Behind the Scenes


A Place to Alight, Page 15

I’ve been asked to provide a little behind-the-scenes action on how I go about making a page of “The Night Surfers,” so here it is!

First off, I write a script of the whole issue, to make sure the pacing of the plot works before I start committing to drawing anything.  After that’s done, I start to plot out how much of the script should be on each page of the comic.  Here’s the section that was decided to be “page 15.”

With the portion of the script decided on, I sketch out the panels (sometimes in pencil, to be scanned in later, and sometimes in Photoshop). I put in some temporary text as well to make sure all the dialogue and sound effects (when applicable) can fit into the panel sizes I’ve picked out.

With the sketch figured out and finalized, it’s time for inking! I always do it on a separate Photoshop layer to preserve the sketch for whatever reason.

Next come the flat tones. When doing the black & white pages, this helps me figure out which combination of grey tones to use so I don’t use too much of the same grey.

Once the flats are in, it’s time to fully-develop the page! I add cel-style shading for the characters, and more natural media shading for the background elements. Once that’s done, I add “special effects” like speed/action lines and any glows.

Once the drawing part of the page is finished, I drop the file into Illustrator to add the text, because it offers more control over balloon shape.

View the finished page here!

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  • Tashigi

    Awesome sauce! Thanks for this. ^_^ I have some follow-up questions!

    Are you using a normal tablet or something like a Cintiq? If you have experience with both, which do you find better?
    What file settings do you use for a page when you’re working in Photoshop–dimensions, resolution, RGB/CMYK (Not sure if that matters for black/white pages), etc.? Perhaps you’re setting it up in case you decide to print it in the future?

    • thenightsurfers

      I’m using an Intuos 3 (although I would love a Cintiq). I haven’t tried a Cintiq, but I imagine it would help me with some of the pesky, long curved lines that go through many an “undo” for me, haha.

      For a basic NS page, I work in 11″x15.5″ at 300dpi. I like to give myself some leeway for making high-res wallpapers or posters or something in the future. I usually work in RGB since I focus on web stuff, but I do preview in CMYK once in a while to make sure that everything looks okay in that mode as well.

      Hope that helps!