Making Comics: Basic Production Part One by John White

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John White has blogged a bit about the basic production of his webcomics. Originally posted on the Between Wars website, we are reposting this piece with his permission.

Creating: ‘As Seen on TV’

The basic production process of my comic strips.

The drawing and layout and lettering process starts with sketches. As you can see, after I sketched it, I had a go at a some bits in ink as a sort of dry-run. This is rare. Now take a look at the next few stages of production. I’ll do Blog posts in the future detailing each stage as separate articles.

Rough Sketch

Above: Pencil sketching the concept and layout on A4 copy-paper

Above: Pencil sketching the concept and layout on A4 copy-paper

Full-size pencils and inks

Full-size pencils and inks

Full-size pencils and inks

Scan, Clean-up & Isolate Black Ink

Above: Scanned, with blue-pencil removed in Photoshop. Then the black ink is made pure black and cleaned up and completely isolated on a transparent layer

Above: Scanned, with blue-pencil removed in Photoshop. Then the black ink is made pure black and cleaned up and completely isolated on a transparent layer

Lettering and Framing

Above: At this stage, the layered Photoshop PSD file is placed into InDesign for framing and lettering. I like to do this before getting too far along with the artwork. I start with a previous strip's file and make the necessary changes.

Above: At this stage, the layered Photoshop PSD file is placed into InDesign for framing and lettering. I like to do this before getting too far along with the artwork. I start with a previous strip’s file and make the necessary changes.

‘Flatting’

Above: Back into Photoshop to work on 'flatting' the blocks of colour. Instead of using a polygonal selection/lasso tool, I usually just scribble with a non-anti-aliased pencil tool. Usually, flatting is done in garish colours for total separation of the blocks, but I like to start thinking about the final colour ASAP.

Above: Back into Photoshop to work on ‘flatting’ the blocks of colour. Instead of using a polygonal selection/lasso tool, I usually just scribble with a non-anti-aliased pencil tool. Usually, flatting is done in garish colours for total separation of the blocks, but I like to start thinking about the final colour ASAP.

The Finished Page!

Above: Using the flatted blocks of colour to make selections, I do the more refined colouring and tonal work on lots of separate layers.

Above: Using the flatted blocks of colour to make selections, I do the more refined colouring and tonal work on lots of separate layers.

You can read the final comic here.

Next: John White gives some more basic production details. This time on his Peacekeeper story