Darth Paradox (darthparadox) wrote,
Darth Paradox

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Ramblings about art.

So, I put a new Scatterplot up. The inked got kinda rushed toward the end, so I decided to shade everything and hope that that makes it look at least a little better.

Ultimately, I figure it sorta worked... and hopefully distracted people from some of the crappy inking in this strip.

Total time for this comic: 2-2.5 hours, I think. And that was with three out of the seven panels being a single drawing, copied.

I've been curious about how people like Howard Tayler manage to complete a comic strip - inked, in color, etc - in less than an hour. I've found that there are probably two main factors:

1) I can't draw very fast. This is because, I think, I have a tendency to lay the figure out nearly completely in blue pencil before I ink it. This is time-consuming. My art style, though, is such that if I get some of the proportions wrong, it just looks bad. I'm not going to link to any of them, because I'm kind of ashamed, but there are comics in Scatterplot's archive where I've just got the proportional aesthetic completely wrong, and as a result, it looks like crap. This is all my fault, for not having a simpler, easier-to-execute drawing style. (I'm reminded of one of Matt Groening's "Life In Hell" comics - a "How To Draw Binky" comic, I think - where the recommended method went something like "Create a simple character design and spend an entire childhood doodling it excessively". The comic people I drew had round heads and rectangular anatomies until I was mostly done with high school, and when I reinvented my style with a combination of influences - mainly a simplified anime style with some elements of Josh Phillips' Avalon style - I never took the time to simplify it and make it easier to draw.

2) Lack of technical proficiency, and the hardware to back it up. Though I've somewhat streamlined the process by which I take a Scatterplot comic from ink on paper to pixels on a web page, there are still places where it gets bogged down. Most notably in trying to color/shade things, and a little in the word-bubble generation as well (though overall, I'm pretty happy with that part). I just don't have a decent way to color things in at the moment. (Flood-fill tends to work okay, with some minor tweaking, when all else fails.) I'd like to do more with it, though. This is complicated by the fact that my computer - being as it is over four years old - doesn't really have the power to do color on my comics, at the size at which I like to work (being a 8.5x11 page at 300 dpi, for 2550x3300 pixels, with five layers). Soon as I get a new computer, I'll probably get the color going again... (Incidentally, there was a time when I'd do the comic in a sort of "keyed greyscale", which, upon flattening the comic to a single layer, I'd use as a replacement index to go back and change all the greys to colors. It was a dubious method, with only flat colors (no gradients, soft shading, etc) possible unless I wanted to add them in afterwards. I prefer working in greyscale if I have to do that. Again, new computer eventually... (Probably next summer - late July or early August, or in other words "whenever we're finally moved into a permanent apartment in Seattle".)

A third quasi-factor is the actual quantity of art I do for the comic. Part of me wants to say "I take longer because I have more panels and more stuff!" And the other part says "Shut up, you copy and paste large parts of it anyway." So eh.

Anyway. On the topic of how much time the comic requires, school's about to start seriously kicking my ass, and will do so until about the 14th of December or so. So really, I don't expect to be able to get more than one comic done in that time - though I may start drawing in my Game Design lectures again, because those are pretty often ignorable at this point, due to me not going into the game industry and the lectures not having anything to do with the final project or the non-existent exam.

In conclusion, read Scatterplot, and tell all your friends to do so as well.

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