On the outside looking in. Essentially a “No.. YOU do it” conversation. Although you can sub in your own dialogue if you’d like. My vote is Ellie stating “But he’ll smell me.”

More fan art. This time from Matt. Not only the finished version, but I got the process as well. Somehow he’s able to accomplish this is three steps. Wish I could.

ellie-upload-sketch ellie-upload-penned ellie-upload


My process, for this particular comic, was as follows:

01 230 Sketch

Now, as an artist, and like ANY artist, I don’t like showing people my mistakes. The end product should speak for itself. But as ANY normal person, I can see the entertainment value of the creative process. I like seeing other artist are like me, and jack up their own drawings a regular basis. I can still draw my characters out of proportion, or their heads too large, and so on. Just like anyone. This comic wasn’t that much of a nightmare, but it was still an arduous process for all the little details. But that, to me, is what breathes all the life into it.

These are the four panels for the strip I snapped a pic of with my smart phone, unaltered. They’re very raw and not what the end result would be. It’s just enough to get me on the computer to finish it. In panel one, Ellie didn’t need the rest of her body drawn since I could draw the curve of her waist digitally, and it would by symmetrical, thus copied and flipped horizontally.

I decided Quinn’s stance would be the same for panel 2, so there was no need to redraw it. Easy to deduce I drew panel 2 before panel one. I do this often. Ellie’s neck is very elongated in panel 2 as well. Since 80-90%% of the comic is done digitally, I redraw the characters less and less, reserving all tweaking for Photoshop, (as you’ll see in the next image.) As long as her face and body look fine, there’s no point in erasing either just to redraw them closer together for the sake of a sketch.

Ellie’s slightly too large in panel 3, so she’ll need to be shrunk’d. I wasn’t satisfied with Quinn’s expression in the final panel, so I redrew it. The flapping hands will also need some work, as well as giving a bit more space between each girl. When drawing, since I don’t traditionally draw out the panels in sequence on one large sheet of paper, it can be hard to gauge how much will fit on one tier. You’ll see all this corrected below.

02 230 Panels

I’ve gotten in the habit of doing the dialogue while also setting the panels (in this case it was more business stenciling.) Doing this at the end of the process (which I used to) can leave me painted in a corner and covering up art I’d rather not with word balloons. It’s better to know what you’re sacrificing before hand, than spend time drawing and coloring background characters or props, only to slap a bunch of text right over it.

Here, any breaks created with spacing will be easily mended since I’m drawing all the official line work right over it.

03 230 Lines
Ellie looked at bit too much like she was fanning herself in Panel 4 with her left hand, so this was reworked. Without this being, say, animated, it can be a tricky action to pull off and have the reader interpret it correctly. Ellie: “Oh I’m getting the VAPORS.”

04 230 Color

Ok, flat colors are set and we’re good to start finalizing. Another thing that once was last, but now first, is the backgrounds. In this instance I have the luxury of reusing the same background for each panel. I can see what areas need to be clear, and what areas of this background image wont matter, and can typically look like they’re filled with junk. I’m also adding some DVD’s for the foreground (so not EVERYTHING is seen behind glass.)

05 230 Shoe store

The backgrounds usually go through a tremendous amount of layers. Gradients, shading, blurs, and glows. This also includes textures I have such as ‘rust’ ‘wood grain’ ‘granite’ and so on. The floor and walls in this image have a very faint layer of rust and granite on top of them (set at 7% opacity I think.) It gives them a little meat, and separation from the smoother coloring of the
characters themselves.

06 230 Window
Those will make up the forground layers that will be repeated for each panel to give it some depth, and the idea the action is in the foreground, and these two are stuck ‘looking on.’

07 230 Layers Set

Here, the only thing left is to color the inner-lines and shade the girls (and word bubbles, but those are more or less absent this time.)

08 230 Shading

Another thing that has changed in the last 6 months or so involves the shading. Instead of just dropping a selected area’s brightness 20 points, I now use a 7% black-to-opaque gradient. While using black instead of the original color washes it out slightly, it does allow for a more fluid transition into shadow than a sharp divide like before.

09 230 Lettering and Motion Lines

A few motion lines and expletives later, we’ve got our finished product. I’ve read in the comments some of you stating you do “archive crawls” and so on. I have no idea how you do that. I can’t physically look at a comic I made over a month ago without getting nauseous. I certainly take pride in my art, and I’m proud of each post I make, but true confession time: I can’t stand how my old art looks. And old is like… 15+ posts ago. All I see are the flaws.

This comic we just walked through..? I love it! I absolutely do. But give me another month, 2 months… I’ll hate it. But don’t take that as bizarre or self loathing. It’s not intended to be. It’s the flip side of art evolution (which is a VERY jarring thing when it’s your own.) I did one for Alex before, which had some slight changes in appearance. But Ellie… wow. She has dramatically changed. And I’m saying this as someone who hasn’t read comics 1-50 in 4 years. And 51-200 since they’ve been posted. I just recently went through all of them 2 weeks ago. No lie. I couldn’t believe how different they look. How BAD they look. That doesn’t mean they’re BAD in general. They’re BAD by today’s standards. Now THAT, you can take as bizarre if you’d like. I don’t read my old strips. The only time, and I mean ONLY time I dare glance at something I did in the past is to make them a collection of strips on Deviant Art, or to sample the colors of a character I haven’t used in a while.