Monday, November 30, 2015

Birthday card for my wife

I put my comic book work on hold for a little bit and worked on a birthday card for my wife. I didn't quite have an idea what it would be about, but it would still be in the same 'universe' that my wedding proposal for her is in.

My wife and I would have quick conversations about how our life has changed so much since we've had children. We'd see old photos of ourselves and reminisce about the days that it was just her and I and how 'mobile' we were. We would think about all the places we went to and the places we'd like to be.

Don't get us wrong though, we love our kids, but it seems like that was a different lifetime ago, and the people in the photos seem so different from who we are now. So that's where the brain storm started for the birthday card.

My sketches worked backwards. I knew what message I wanted to say
at the end, so I started off with 'designs' for the interior image first.

Boiling down my idea along with basic poses for the characters on the card.

I'm paying homage to that classic "Spider-Man, No more" issue
for the card's front. But eventually I thought a horizontal, hotdog-style
opening card would make the card more special than a regular one.
With around a week to go before the big day, I didn't bother tightening up the sketches, or even the layouts, and just went straight to digital inks. All my character design work was already done, so I felt confident I could just bust this one out.

It started out that I was going to draw the background of the 'cover' just like
Amazing Spider-Man #50. But because of time as well as aesthetics, it seemed
really appropriate to leave the background blank. It would be a good contrast to
the super colorful interior (once I was done with it).

I drew the images incorrectly at first. It was on an 8.5 x 11 canvas, but
I didn't take into account that it should've been half that height,
since I was folding the paper in half. Nothing scaling and a little
digital re-positioning couldn't handle though! 

Coloring pass wasn't too tough. I used to use Photoshop to handle the coloring, but since my older version of Photoshop works 'alright' on my Surface 3, I just kept coloring in Manga Studio. It wasn't too bad actually.

Final colors, and a slightly altered layout from the Black and Whites.

I think I over did the stars, but it's kind of a nice contrast to the
starkness of the cover. Kinda like a punch in the face after opening
the birthday card... maybe not the best analogy...

So there we go. Hopefully, it feels like a celebration of the new things that we have now (and who we've become), and less of the "I miss the "good" ol' days"... That's it for my art shenanigans for November! Time to go back to blocking in some colors for my comic!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Comic Book: Issue 3 - Lettering

No Inktober drawings from me this year. As much as I really enjoyed letting my DC comic fan out last year with those ink drawings, I opted out of it this year. Instead, I finished up the lettering pass of the third issue of my comic book!

It's always nice to see my page with lettering.
It's good to see if the page is working, like I intended
it to, once the balloons are placed.

This was the first time I used Manga Studio to handle the lettering (along with Blambot's fonts), and it was definitely a good change from how I used to do it on Photoshop. Arranging balloon placement was a breeze and I made some custom balloons as well to make my life easier. I used to have to custom make my balloons in Photoshop for every page, and they were rasterized layers not vector... so I couldn't readily futz around with placement and size without having to scrap the entire balloon every time.

Seeing how pages work next to each other is do-able in the computer,
but there's nothing like testing the 'page-flip' on physical pages.
Once the lettering is in, I print out the pages and place them into one of those plastic folders with the clear sleeve pages in them. This way I can visualize the placement of my pages sequentially in a physical format. I usually find myself constantly flipping through the mock-up. This is sort of my editing phase. I'll read the physical copy multiple times. I 'll find typos, or phrases I keep repeating in the dialogue, spelling mistakes or inconsistencies in page flow.

I don't think my brain actually slips into this mode until after I see all the pages together like this, and I've found it's a very important and encouraging step for me. Anyway, next up: colors!
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