Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Drawing Comic Strips With Adobe Photoshop

Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up. - Pablo Picasso

As an IT Manager in my company, I'm more exposed to handling computer stuffs 80% of the time as opposed to managing staffs. My day to day job includes driving around Port Moresby when purchasing IT supplies, supervising the computer-related technical side of the operations, programming new and maintaining existing software, attending to various problems and occasionally finding myself doing some artwork for the marketing side.

Starting this year (2015), I've decided to hone my drawing skill, which I should have been doing years ago. Anyway, I always believe that it's never too late to start doing something you dearly miss. So that's why barely a week ago, I made up my mind to try and draw Peanuts comic strip every night if possible.

I strongly believe that by forcing myself to draw one comic strip a day, it will improve my drawing skill and my story-telling as well.

My favorite tool for drawing digital arts is Adobe Photoshop. Not that it's everybody's tool of the trade but I find it easier to use than the industry-standard MS Paint. I chose Peanuts Gang for my subject of interest because I found Schulz' artwork to be clean and simple. Here, we can see a capture of a comic strip that I was working on.

To draw this comic strip: first, I created one elongated empty square with a thick outline to serve as a panel. Then I replicated that panel to create 3 more panels to complete a 4-panel comic strip. Then I added a new layer on top of them and set the brush size down to size 5 with 20% opacity. That layer would serve as my pencil layer in which I could sketch my idea. (See the gray color sketch).

After completing my sketch, I would add a new layer on top and set the brush opacity to 100%.  That would serve as my ink layer to trace over or correct disproportions in the pencil layer. Using the brush tool, I'd draw over my sketched lines or made some changes.

The thing I love about drawing in Adobe Photoshop is that I can zoom into the level that is comfortable for me draw. Another thing is that I can just copy a rough sketch from one panel to another and drag the corners to make it bigger or smaller. Then I can erase some parts of the pencil sketch and draw changes to depict actions.

Coloring the finished drawing is easy too.  Just add a new layer underneath the ink layer and color away with a brush tool. Change the brush size into a bigger size to color the subject and erase anything that goes over the lines later with an eraser tool. It's easier that way.

Comic strips in newspapers have no colors except for Sunday issue. I can leave my drawing without color to get that newspaper comic strip feeling. 

My stories vary from what I currently feel when I'm drawing. Such as in the case of these two episodes.

Of which real life situations are depicted in a manner that it is safe to make fun with.

Or I can play a bit with stories from my own childhood experience. I've been posting my artworks in my other blog and I would be honored if you visit it. Here's my other blog: Villar's World

Here's the tool that I use for drawing. It's the Hanvon ArtMaster 0806 which you can connect to your computer via the USB port. If you don't have this kind of art pad yet, you can use Adobe Photoshop's pen tool to ink over a scanned pencil sketch which you drew on paper. Although it's a process that requires more time to master than drawing with an art pad, it's more likely to give you crisp lines than using the brush tool alone.
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