In Which Comic Pages are Made

072915tag

 

I LIIIIIIIIIVE! Okay, so I’ve been incredibly busy with getting the pages done for the project for NASA that I talked about in my last post (three months ago *cough cough*). All the finished pages, including cover and the like, were sent off this week! Like I mentioned before, I was sharing quite a bit of my progress on social media, but in case you missed it, I thought it would be neat to break down my process for creating comic pages.

 

thumbnailed!

When making comic pages, it’s incredibly important to start with a plan, so your storytelling will make cohesive sense– so thumbnails are crucial, despite me hating every moment of making them. They are a necessary evil. Just like outlines. You can see that I like to keep everything rough and flowing as much as I can. This is because I have a tendency to try stiff figures, lacking any dynamism. So if I start with things having lots of energy, my hope is to keep that energy going into the final version of the page. Also important, although I don’t have it pictured here, I thumbnail my pages in groups of four at a time, so I can check to make sure I’m keeping my layouts varied, and also helps give me an idea of what the pages will look like side by side.

Also note that from the very beginning I’m thinking about word balloon placement, and how it the reader’s eye would move from one thing to another– because having to cover up a character’s head up with a word balloon due to the fact that you have no place else to put it is a very bad thing.

While I don’t get into hyper details for the figures or faces, and they are mostly stick figures with easy to read expressions, but I will build off of that to create the final drawing in pencils. After the thumbnails are done, I scan them in, and print them at my rough draft size in light blue ink (1/2 the size I ink at, and the size the comic will be printed at).

 

gpmpagespencils04

This is where things get a bit bananas visually, but it’s my system of working, so I guess it only needs to make sense to me? Building off of the print out I did of the roughs, I start to draw the figures in using blue and/or red pencil, depending on what I am working on. As you can see on this page, I’ll put the basic word-balloon/text-box in red for future reference. Once the pencils are finished, I scan the page in again, this time super large so it can be doubled in size when printed out for inking. With the pencil drawing on the computer, I will digitally adjust anything that needs adjusting (sizes of heads that got away with me, different placement of characters, etc), and then blue the lines and print it out on 11 x 17 400 grade britsol paper.

 

gpm-i04inks

Inking, I suppose is pretty self explanatory– although it is harder than it seems. When you are inking, you have to think about the line weight you are drawing and how that relates to where it is in the foreground, etc etc. You also have to think about what to leave white, what to color in. I usually go more into depth with where I place my spot blacks– since I generally make comic pages in black and white. Since this was intended for color, I left mostly everything empty. The page feels super thin and bare like this, but it’s what the next step needed so…

 

flatting

I don’t usually color my pages at all, but the few times I have, I haven’t used this flattening technique (which I got from Jason Brubaker on his reMIND website) until this project. The tutorials on the page point to a Photoshop plug-in that will actually automatically do basic flatting for you and you get this amazing color effect with super bright colors. I liked the colors so much on the last panel, I actually kept those colors, but blended them into the grey of her skirt. I only did a few pages using this plug-in, however, because I found that it slowed me down. I instead went back to my painterly way that I usually color my pages. It’s probably all wrong, but it works for me, and that’s what matters!

 

gpm-i04

And then the finished product over many hours of work! The reason why I don’t like coloring my own pages, is because I have to stare at them for so long, I start to really hate my art because I start to see everything wrong with it. It just extends my coloring process tenfold. I am happy with how this page came out, however, so, I guess it all works out (。◕ ∀ ◕。)

 

So what’s next for Aja? Well, SPX is about a month away and I… am not really ready for it, as I’ve been working on this project. But now is the time to start pushing to get everything ready for my indie comic con debut *sparkles sparkles*

 

I’ve decided to go with the romance story, as it is much shorter, and I have done a lot of development for it. So… drumroll please… my next comic will be called Tokyo Story (or Tokyo Heart Story). As the title implies, I’ll be drawing on my experiences in Japan, but the focus will actually be more on relationships and looking into how we fall in love. It’s the kind of story I can play in all day, and I cannot wait to show you all! After SPX, the debut of the webcomic version of it will be sometime in October. I haven’t set an exact date yet, but I will be talking about it a lot in the weeks to come!

Blinded Steve

blinded but now I seeAnother secret project that I can now share! It’s that time of the year again for the Cap/Iron Man Big Bang, and instead of writing a story this year, I opted to do art for a story. The story was Blinded, But Now I See, which was a story about Cap going blind and having to cope with it.

As I read it, this idea of Steve with his eyes being replaced with torn paper, to represent his blindness, came to me, and I just rolled with it. Using actual torn paper, instead of trying to fake it, was essential– as when you fake that kind of rip, it looks awful. Ripping bristol paper just so it is the precise width was more difficult than you would think!

I used a different approach than normal for my paintings for this illustration. After the draft was approved by the author, I decided that I wanted to make this an inkwash, and attempt to do something with color (albeit lightly) in trying to emulate the style that Wylie Beckert does for her amazing graphite drawings.

My results were mixed. I went too dark with my washes, so I didn’t get the outcome I was hoping for, but there was an interesting texture created when I used the oil pastel brush in Photoshop. Wylie recently released a YouTube video of her process (which everyone should stop what they are doing and watch NOW), which gives me a better understanding on how she paints over grayscale stuff, and I will have to try it again in the near future.

 

 

Process: ALE-vent Calendar

Ale-vent CalendarSo in the month long hiatus, a lot of things happened. In my last post, I mentioned my new job, which is still keeping me busy. But then there was also a few secret projects thrown in the mix during the end of October, and entire month of November, some of which I can’t share just yet. I may have also been introduced to Dragon Age: Origins, and put a shameful amount of hours into within two weeks. And yes, I am sure Alistair art is coming. Count on it.

This is one of the projects that I can talk about (Hooray!). About two weeks ago, a friend of mine approached me with the idea of making an advent calendar, with beer– hence, the ALE-vent calendar. While I’m not a beer drinker, I really liked the idea. After a long conversation on what the advent calendar’s illustration would become, we agreed on an old-time-y illustration something in the vein of Art Nouveau– which could be argued has been played out recently, but sue me, I’ve been an admirer of the style since I got into art and have been a Mucha fangirl for many, many years.

I was so into the idea of the calendar, that I also offered to help assemble the three boxes of beer into their advent-ness? (is that a word??) My friend did most of the leg work for gathering materials and taking measurements, but he wasn’t sure how it would work or how we would go about preparing it– so that’s where my old 3-D art classes came in handy!

 

001

So before starting anything, I gathered all of my materials and made precise mock-ups of how the top would fit on the boxes.

002

And when gathering the materials, that meant also gathering the beer. There was so much beer…

003

Because this was an ambitious project that took a bunch of space up, no inch of space was spared, including my bed, when we were in the processes of printing and testing how things would work. The illustration was printed out on large Bristol paper, which, when double layered with the template paper for cutting the openings, I thought would be strong enough.

004

A final print mock-up measurement sheet of where the tabs would be cut was measured out and triple checked.

006

We attached the illustrations on the Bristol paper to the paper with the cutting template using a spray adhesive. Since the boxes needed to hold for a bit, not to mention cutting with an x-acto knife, the glue was spayed twice, and allowed to get tacky before we attach it. Then it was time to cut out the boxes for the beer!

007

Everything all cut and ready to go on top of the box!

005

The tops were then taped down to the box, and then wrapped around the sides in wrapping paper. Since I am awful when it comes to wrapping things, that was left to much more capable people. (Seriously, never ask me to wrap any presents– you will be disappointed).

008

And here’s the final product, with the sampling of beer for the first night of the Ale-vent!

New Format!

14.06.13-001Hello and welcome from the past!

I am writing this in the past to tell the future that the site is back up and running! Break over, and things will get back to normal as usual on Sunday. If you’re reading this blog on the site, then you’ll notice that everything is different! If you’re reading on a RSS, then go to the site and look around! There is a spiffy new format which I just adore. I finally broke down and put some money into it, instead of torturing myself trying to get the WP code to do things myself.

Was it the lazy way? Maybe. Was it the efficient way? You bet. Because I can now stop wasting my time fooling with the WP code and get back to the important stuff, like creating new art. By this time, everything should be up and running perfectly, so take a look around the site. There’s no new art yet (sorry), but there is new organization, and some things that I have been meaning to put up, but had been waiting until a new format was finished (like the Western AU project and a page dedicated to illoLifeRPG). There are a few little behind the scenes things that need to be tended to, but that won’t impede on the site experience– and can be done in small  chunks (and might be held off until I am back in the States).

Speaking of which! June 6th was the official marker point for me having only two months left in Japan! Time has flown by, and as much as I am sad to go, I am so happy to be going home, I can’t even express it. To have a bed again. And air conditioning. And Sonic’s Cherry Limeades. Priorities man. Priorities. These last two months will be crazy, but I’m going to make it a priority to keep updating things on the blog, even if I have to write from the past again, like I am doing now. Also once I am back in the States, I’m going to be looking into a few affiliates programs, so fair warning that some small advertisements are coming. But like seriously small ones. I can’t stand lots of ads, so I wouldn’t ask my readers to stand them either. I’m also eying Patreon, but I do not think I am ready for that quite yet.

So, to review: New site; regular updates start up again on Sunday; I’ll be back in the States in August; I am a fool for Sonic Limeades; and I’m looking into affiliate programs.

Onward!!

Massive Illustration and Sketch Dump!

THINGS! DRAWINGS! I was supposed to have this posted last week, but during the weekend, I was really pushing through some things story and art wise, and instead of stopping that flow, I decided to postpone this post until now. An update to the illustration section is next, but that might have to wait until this weekend. We will see how things go work wise for me, as I do not want to put too many things in the way of getting this story planned out. Right now, the schedule is to have three chapters (and the outline of all 12 chapters) done by the end of this month. It’s been so long since I’ve written anything for the comics format, this will take a little while to kick myself into doing I’m sure T^T

WITHOUT FURTHER ADO. SKETCH DUMP!

dump01
SHPMA Concept Art (there will be a lot of this in the future)
hyperpretty
Moreeeee

 dump02

magicalawesome

tumblr_mnd03s9z9y1rsg686o1_500

 

And some illustration stuff I’ve finished recently, but haven’t had a chance to add to the gallery… all Avengers related things. I’m sorry. I really like the Avengers ;_;

inthewires
Illustration for the fic, Ghost in the Wires
reversebigbang1
Western AU Reverse Big Bang illustration as it is my new goal in life to just draw Marvel characters as cowboys apparently.
A cowboy Obie. Because… why not?