While you all wait (who ever is waiting) for my next Kokoro No Kinu page (sorry for that, school been getting in the way, but I promise it will be up by Wednesday night.) I thought I would share with you all the process of how I create my pages. There are about 5 steps in the process of creating a page, so for anyone who is thinking of making a comic this way in the future, hopefully this will give you all some helpful tips and pointers. I will be using the first page of Chapter 3 as an example. So let’s get started… after this continue reading button that is!
Step 1: Script!
Every chapter I create is first laid out with a panel by panel script. First I determine what is happening in the page and the flow of the chapter, then I lay out panel by panel on that page what is happening, then I create the lines the characters are going to say on each page. I keep these non-confined to the panels so I can move the word balloons around as I see fit, so I can keep the flow of the page, and switch stuff up if I feel it is needed.
Step 2: Draw!
I start off every page by hand drawing them, that means I lay out the space on my paper (I use an 8×11 standard, but I draw the areas to make it the same dimensions as a standard A1 page, the side most manga are actually drawn on.) I lay out the panels, then ink them so they don’t get messed up when I draw the scenes in the panels. I usually ink the black parts of the page (like Tomoko or Machiko’s hair) but I might skip this in the future to save on time and do it in the next step of process, which is…
Step 3: Scan and Edit!
The next step I use in the process is to scan the page and edit digitally. I do this because I don’t like the number of mistakes I make on a page, and it helps to clean up such mess-ups and errors I make, it also makes the pages look cleaner. I used to line-art my pages, I usually use G.I.M.P. to edit my pages because it is what I have the most experience in. I usually used the path tool in G.I.M.P. to line my art, then using the ink filter with a stroke modifier, but I will start using my new tablet to line my pages, using Manga Studio, since it works with my tablet (I am an idiot, so I haven’t figured how to format G.I.M.P. to work with my tablet, mainly the pressure sensor, besides as a mouse substitute) After that is finished, it’s on to my next step!
Step 4: Screen tone!
After this step I use digital screen tones to create the shadows and textures on the page. I keep a library of screens I’ve found here and there that I use for my work. I make shadows by selecting the skin with the lasso free selector to select a part of the character and then I paste a custom made screen (gradient “newspaper points” to simulate the greys in the shadows) then I select the areas I want with the selector tool, deleting the selection, so the Alpha level shows, then I paste the screen on a layer behind the page, so I can place it easily without having to edit on the page directly, then I merge the layers together to make it one solid image. On this stage I’ll clean up and edit some of the lines to make it look nicer, for reference look at Machiko’s mouth in panel 5
Step 5: SFX, Bubble, Text!
For this step of the process, I use Japanese onomatopoeia to create the sfx, by placing the lettering in a separate layer, then I create another layer and use line art to trace the words, making them look less text-like, if that makes sense. Then I select the lettering and increase the effected silhouette in a layer behind it and add white so it separated from the art on the page. Then I add the translations to the margins. I could do this all in English, but I really wanted the feel of the manga to feel like a translated Japanese manga as I could, meaning the page layout to the SFX, just not the language, since I know VERY little Japanese, to my great dismay.
After the SFX part, I use Manga Studio, specifically because it has a bubble presets, with nodes that let me organize the bubbles how I want them, Then when I position the bubbles the way I want them, with the indicators to the speaker, I add the text, Yes I use Comic Sans, since this is a comic, occasionally I’ll line art screaming or something intense to give it more impact.
And that is how I create one of my pages, as you can see, even with only five steps (maybe 5.5 if you count the last one as a two-part step) it still takes a lot to make a page, but I love to see the page finished and gotten out to all of you, the feedback is nice, and I continue to improve my art and skills as I continue! I hope you all enjoyed this little tip tutorial, and if you are thinking of making a comic, I hope this has helped you in some way!
Now back to work on the title page of Chapter 3!