Here's my comic page process (and the overall process I'll be following while working on
To begin, I do all planning and drawing in Sketchbook Pro. I pseudo-"thumbnail" in the sense that I lay my page out in a small pixel count/size. The layout you see here is about 10x15 inches at 72 DPI. This is so I don't get bogged down with the tendency to add details. I also make sure I have room for my dialogue balloons. If it doesn't work, I'll rework the panel and play with different poses and stuff to MAKE it work.2.
I blow the piece to 150 DPI and draw it out. I draw out my gutters. I don't really have "panels" in my pages unless it's an inset panel. I have two separate gutter widths to separate time and scene sequences so it flows with the eye better.3.
I then draw the lines out. I draw at 150 DPI for a two reasons: 1) Line control is more easier to, well, control; and 2) When it's blown up at 300 DPI, the lines don't look super perfectly sharp and clean. I'm trying to give an old-school hand-drawn anime screen-capped look in the end overall, so having perfectly crisp lines gives it too much of a "digital" look.4.
The bare-bone lines! On to colors in Photoshop!5.
I flat out the piece. The grey scenes are easy, heh. Just drop 50% grey on it. For the colored panels, I throw the necessary flats on the characters.6.
I then drop the 1st layer of shadows. This is done with the lasso tool in Photoshop, selecting the areas where I want to cel, and dropping the paint bucket on it.7.
I added a second layer of atmospheric values. You can see the shift in colors in Panel 1 to show that they're having a pretty sunny day. In the greyscale panels, you can see more gradation in shadows and highlights.8.
Third layer of atmospheric values. Added a final gradient in the bottom panel to visually separate the inset from the last panel. If I had not done this, the panels would mud together harshly, as seen in Step 7. I painted clouds on the inset panel. I also painted the background on Panel 1. I knew I wanted to blur this to show focus, so I didn't get too much into details when painting it. Just enough so you could make out the city of Ratopolis behind them.9.
And finishing touch time! Before finally embarking on the lettering journey, I add a tonal Gradient Map over the whole page to give it that film look (you can really tell this by comparing the neutral grey of the other steps to the slight browning on this one). I also add a slight film grain noise filter layer over it to give it that final touch. I then draw the sound FX over it, and then make a separate 300 DPI file for lettering!
And that's it!
Be sure to keep up with Chapter 0, I'm going to be posting it faster than the original rate I was going with. You can begin it here: