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Where The Work Things Are

The Nightmare Tree, 2021.
Page 10, before speech bubbles!

Today is about digital clean-up. Since this is my first time really doing digital clean-up on my comics pages, I had to learn by experimenting.

  1. Scan all pages. Touch-up colors and contrast where needed.

  2. Bring the pages into my Photoshop layouts.

  3. Make selections of every panel from the pages, one page at a time, cut, then paste onto their own layer. Add a stroke layer around each.

  4. Arrange the panels into their proper areas of the page.

  5. Merge the panels back into one page, and delete the scan from the layout.

  6. Rinse, repeat.

So far, the pages are looking really good! I had wanted to go live today to get some character work in, but this (and studying) needed to be the priority today and I do not feel quite so confident about my Photoshopping skills to show off that process. Maybe one day, for a future book.

Also! I went out to pick up some presentation books to store my finished pages. I'm happy to report now that my final art will be fully protected and not sitting out on my shelf or on the floor for me to step on or Bean to sit on. I also bought a new drawing book to work on the upcoming character sketches, as well as some bristol board to experiment with a new story. I don't know what that new story will be, but I'm open to that adventure this year.

Now, here's some fun schedule stuff. If it takes me about a month to finish a book, let's break that down to my weekly hours workload. I set aside as much as 20 hours per week to comics.

  1. Week 1: Pre-Production. Page layouts, thumbnails, and sketches. Scripting. Character and prop designs. Cover design. Creating work pages.

  2. Week 2: Production 1. First pencils. Second pencils. Inks. Blue tones.

  3. Week 3: Production 2. Colors and effects. Scans.

  4. Week 4: Post-Production. Digital clean-up. Copy. Compile. Send to print.

This is a rough estimate of what a month will look like, based on my current work habits and patterns. The whole idea is to have a work plan in place, my solid routines. The other side to this is that I have to get on planning my work months in advance from now on. So no more flying by the seat of my pants! I need to make a routine so that I can stay on deadline. So let's say I decide I want to create a new 12-issue series. It'll take me about a year of work, with my above schedule, to get through it, but that says nothing about the series planning stages. If that's the case, then I'll need three to six months in the pre-planning phase not just coming up with new work, but expanding some of that pre-production stuff to keep myself on track. Let's take a look.

  1. Month 1: Pre-Planning. Series issue counts. Story plotting. Buying materials and supplies. Page layouts.

  2. Month 2: Planning. Character, prop, and logo designs. Page layouts. Cover designs.

  3. Month 3: Issue 1 Production (see above)

  4. Month 4: Issue 2 Production

  5. Month 5: Issue 3 Production. Issue 1 goes to print.

  6. Month 6: Issue 4 Production. Issue 1 published. Issue 2 goes to print.

As you can see, I'm trying to give myself a LOT of time to get the work together before I send things to the printer. By the time you, my friends, will see the first issue available in the shop, I should be in pre-production on the fourth issue. The whole idea is to stay on task and on a deadline so that I don't blow even a soft deadline, and stuff can be published consistently. Work is already done, and I can spend more time actually enjoying the work I'm doing, and less stressing out about what deadline I'm missing because something else got screwed up.

All right, that's my dev thing for the day. I have to get back to clean-up and studying.

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