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How I “Art”? Part 1

May 23, 2013

So, cat’s out of the bag! I’m not really an artist. Not yet anyway. What’s this? You say, you’ve been fooled. Who has been drawing the comics then, if the Author M isn’t actually the artist? Well ok, I have been drawing comics, but I don’t think that what I’ve produced so far has a level of craft that should label me as artist. I’m not going to let a lack of ability stop me from being an artist!

So almost three years in, I’m slowly realizing what being a webcomicker means, which is cool. I read a lot of webcomic’s and I’ve been following Stripsearch pretty religiously, and understanding what all these amazing artists are doing, I’m starting to see a little bit of what I’m doing wrong.


First Point. My process. Currently when I sit down to create a comic, I use a ‘pathing’ system with a mouse to create the general line work for a strip. This involves placing “nodes” and controlling curved lines between them. It’s kind of cool, but actually incredibly limiting. After I lay the lines I then “stroke” them, which lays down a line of preset thickness.It has the benefit of giving me a lot of control, but I can’t work directly on the art. I set it one way, see if it looks good, erase it, try again, until it comes out right. Meanwhile, it doesn’t really do much for my ability to sketch. I draw in a notebook separately, but there’s such a disconnect between the two processes that I don’t gain XP towards leveling up as an Artist.

So what am I gonna do about it?


I grabbed my wife’s tablet the other day and told myself to try it the traditional way. I failed miserably, so then I looked up how to “art”, and it started to come out a little better. Instead of the pathing nonsense, I’m drawing dirrectly into the program (I use GIMP by the way). I start with a “pencil sketch” in blue. It’s in blue because . . . tradition? Originally you use a specific shade of blue that doesn’t register on scanners, called non-print blue. Digitally, I can just take the pencil layer off whenever, but blue is a pleasing color. Then I go back over the pencil sketch with black to create the general outlines that I want. This time I vary the size of the brush to create thick and thin lines. It also generally gives me more control over positioning and shape. The results are shaky as they stand now, but each attempt gets a little better than the last. Hopefully eventually I’ll get to the point where the art is reasonable/passable. Thanks for joining me on this journey.


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