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Drawing comics directly next to the computer
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Phlip
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Joined: 06 Dec 2005
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:00 pm    Post subject: Drawing comics directly next to the computer Reply with quote

Comixers:

I cannot recommend the following to anyone, including myself:

Get a cheapie USB-powered scanner, 8.5x11, a stack of smooth card-stock paper, and a printer.

Take an art tool and draw grid lines on a PNG file. Use MS Windows Explorer's Print interface to print the grid lines on the paper. (Use that interface because it defaults to "expand to fit". Make the grid lines very light yellow.

(I cannot figure out how to get my art-tools to do non-repro blue. They all respond to commands to remove blue as if I wanted to warp the blue and drag the other colors with it.)

Get a WebComics font from one of the free font repositories. Script your cartoon in MS Word, set at 100% view, with narrow margins, and this font, centered. Manually adjust each dialog balloon text for balance.

Pencil onto the card stock paper. Measure the dialog text on your monitor, to see how big to make each balloon.

Ink with a tiny hairline paint-brush, about 1 cm long.

Tweak and hatch with a fine roller-tip pen.

Erase with a kneaded eraser (so you don't wake up one day up to your knees in eraser dust).

Scan at 600 dps, monochrome.

Write a batch file (you are a programmer, aren't you?;) that pipes the scanner output thru a program called AutoTrace, to smooth stuff out.

Convert to EPS for vectors, and shrink the EPS so your dialog balloons just bigger than your dialog text in Word. Convert to PNG.

Use SnagIt to copy the dialog out of MS Word, and paste it into the dialog balloons.

Shrink by 75%. This step makes everything tighter.

Compose several scans together to get one page. I compose in MSPaint because the copy-paste tools are relatively simple.

Now load in Gimp, and switch the image type to Grayscale, then to Indexed -> Optimized for Web -> No Dithering.

That step makes the file very small and efficient. You can now switch back to RGB and color it up without much increase in size.

I don't compose in Gimp because the copy-paste tools are so freaking complex that sometimes you can't do something simple.

Select the caligraphic brush, /, and switch the mode to "darken only". Now pick a color or grey, and you can paint over your image without crunching your black lines.

I never make mistakes, but I suppose if you did then you might erase them here.

You can also switch the brush to white, and the intensity to 50%, to add simple highlights.

Use the smudge tool to soften hatches into greys, and to add motion trails.

Now crop the file, number it, and upload it. Here's some of my favorite results:

http://www.greencheese.org/ZeekLandWeekNine

Have a good one!
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Eric F Myers
Understands reinventing


Joined: 03 Oct 2003
Posts: 352
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holy crap!
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Phlip
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Joined: 06 Dec 2005
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eric F Myers wrote:
Holy crap!


Is there a problem, ossifer?

(-;
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Phlip
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Joined: 06 Dec 2005
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of the acronyms in my post happen inside a couple of batch files, so my actual click-n-grin episodes only do unique things.

Let's illustrate what I'm saying about the results:



Note that does not present the "one rapidograph" look that most of the WC I have seen suffers with.

I use neither a graphics tablet nor a vector-oriented program. I'm not sure but I suspect my cycle is also faster, with all the shortcuts. Maybe!
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