Drawing Board: Comics Are Dead: Animation

I drew the initial sketch for this comic a few months ago. This comic was based on a real experience (with names and faces changed a bit to protect the guilty). The original sketch was very close to the final product.

Next was trying to figure out how the figures should look. The figure looking down (me) has a foreshortened face. And it's a particularly difficult position to self-pose for, because you can't see yourself!

Between drawing and inking, I decided to cut out some of the lower portion of the drawing. The extra legroom and the underside of the desk didn't really add anything.

Since this was a "simple" comic, I decided to go ahead and color it. Unfortunately, along the way, my computer died, and I spent lots of time trying to make my old version of Photoshop work with my new computer and the wonderful Windows 7.

PhotoShop lets you create artwork on various layers. You can think of layers like the layers in a sandwich: bread, meat, bread. You can work on one layer while leaving the others untouched.

I scanned the black and white image and saved it as the Bottom layer.  Then I selected just the black areas and copy-and-pasted them onto another layer called Top Line. I only copied the black areas because I wanted everything below this layer to show through the white "holes." These layers are my two slices of bread.

Next I made a "meat" layer called Color Under which tells me that anything I put on this layer will fall "under" the Top Line layer. So if I accidentally colored over a line, it wouldn't matter, because the black lines in Top Line always sit on top.

Next I colored in my figures with some basic colors.

Once the basic colors were in place, I wanted to add some shadows and highlights. I could have made these changes on the same layer, but if I didn't like my shadows, I would have had to go through a lot of work to undo them. Instead, I created a new layer called Shadows & Highlights, and I put it above Color Under. Now I could add shadows without changing anything I've already done. And if I didn't like my shadows, I could remove them. I could even delete the layer if I really hated them!

For the background I created yet another layer, called Back. I put it under the Color Under layer. It was much easier to draw a square and fill it with green than it was to paint around all the detail. The green shows through all the white holes. Of course, those white holes included areas like eyes and teeth! I solved the green teeth issue by erasing the green in those areas. And I could be a bit sloppy about erasing, because this layer is under the other ones.

I skipped a lot of technical steps, but you can see that the image is essentially complete. Even a simple cartoon takes a lot of work.

I'm not real pleased with the color choices. That's still a difficult area for me. I'll try to discuss choosing colors next time.