You can listen to a recent interview I did for NonCanonical, Australia’s most popular comic book podcast. It’s a pretty in-depth, yet casual interview that goes for about 40 minutes. The first segment is a comic book roundup by the NonCanonical boys – my interview is the second part of the show. (Warning: some mature language)
Here’s a quick look at my comic creation process. For this example, I’m using a panel from my recent Marc Maron The Social Media Generation comic. The panel calls for one man to walk into a toilet cubicle only to find it’s occupied with a drug addict who’s getting high.
Once I have the idea for a comic I will usually lay out all the panels as ‘thumbnails’ in a notepad. As you can see, it’s extremely rough and barely legible.
From there, I use the computer to layout all the panels and print it out on A4 paper. I quickly sketch in what’s going on in the panels. Still very rough.
Ok, I know what’s going on in the panel. If needed, I find reference photos before I start a more polished drawing. I usually use Google Images or a stock photo website such as Getty Images. But since this was a very specific shot, I needed to take the photos myself so I got my wife to take some pics of yours truly in the required poses.
Using the photos as reference, I do a very loose drawing.
I scan in that loose drawing into Photoshop, add the perspective lines, enlarge it and then print it out in very light blue ink onto A3 board that I use for the final artwork.
Now that I have that light blue rough drawing as a guide, I do a much tighter drawing over the top.
Inks – I use mainly Pigma Micron pens and various brush pens. All the hard work (idea, story, pacing, pencils) is done and I consider inking to be the fun and relaxing part. You’ll notice I changed the addict’s right arm to have it injecting the needle instead of hanging down by his side.
Colouring – The inks are scanned and I use Photoshop to do the colouring. Flat colour is added – since this is mainly a black and white comic it makes things a bit easier to figure out.
Special effects and finishing touches are added such as the halftone dots, phone glow and texture. It’s done!
For all you budding cartoonists out there, I plan to write a much more detailed account of exactly HOW I add colours, special effects, what resolution my document is and all the other nitty gritty details in the future. I’ve been saying that for over a year … I’ll get around to it one day!
PS: I’m hard at work on the new comic, look for it next week.
It might have taken me 18 months, but I can finally announce that an original Zen Pencils T-shirt is available to buy! This design is the first in a planned series of limited-edition tees I’m offering through Teespring. What is Teespring, I hear you ask? Well, it takes the Kickstarter/crowdfunding model and applies them to T-shirts. I launch a campaign with a specific design, set a sale goal (in this case, 50 tees) and if that goal is met the campaign is successful and the tee gets produced and shipped. If you order a T-shirt and the goal is NOT met, then you won’t be charged. Pretty sweet, right?
The T-shirt is only $14.99 US plus postage (here are the shipping rates), it’s available in both male and female cuts and in a variety of sizes. Teespring uses a commercial-grade silkscreen method printed on 100% cotton tees and they ship over 100,000 tees a month.
The quote I’ve used is a line from the Terence McKenna Nature Loves Courage comic and was inspired by the T-shirt the girl character is wearing in the story. I’ve already got some designs in mind for future tees, so expect to see more if this campaign is successful.
The campaign is live for 14 days. After that, the t-shirt will not be available again. So what are you waiting for? You’ve only got two weeks to secure your one-way ticket to instant popularity!
UPDATE: The goal of selling 50 tees was reached in less than 10 hours thanks to my email subscribers That means you can now purchase with the knowledge that the shirt is definitely getting produced. Thanks so much to those who bought one.
Meet Mark Elliot, a 24 year-old from San Diego, California, who’s dream of being a comic book writer got a big boost at this year’s Comic-Con.
Zen Pencils came into my life at a time I needed it the most. Not that I was in a bad state in my life, thankfully that was all behind me. I was now in a confused, vulnerable state, thinking what would happen next. I was in the process of rebuilding myself to become a stronger person. I kept coming across these humble little comic strips online that carried the most profound messages and emotional impact. Eventually I found the source – Zen Pencils! The messages of the comics, in particular Ira Glass’s Advice for beginners, Neil Gaiman’s Make good art and Helen Keller’s When one door closes all helped me grow and inspire me to move forward into change. read more