I moved at the start of November. Then during December I had some hefty mental health issues come to a head, COVID, and an insane period with the surgery to fix it postponed due to having COVID. I did get in to have the surgery done on an emergency basis but it took a lot of hospital and doctor visits with some pleading. Now, half way though January, I finally back to being able to work and get projects done. I missed a lot of work and I feel very blessed to still have my job. However, I don’t have time to really crank out webcomic content. My goal is to go back to every other week (like I originally intended).
I have a plan to update on how I make a comic. My process has changed since the last time I made a blog post about it, found here. I think the biggest change has been the use of a document I fondly titled “# Shit I’m tired of drawing.” I’m not being trendy with the title, symbols appear first in folders, so this file is always right on top. Currently, it holds a bunch of backgrounds that I can copy and paste into the comic and then trim to the panel rather than drawing the damn book cases over and over. Most of the backgrounds for Drexel’s house are pretty simple and made with the shape tool and a Gaussian blur. However, when you consider how many pages there are, how many panels, that’s drawing a book case a few hundred times. Unlike the character’s facial expressions, it isn’t suppose to change. Therefor, not fun to draw again and again and again.
I have a few things in there that I don’t use very often like a set of lines that will divide the page into even thirds. I found that I can save all my layers and the panels as a template. I pop that in and boom, my page is divided into thirds by the panels and I have all the layers, named and ready to go. I add the other divisions to create each panel after I have the scenes sketched out. I also use auto actions for the Gaussian blur, turning the shading down to 50% occupancy, and turning the sketch layer blue combined with lowering it’s occupancy. These are little things that don’t take long until you have to do it multiple times.
This is the sort of chapter written when someone feels down. I remember it was one of the first I wrote and I had a darn good laugh writing it. Gwen’s comment about the bees and the bees just makes me chuckle and I feel clever. The opening of chapter 3 explains Mira’s observations toward Drexel, including not getting idioms or sarcasm. It also applies to innuendos. Of course, I bring back Gwen for a little extra humor. I do use Drexel’s literal nature throughout the story, there’s plenty more humor that way. Drexel’s facial expressions through this set are my favorite. Almost every panel seems a little funny just by his reactions.
I tried a new way to sketch out how I want the comic but I found it has overall added more time to the process with the same results. I feel like having all the backgrounds premade and ready to go has been helpful.