Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I have often thought that the best way to really appreciate something is to try and do it yourself and find out how bloody hard it is to get right.

At the moment I am slaving away at the comic book and really coming to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into the lettering of comic books.  It's a bugger!  I'm also spending a lot of time wondering what the hell I thought I was doing this time last year. 

When I draw the strips I draw it in pencil, then again in pen, then I scan that pen drawing into Photoshop and 'colour', and tweak, and letter on the computer.  When I have finished faffing about it's not uncommon for a strip to have 40 or so layers.

[For the uninitiated think of Layers as transparent sheets with bits of the drawing on. Pile all the sheets up and look through them and the image is complete.  You can draw, erase, and  slide individual sheets around or stack them in different orders - or make what's on them more (or less) opaque as you wish - or... well, the possibilities are endless and, as you can imagine, it's sometimes hard to keep track of which layer, which bit of drawing is actually on.]

Most of my finished files have a background layer (the original drawing), a 'Black and White' layer on which I tweak lines and erase mistakes, two or three layers of greys, a couple of layers of word bubbles (sometimes bubbles overlap and it is easier to nudge them around if they are on separate layers), the tails of the bubbles get their own layer, as does the 'Whiteout layer' where bubbles join, each separate speech gets its own layer (whether you want to or not, it's a Photoshop thing) etc. etc.etc. 

It soon mounts up.  As I have gone on I have got more organised.  I now diligently name the layers as I make them and have them organised in a, by now routine, set pattern.

A year ago I was all over the place.  The files I'm working on are total chaos.  Half my time spent relettering and tweaking the old strips is just spent trying to find out where the word bubble I'm supposed to be altering actually IS.  I mean I can SEE it - but can I find it?  Can I buggery?  

It's very frustrating not being able to find the thing you can see right in front of you.   

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