So, you might be asking – why digital? What makes digital tools better than their traditional counterparts? In a word: nothing. Digital tools are not inherently better (or worse) than traditonal tools, they’re just another set of tools that can be used to create art, and I’ll be discussing a set of methods that work for me.
Why Photoshop? There are many other illustration, photoediting and graphic programs available (Illustrator, MangaStudio, Corel Painter to name a few). My choice to work in Photoshop (PS) is the product of two factors: familiarity and versatility. I’d been using PS long before deciding to draw comics digitally, so it seemed a natural place to go. Additionally, PS is an extremely powerful and versatile application, and though not specifically designed for illustration, many of its tools are a perfect match for making comics, or at least can be bent to the purpose.
PS’s versatility is easily seen by how widely and diversely it can be, and already is, used by comics artists. Perhaps most commonly, PS is used during the scanning and cleanup stage, after a page has been penciled and/or inked by hand. There are also artists who do their thumbnails/roughs (Joe Quesada), layouts/pencils (Mitch Breitweiser, Micheal Lark to some degree) or inks (a whole buncha people) digitally, in PS or a similar program. Don’t think that just because digital tools such as PS can be used to create art means that you have to use those digital tools exclusively. On the other hand, there are those, like myself, who have chosen to implement a fully (or nearly fully) digital workflow (Freddie Williams, Brian Bolland).
(note: there are also a growing number of artists who could be characterized as creating digitally”painted” comic art – Frazer Irving, Stjepan Sejic, for example. I choose to limit myself to creating black-and-white lineart, the digital equivalent of pencils and inks, and so this series will understandably not include much, if any, discussion of creating color art – I simply don’t have the knowledge or expertise to discuss this competantly. If color art is something you’re interested in, there are a number of fantastic resources available in print and online. That said, in principle, most of what I will talk about should be applicable whether you’re drawing in color or b&w.)
As you can probably tell from how many different applications PS is used for, there really isn’t any one “right” way. PS is just a tool (or rather, a set of tools). They way I choose to implement those tools works well for me, and may work for you (or you may already have a better method you use).
The purpose of this tutorial series is simply to lay out the processes and tricks I use. My hope is that artists will find some useful information that helps make drawing digitally more fun, efficient and fulfulling. And just as I’ve developed my own processes from what I’ve found elsewhere, I hope that you all will take these methods and find clever new and more efficient ways of making art. And hopefully you’ll share, too.
This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.