I am working on a new comic, but it’s taking a while since I’ve been busy at work (fortunately I’m playing with markers there as well but in a much larger size).
My process is starting to get a little more deliberate so I thought I might try to describe it here.
My kit of equipment is really really specific. I use letter-sized paper specifically for drawing comics that I get at Meininger, because I have found that normal printer paper (which is what I started with! so easy! so accessible!) has too much tooth and the ink is more bleedy. The kind I have is Canson Fanboy Manga & Comic sketch paper.
I have a deep love of markers and my favoritest most awesome wonderful kind are made by Staedtler: the Lumocolor permanent pens in black in B, M, F, and S sizes. I think they might actually be for writing on overhead projectors so I am a little worried they won’t make them forever. Dear Staedtler, if you are listening please make sure to keep manufacturing your pens!
I have also found myself in need of smaller tips as I get better at drawing, so I have a set of the Itoya Finepoint System pens in .5, .3. and .1 and I like them pretty well. I have never been a huge fan of Micron pens but I did need an even smaller size so I got one in 005 and I got a brush pen as well.
For my drawing surface I use a hardcover book about branding from when I was in school for design at RMCAD. :D It’s not even a good book but it’s the perfect size to hold on my lap (I draw sitting on the floor with my back against the couch). I always put 5 or 6 sheets of copy paper under the sheet I’m drawing on, which gives the perfect “squishiness” to the surface and helps manage bleed-thru.
Other important parts of my kit are a big chisel sharpie (terrible not-true blacks but sometimes you need a really wide marker), a Sumo mechanical pencil, and a 16 inch metal ruler. Oh and my laptop and or phone for image reference. Finished or in process stuff lives in a folder (upon examination it appears to be a Mead Five Star folder labeled Psych from when J was undergrad).
I think one of the things I like best about drawing comics is that they aren’t hard to write since they are usually based on something real: a dream, a memory, or an event. Though I originally just drew them in real time, making them up as I went, I have started actually storyboarding them out in pencil first on a sheet of copy paper. This way I can figure out what the words are, how many cells I need to say what I am trying to say, and what images would go along to tell the story.
When I actually start making the final comic I start by drawing the blackened edges and masthead area with my ruler and the B marker or the chisel Sharpie. I started doing this because my scanner can’t scan all the way to the edge, but I like the look of the heavy border. I then letter the masthead (is it called a masthead in comics? I think that word might be a holdover from my newspaper class days).
Finally, I draw each row of cells (with the B Staedtler marker denoting the borders), moving from the top of the page to the bottom, lettering in the story as I go in the Itoya .5. For more complex visuals I sketch lightly in pencil first and then erase the lines once I ink. Oh yeah! Part of my kit is a big white eraser. I would say about half of the pictures are drawn in pencil first, but I would prefer not to have to do this because it’s slower and I hate pencils. :)
I always have my computer nearby to look up photographic references for whatever I am drawing. Okay and now the secret part. For images with perspective I will sometimes put my paper over the bright computer screen and trace some guiding outlines in pencil! I cheat! It’s true! But I am getting better at perspective in general and who cares anyway, it’s how the whole thing comes together than really matters.
Well, that’s about it, tried and true at this point. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my process and look for a new comic soon.