So you have new software….now what?


If there is anything in this world that is a pain in the ass; it has to be learning how to do something. There’s a reason we learn, obviously, and I’m not complaining about the institution of learning, rather the process of it.

Drawing has come naturally to me, which is awesome, and has been a fun ride from where I started out of “how-to” books, mastered the willowy women of “Sailor Moon”, and moved myself on to the chibis in the back of the Shinkidosenki Gundam Wing manga novels. From there came Dungeons and Dragons manuals. My mother would buy me them just so I could draw.

Got really good at dragons, really quick. Never played though.  There was a time I was drawing Angel Sanctuary as well, and I believe I still have one of my artists books of another manga artist somewhere gathering dust in a storage unit in Ohio.

Yes. I have moved around that much. Comes with the “military brat” territory. I also joined the Navy, but that’s unimportant.

Back on topic.

Long story short; I’ve been drawing since I was five years old.

Whole depression thing…you don’t wanna know about that.

So, given the fact I’ve been drawing since, you know, I was knee high to a duck, you’d figure Photoshop would be easy. Add in the fact that I actually sat and taught Photoshop during my senior year of high school (because my teacher was the kind of person that took advantage of learned people that way) it would be easy enough for me to go “oh, Photoshop? Pff. Easy!”

Right. Not so much.

Funny thing about skills like that? If you don’t practice them, you forget them. Not to mention trying to make something look like something else?

Forget about it.

Trying to make a comic book is not easy. In fact, I’m beginning to understand why there are teams of people who do this kind of thing. It’s a lot of hard [bleeping] work. Not to mention, it takes over really quickly. 

You gotta understand, when you’re drawing out a comic you have to take into account a lot:

1. What the main character is doing

2. Where the main character is

                a. is the main character in a crowded location?

                b. is the landmark well known? (meaning are people going to chew me out if I get it wrong?)

                c. what is the weather like

 3. How the main character is supposed to look (emotion) as far as the storyboard/script goes

4. Perspective

The fourth one is really important. Objects, whether they’re 2D or not, have weight to them; meaning that, if you see an apple on a piece of paper it not only has to look like an apple but the eye has to be tricked into remembering what an apple feels like in the hand. This is where color, contrast, and lighting comes into play. All of these things give the apple the look and feel of the fruit.

Perspective comes into a comic just like it does in a movie. The artist has to think just like a camera man or a director.

“How do I want this shot to look?”

“Where do I want my main characters in relation to what’s around them?”

“How are these buildings going to look in this shot?”

In a comic you have to include all of it. YOU are cameraman and director. Everything has to remain in sequence. If it isn’t, then the eye gets confused and people get angry, and the worst case scenario: you lose readers.

Photoshop is supposed to help with the coloring and whatnot. The tools in the program are supposed to be awesome and do a lot to cut down on the coloring time. Provided, you know, you actually know how to use them, and can navigate through layer and vector masking. My problem with Photoshop is; it’s been over five years since I’ve used the software. A lot has changed, and I find myself liking Corel better. But again, I’m only using Corel Painter 4: Essentials, which is severely lacking in what I need; hence the purchase of Photoshop and my subsequent headache.

 Enter in my OCD.

Everything (and I literally mean everything) has to be P-E-R-F-E-C-T.

Not kidding.

I will literally sit on other webcomic websites and look and tear apart and wonder to myself “how did they do that?” and then I go “how can I do it better?”

The other thought running through my head?

“How can I make this look real?”

As if a comic has to look real! There are Western comics that are very stylized (X-Men, Spawn, Iron Man), some which look like paintings (Pheonix Requiem, Dreamless), and still others that look like they crawled out of  a sketchbook. So why do you obssess, you ask?

Part of it, is gene inheritence from my father. He obssesses, therefore I obssess. The other part is a critical eye. That just comes with the nature of the artist. I hate my work.  Even when I like it, I hate it. 

‘Nuff said.

The biggest part, however, is a desperate fear of rejection. Not criticism, that I can take. Rejection is something else. I don’t keep any of my art like I don’t keep my stories (of which I have Spacey to thank for being my long suffering digital librarian) because I don’t want to suffer the ultimate rejection.

But you’re writing a book-?

Yeah. Dont’ remind me, I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.  

So, what does new software mean?

Well, it means that the comic can move forward. It also means that I have a lot of tutorials to look up so I can get it right. You have to remember, I’m not just doing the comic for me. There’s someone else (Shiri) that’s dependent upon this thing. It’s success will mean a whole new world of possibilities open up to us both. Failure…

…well there is no option for failure is there?

Like I’ve learned how to expand my writing, I gotta learn how to draw in a whole new medium.

For the success of Hathor’s Cafe, Interlude, and a few others in the works, I gotta learn and learn quickly.

Until next time!