils are the second most important part of the process. Why? Well if the layouts are the blueprint of the comic, then the pencils are the foundation. The rest of the process of the comic are built on top of the pencils, so you have to make sure they’re good. You can see my pencils are a little loose, and rough, but all the details are there. The proportions, anatomy, perspective. If you get lazy in this step and you don’t draw good anatomy or you don’t think about perspective the rest of the drawing is going to suffer. And if you’re working with an inker, you want to be sure you pencil neatly so that they know which lines should be inked, and which lines should be erased.
Side note. You might have also noticed how i wrote in the word balloons in each panel. This is to make sure I leave enough room in each panel to fit the word balloon. The biggest rookie mistake is not leaving the room for the words, and some important part of the art ends up getting covered up! Plan ahead and leave room!
3. BLUE LINE
This optional step. I personally like penciling with a 2H pencil on paper. But i like to Ink Digitally. So i Scan my pencils into Manga Studio and convert the pencils to blue before I start inking. Though its certainly not a required step, especially if you’re like penciling with a 2H pencil and Inking traditionally. But personally I find it helps a great deal. Another option would be to replace step number two with this step and pencil the comic using a non-photo blue pencil. So this is optional, but i strongly recommend it.
Next you ink over your pencil lines. Like i said in the last section I ink digitally using Manga Studio EX 4. It allows me more control and less mess, plus i don’t have to keep buying pen refills or new brushes all the time. But you don’t need fancy software to ink. Any ink pen that allows you to lay sharp clean lines in a controled manner works. I’ve heard stories of a well known Inker for Marvel inking his books using a broken chopstick dipped in ink. Whatever works, use. The point of the ink though is to bring the pencil line out. Give it depth and weight and essentially “bring the art to life.” Be sure not to ruin the pencils with lines that are too thick, or muddy up details with sloppy work. Take your time, and be meticulous!
Now for those of you who used a non-photo blue pencil to pencil your comic, your page should look something like the image above. You ready for a magic trick? Take that page and scan it in. Use the black and white setting, not the gray setting. Don’t worry i’ll wait…….
…. what did you find? It looks like this doesn’t it?
Pretty cool huh? the non-photo blue disappears like magic when you photocopy it or scan it using the black and white mode. For those of you who inked digitally, just make the pencil layer invisible. For those of you who used a traditional pencil, erase like crazy! So now we’re ready for the next step.
5. COLOR and/or TONES
Now my comic Shadows of Oblivoin is a black and white comic. So this is the part where I add in all the black and white tones. But maybe your comic is a colored book, this is where you’d add in your color.
The point of this stage is to give your book more visual depth. With use of lighting and color you can give the forms and figures in your panels more of a 3 dimensional feel and it will bring them to life. Technically this stage is optional and you can stop with your inked drawings. However I find looking at plain black and white comics are hard on the eyes. Adding tones and/or colors makes your book more enjoyable to read.
Now for the last step…
Also this is technically an optional step, as you can tell a story purely visually. However what makes a comics such a unique art form is the juxtaposition of words and images to tell a story. Letters can be used to show speech conversations, narration’s, sound effects, character thoughts, or anything that makes a sound and needs to be expressed visually in the comic.
Remember when we wrote the word balloons in the page in the pencil stage. This is where it pays off. Now the word baloons are easy to read, the action is easily depicted in the panels, and you now have a clearly understood, well told comic book page! Congrats!
I hope this helped you aspiring comic book artist out there. And like i said in the begining of the post, comment here! let me know how you like this tutorial format? Would you prefer me to present this in another way? if so how?
But in anycase i want you to take this info and use it to make comics, and not excuses! See all of you tomorrow with a new page of Shadows of Oblivion!
I'm an Indie Comic book artist. I've freelanced for mostly small companies as well as self publish my own comic. I get asked alot of questions on how I got into comics, how to draw, and/or how I started creating my own self published comic.
As I'm answering these questions I'm finding most peoples create excuses for themselves. Something to justify the fact that they're not trying very hard. The truth is if you want to do something, ANYTHING, whether it's making comic books or being in the circus, there is no excuse for not perusing your dream.
This blog will show work in progress, and tutorials on drawing and making comics in general, as well as feature some motivation to pursue your dreams and stop making excuses. I'll also be posting pages from my own self published comic to prove that I'm not a hypocrite and I practice what I preach.
So lets Stop making excuses and start making comics!
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