Have you ever wondered just how this comic gets done? Are you wondering what the artist is doing all week? In this section of the website, I will go through the process it takes to create a single page of Dedos.

Step I - Rough Layout [click here for a pic]

This is a step I try to do all the time, but that doesn't necessarily make it the case. It is the only step not done directly on the computer. I take my sketch pad (8 1/2" x 12"), or loose sheets of paper if I'm not at home, and start to flesh out the new Dedos page. In this step, I get to play with the layout and how I want things to look, without having to worry too much about how it will turn out in the end. I don't own a scanner, so forgive the quality of the photo.

Step II - Sketching [click here for a pic]

I boot up my computer (if it's not already turned on) and load up Painter 6. I open a white 800 x 1000 pixel canvas. If I have the rough layout done, I'll start redrawing it all again. This gives me time to rethink the layout as I put it down again, much like rewriting a term paper (only, fun). I typically only use the HB Pencil tool and black, allowing for the tones to come across with the pressure sensitivity of my Calcomp 12" x 12" Drawing Slate II.When I'm reasonably happy with how I want the page to look (elements range from just a gesture to a fully detailed countenance, there really isn't too much consistency in this phase of the comic), I'll start finishing the art.

Step III - Finishing [click here for a pic]

In the end, a sketch might look nice, but it's still a sketch. Finishing it will strengthen my lines, add contrast, and fully define any elements of the page not fully described by the sketch. If I'm not using color for the page, I will also start shading and using more gray tones. In addition to the HB Pencil, I use the Scratchboard Tool for most of my lines and the Smooth Ink Pen for extra strong lines or large areas of black. Shaded areas will usually be done with the HB Pencil, and maybe an undercoat of water color (Simple or Broad Water) as well. I try to do all of the inking on a separate layer than the pencils, so my clean-up is a snap (make the pencil layer invisible).

Step IV - Words and Stuff

Once the drawing is complete, it's time to add words! Back in the rough layout, I will also lay out the word balloons and throw in some (very preliminary) text. All the word balloons are in a single, transparent layer. Draw the balloon, fill with white. I then choose my words carefully, and place them in a 16 pixel Comic Sans MS font. If this is a black & white page, I'm done, and now upload it to my server.

Step V - Color [click here for the final result]

Sometimes, Dedos will be in color. This is the easiest step: find someone willing to do it for you! ;) But seriously, folks... The color I have done is mainly water colors (still done in Painter, mind you), and pencils/inks (very little brushwork, but I have a feeling I will be using more of it soon). Again, these are in their own layer, so you dont mess up the original lines. I take the ink layer and place it on top of the new layer, with a multiply layer method, so the white is transparent. Now I can color underneath the lines without wondering how it will look when I'm done.

And that, gentle readers, is the front and back of it. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about this, or anything else that's on your mind.


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