Hob – the Process

Today we’re going to take a look at the horrible means by which I create a comic page.  We will be using Hob #19.

– Wacom Cintiq 21X monitor-tablet
– Photoshop
Each PSD file has a resolution of 5100x6900px, or 17×23″ at 300dpi.

As far as Photoshop brush settings go I usually only use the regular circular paintbrush with maximum hardness.  Sometimes when I’m doing the pencils and details I’ll have the pen pressure control the opacity as well.

Step 1: Thumbnails

This is where I work through the basic layout and structure of the comic.  I try to draw only the most essential details, and it’s here where I tend to use the selection and transform tools a lot to figure out the position and prominence of different scenes.

Step 2: Penciling

Naturally no actual pencils are used, but this would be the digital equivalent.  This is where I work out most of the images and important details, as well as figure out the exact dialog that will be used.  I usually type in the text with a font at this point and “ink” over it when I am doing the final lines.  I don’t have a steady hand for smooth lines, so these pencils are much more polished than a lot of other artists’.  The more confident I am with a figure or panel, the less polished the pencils need to be. This whole step is by far the most extensive, and consists of about 70-80% of the entire comic process.

Step 3: Blocking

I establish the borders with the selection, fill and line tools.  Also I drop the opacity of the pencils to prepare for inking.

Step 4: Inking

The closer the objects are to the imagined viewer, the deeper the lines and so forth.  Here’s where a lot of the polish comes in, and I usually add a lot of the little details in at this point.  It’s one of the easier parts of drawing the comic, but it still at the very least takes about a day.

Step 5: Coloring

I usually allow myself about three color layers: background, foreground and an extra in between.  I screw around with color balance a lot and can get more than a little anal retentive about the appropriate lighting.  This generally takes about two days, more if I go crazy and delete a section of color. 

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