Just got my lovely copies of Absolute Death, the definitive collection of all things absolutely the Endless.
I wasn’t sure I would have anything in it. DC contacted me some months ago about possibly including my commission sketches and prelims. DC chose not to use commissions from any creators (click the SANDMAN tab below to see some of the unpublished works.) They reprinted the “Facade” story I penciled for Sandman 20, and also the entirety of The Death Gallery.
There are a couple of stories in there I have never seen. Now I have been outed as a Sandman artist who is not a completist.
While doing the editorial rounds last week, I was surprised to hear a number of editors singing the praises of The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics:
Several admitted there were things covered here they did not know. Some of those editors were also artists. There were tips about scanning that are very important, and I don’t recall seeing this info covered anywhere else.
I have ordered a copy for myself.
While I would prefer to continue to do art by hand, that handwriting is on the wall. Everything is going digital. No matter what your preference, here’s a set of tools we all need in our toolbox.
Editors and I discussed the sad truth that artists who don’t have a wad of dough for top quality computer equipment, skills and software are going to have a hard time competing over the next few years. Back in the day, $10 of paper, pens and ink was all it took to be a cartoonist.
My digital set-up is worth $20,000, and I find I depend on it more and more, if for nothing else than for delivery of work in the format my clients require. So even if I’d rather do my work by hand, it’s what my clients prefer that counts.
Alas, if you are not using the later Photoshop software, the cd extras that come with this book won’t work for you. Some of the beauties there include Photoshop perspective tools. Even though I don’t do any of my inking digitally now, I produce digital perspective grids and print them out for use on my lightbox. Saves HOURS of time. There is no greater drawing bore than all those pesky orthogonal lines. I will not weep if I never have to doodle another.
Another book you must get is Hi-Fi Color for Comics: Digital Techniques for Professional Results.
There’s lots of free info about coloring comics online, but the time you will spend rolling around the internet trying to compile it will be saved by buying this book instead. With a few minor exceptions, this book gives you the info you will need to get results fast. The authors also have a website with extra tips and tricks. There are a couple of minor glitches in the book – little things the authors gloss over – but there’s a message board on their website where readers can ask questions, and trade info, and look for work.
I met the authors a couple of years back and was very impressed by their depth of knowledge. Of course, at the time I knew so little about digital art I could barely use the paint bucket feature. Now I create finished paintings digitally.
However, I have limited knowledge of the special features of digital coloring, and still do everything the hard way. So, I am always excited to find resources that don’t assume the artist knows everything when they sit down to use the machine. Most of the digital classes I have taken don’t teach the comic book process, so I have spent a lot of time learning things I never use. Not one of my digital art teachers had a clue how to handle digital comic book art.
One of my other problems was running into one education source after another that assumed the newbie already knew how to properly scan and prepare the art, and then assumed one already knew how to make layers for line art color. It’s ridiculous; nearly all how-to books out there gloss right over these basics. I spent more time just trying to figure out how to make a freaking layer than I did completing my first digital painting.
Worse still is many of the books are obsolete within a year of publication. Hi-Fi Color for Comics is still timely, and the authors will have a follow up volume early next year. A dvd tutorial is available here. And another is available here.
Very highly recommended.