PDA

View Full Version : Drawing Digitally, the best way to go about it...


Duane Korslund
03-26-2015, 02:27 PM
Ok, so I'm sure there is no right or wrong answer to this I'm sure there's a better way to go about my work flow when I'm doing a page.

This is what I do:
My "penciling" and "inking" are done thusly.
I have 3 layers. One for the background (usually just white), one for the borders, and one for the lineart.
Step 1 "penciling": on layer 3, designated "lineart" I sketch out the page in Photoshop in a very rough, messy lined style. Its just the way I naturally draw. Its very scribbly and by the time I'm done everything is where it needs to be, but there's still a lot of work to do to make the page look done.
Step 2 "cleanup and "inking" also on layer 3: and here's where I think there may be room for change. I now proceed to "clean up" the messy lines. 90% of my workflow (and time on a page) is erasing. I shape and shave my messy lines down until I have them whittled down to the one line I wish it to be. This is where I do any "inking" that needs to be done as well.

Is there a better way to do this? One page usually takes me around a week to do, and most of it is spent erasing and fixing the lines I did in step one.
I've tried adding a new layer and redrawing my lines smoother based off of the rough sketch layer, but since I naturally draw in rough sketchy lines my new lines on the smooth layer end up being rough and sketchy...

So my fellow digital artists, any thoughts?
Is your workflow different? Faster?

Newt
03-26-2015, 03:46 PM
I don't draw digitally, but I think my advice may be relevant anyhow.

Your problem is not your workflow, per se; your problem is that you're not yet good at drawing smooth lines. Getting that smooth, confident line is a skill. It takes practice and discipline to develop that skill. But once you have it, it will give you better and faster results.

That's where your new layer comes in. Your layers are equivalent to the traditional artist's approach - thumbnail>rough>comprehensive>final image. Digital just makes it easier.

Don't just say, "This is how I naturally draw". Tentative, hairy lines are the way everybody naturally draws until they learn not to; if you take a drawing class, the instructor will try to beat that out of you. You have to be your own instructor. Start beating yourself!

Wait, that doesn't sound quite right...but you know what I mean.:slap:

Duane Korslund
03-26-2015, 03:57 PM
I don't draw digitally, but I think my advice may be relevant anyhow.

Your problem is not your workflow, per se; your problem is that you're not yet good at drawing smooth lines. Getting that smooth, confident line is a skill. It takes practice and discipline to develop that skill. But once you have it, it will give you better and faster results.

That's where your new layer comes in. Your layers are equivalent to the traditional artist's approach - thumbnail>rough>comprehensive>final image. Digital just makes it easier.

Don't just say, "This is how I naturally draw". Tentative, hairy lines are the way everybody naturally draws until they learn not to; if you take a drawing class, the instructor will try to beat that out of you. You have to be your own instructor. Start beating yourself!

Wait, that doesn't sound quite right...but you know what I mean.:slap:

The irony is: I'll be able to draw a smooth line, but I'll be too blind to see what I draw...but...good advice nonetheless...

Yeah, my first layer would be the equivalent of a thumbnail or rough...it would save a lot of time if my thumbnail or rough was actually smooth, then adjust from there instead of taking all the time to shape the line through strategic erasing.

Newt
03-26-2015, 04:07 PM
No. No erasing. Your thumbnail or rough can look any old way you want it to. It just establishes shapes, positions, values - not final marks. Your final marks are drawn on the new layer.

Duane Korslund
03-26-2015, 04:14 PM
No. No erasing. Your thumbnail or rough can look any old way you want it to. It just establishes shapes, positions, values - not final marks. Your final marks are drawn on the new layer.

right, so to translate it into the digital process...layer 1: rough, layer 2: smooth lines over rough layer, probably with rough layer transparency lowered for an easier visual reference.
Is that more along what you're thinking?

Newt
03-26-2015, 04:18 PM
Check this out:

http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2014/06/pruett-carters-preliminaries.html

See if you can find similar step-by-steps from artists you admire. Some start off with pretty clean-looking thumbnails, others with near-incomprehensible scribbles. It doesn't matter.

You're a writer, right? The preliminary stages of a drawing - these are the equivalent of your outline, your notes, your synopsis, and finally your rough draft. They only have to make sense to you, and it doesn't matter in the slightest if they're pretty. The final drawing - in this case the final layer - is your final draft. You don't make it by editing your rough draft, you draw it afresh with the guidance and clarity that your preliminaries give you.

Newt
03-26-2015, 04:19 PM
right, so to translate it into the digital process...layer 1: rough, layer 2: smooth lines over rough layer, probably with rough layer transparency lowered for an easier visual reference.
Is that more along what you're thinking?

Yep.

Duane Korslund
03-26-2015, 05:24 PM
Yep.

Ok, been messing with this for a while...now I understand the theory behind the blue pencil...

good learning!

DaveyDouble
03-27-2015, 05:14 AM
My digital pencils>inks process is broadly similar, however I work on a smaller thumbnail sized image first.

I have two templates; a thumbnail template of 8 thumbnails per 11x17 template, and the full 11x17 ruled template.
I do 90% of the sketching on those thumbnails, multiple layers, refining details, erasing, redrawing and such. I lower transparency where needed, flatten, cut out, rotate. The layout stage is messy. It's meant to be that way.

When I'm happy with the way it looks, I copy and paste each thumbnail into a full size template of it's own and resize it. I don't know how PS copes with that, but Sketchbook Pro keeps everything looking good enough to work from.
That's when the clean pencils start going on.
I may have several penciling layers going on at once for different elements, before finally flattening them all to a single layer (without the white background obv.).
Then I start inking in the same way, multiple layers for various overlapping elements, before cleaning out the underlying lines I don't need and flattening them down again to end up with:
Template/Guide/White Background layer
Borders/Panels layer
Pencils layer
Inks Layer

After that I will do a layer for speech balloons and text boxes and another layer for lettering (I have a 11x17 ruled guide on a separate layer for hand lettering).

Once everything is finished, the panel and inking layers can be flattened together, as well as the lettering and balloon layers toghether, so any colour work will be easier to navigate.

Inks shouldn't take that long, because what you're doing is 'setting' the image. The tricky part of inking is to get the flow of the lines and weights right, but you'll have done much of the work already. There's a reason they call it 'tracing'...

Don't worry about how long it takes to get a page done. It takes as long as it takes. You only get quicker through repetition and practise, but it's boring.
Bit of a double edged sword. To get fast enough you have to grind, but all the grinding can make you jaded to the point you're not enjoying it as much...

Remember, professional artists in comics churn out 'pages per day' because they're getting paid to hit a deadline.
If you've got a day job, you aren't going to hit 'page per day' speed this side of hell freezing over.

Duane Korslund
03-27-2015, 09:00 AM
My digital pencils>inks process is broadly similar, however I work on a smaller thumbnail sized image first.

I have two templates; a thumbnail template of 8 thumbnails per 11x17 template, and the full 11x17 ruled template.
I do 90% of the sketching on those thumbnails, multiple layers, refining details, erasing, redrawing and such. I lower transparency where needed, flatten, cut out, rotate. The layout stage is messy. It's meant to be that way.

When I'm happy with the way it looks, I copy and paste each thumbnail into a full size template of it's own and resize it. I don't know how PS copes with that, but Sketchbook Pro keeps everything looking good enough to work from.
That's when the clean pencils start going on.
I may have several penciling layers going on at once for different elements, before finally flattening them all to a single layer (without the white background obv.).
Then I start inking in the same way, multiple layers for various overlapping elements, before cleaning out the underlying lines I don't need and flattening them down again to end up with:
Template/Guide/White Background layer
Borders/Panels layer
Pencils layer
Inks Layer

After that I will do a layer for speech balloons and text boxes and another layer for lettering (I have a 11x17 ruled guide on a separate layer for hand lettering).

Once everything is finished, the panel and inking layers can be flattened together, as well as the lettering and balloon layers toghether, so any colour work will be easier to navigate.

Inks shouldn't take that long, because what you're doing is 'setting' the image. The tricky part of inking is to get the flow of the lines and weights right, but you'll have done much of the work already. There's a reason they call it 'tracing'...

Don't worry about how long it takes to get a page done. It takes as long as it takes. You only get quicker through repetition and practise, but it's boring.
Bit of a double edged sword. To get fast enough you have to grind, but all the grinding can make you jaded to the point you're not enjoying it as much...

Remember, professional artists in comics churn out 'pages per day' because they're getting paid to hit a deadline.
If you've got a day job, you aren't going to hit 'page per day' speed this side of hell freezing over.

Thanks Davey! Some really good ideas in there!
Yeah, I'm nowhere near a page a day, but I work a day job so its expected. I'd like to trim it down to maybe 3 days per page instead of 7 or 8. It's not that I'm in a rush, its more that I'm usually excited to get to the next page, or the next project. I can't wait to reach that next horizon, to draw something new that pushes me closer to my goal of being a competent artist :)

DaveyDouble
03-27-2015, 12:16 PM
I honestly wouldn't worry about it dude.
I get to draw maybe 2hrs a day on my daily commute, and it takes me a long time to get anything even nearly finished.
If I spend whole days working, I can maybe get a coloured pinup done in a weekend, but I'm a missing link for that entire time.

Like I say, speed comes with familiarity with the tools. That only comes with time.

Bishop
03-27-2015, 01:53 PM
My digital pencils>inks process is broadly similar, however I work on a smaller thumbnail sized image first.

I have two templates; a thumbnail template of 8 thumbnails per 11x17 template, and the full 11x17 ruled template.
I do 90% of the sketching on those thumbnails, multiple layers, refining details, erasing, redrawing and such. I lower transparency where needed, flatten, cut out, rotate. The layout stage is messy. It's meant to be that way.

When I'm happy with the way it looks, I copy and paste each thumbnail into a full size template of it's own and resize it. I don't know how PS copes with that, but Sketchbook Pro keeps everything looking good enough to work from.
That's when the clean pencils start going on.
I may have several penciling layers going on at once for different elements, before finally flattening them all to a single layer (without the white background obv.).
Then I start inking in the same way, multiple layers for various overlapping elements, before cleaning out the underlying lines I don't need and flattening them down again to end up with:
Template/Guide/White Background layer
Borders/Panels layer
Pencils layer
Inks Layer

After that I will do a layer for speech balloons and text boxes and another layer for lettering (I have a 11x17 ruled guide on a separate layer for hand lettering).

Once everything is finished, the panel and inking layers can be flattened together, as well as the lettering and balloon layers toghether, so any colour work will be easier to navigate.

Inks shouldn't take that long, because what you're doing is 'setting' the image. The tricky part of inking is to get the flow of the lines and weights right, but you'll have done much of the work already. There's a reason they call it 'tracing'...

Don't worry about how long it takes to get a page done. It takes as long as it takes. You only get quicker through repetition and practise, but it's boring.
Bit of a double edged sword. To get fast enough you have to grind, but all the grinding can make you jaded to the point you're not enjoying it as much...

Remember, professional artists in comics churn out 'pages per day' because they're getting paid to hit a deadline.
If you've got a day job, you aren't going to hit 'page per day' speed this side of hell freezing over.

This is how I've found myself working in Manga Studio. It helps to have multiple layers for different elements for staging/framing the shot, etc. I also find myself feeling more free to try different ideas for the image by hiding layers and sketching something real quick to see if it works better.

Frankmillerfan
03-27-2015, 03:27 PM
aDuDSUM5SCM

is the Neo smartpen N2 the best of both worlds? you can draw on paper and digital at the same time..

Bishop
03-27-2015, 04:13 PM
I wonder how good that is. Wacom had a similar product that I played with and the translation from paper to screen was pretty horrible.

Stewart Vernon
03-27-2015, 05:19 PM
I do some hybrid of hand-drawn and digital sometimes.

For making a final drawing, I find it much easier to play and tweak digitally... but when I'm sketching, I still feel more comfortable with a pencil and paper.

If I have a good sketch or something important for proportions, then I'll scan that and place it temporarily to use as a guide for a digital redraw. In this case it isn't really a trace, since my sketches are pretty rough.

I actually don't tend to work on too many layers. I know some things can probably be done on multiple layers easier than I do it with transparency and locking objects... but I've sort of gotten used to my way over the years and it gets the job done.

I really need to practice more with my tablet, though, because there are some things I can probably draw more accurately with that and skip some steps of sketching, scanning, and tweaking.

Effess
03-27-2015, 09:39 PM
I believe from reading a lot of tutorial walkthroughs of artwork, especially the comic making ones, that the artists that write them have found the way they personally want to work. I think to myself after reading that not every art making reader will benefit from every tutorial. You also add what you gain experience doing from actually making art yourself. I don't think there's the perfect way for everyone to make digital comic work, you eventually find what works for you, which in my case is not extravagant. It also takes me plenty of hours, more than I have time for in a day, to have a piece I can accept done.

I've found Manga Studio has tremendously grown on me for comic work. I keep the bottom layer. Have a layer set to default blue and half opacity for "pencils." Another layer for "inks." The top layer is always panel borders. I'll add or copy any other layer I need for pencil corrections, and finally any dialogue with balloons. I usually don't need anything fancy in the program like funny rulers, or preset backgrounds. A teacher once told me, the best tool you have is your knowledge. The kind that can be applied to any art medium. That's the part you need to grow any way you get it.

DaveyDouble
03-28-2015, 04:14 AM
I've also found that, if you're working digitally from the start, there are a couple of tools you have access to that don't really have a traditional counterpart. Or at least not one that fitsvso neatly into the workflow.

Sketchbook Pro has perspective rulers that will snap any drawn line to the perspective. Its neat, but if you're doing a sequential page, you'll be working with multiple perspectives at a time over the page, and it doesn't fit to this workflow.
But that's where software like SketchUp comes in. Its relatively simple to build a basic set or location for your scene, and add grid line elements for guides.
You can the freely position the camera for the shot you're aiming for before rendering the image and importing to a layer in your drawing software.
Job done.
Its also easy enough to import digital photos from a phone or camera to use as a guide for any shot, prop or pose you're trying to nail down.

Little things like this are what I see as the main benefits of working digitally, as well as never running out of ink, never breaking a pencil, never having your brush wear out and never smudging something by accident.

There's a very good reason most of the other creative fields like film, music, advertising and writing have already moved, predominantly, into using digital tools.