Friday, May 15, 2009

Creating An Online Comic - Arms and Ether Style

Oft, I start with a scrappy sketch done in the doldrums of a faculty meeting or while fidgeting about the Beanery in caffeine-stoked reverie. Here's the initial sketch for a recent strip.

With some strips, I'll scan the pencil sketch first, then bring it into Flash and draw over the top of it. Here's my first Arms and Ether strip. You can see the pencil sketch scans, my first "ink" lines drawn in Flash, and some Kaz and Achewood strips I brought in as references for setting up my template and comparing the visual quality of my work with theirs. Since Underworld and Achewood are popular on-line strips I figured they'd be good guides to getting my stuff "internet-ready."

Sometimes I start a strip without a preliminary drawing. Here, I just laid out the text (utilizing my award-winning Miles Inada 3000 font, of course) and made a quick sketch directly in Flash. The screen cap shows my template with pre-made panels and layers. The color layer contains the color swatches for the characters, so I can just grab 'em with the eye-dropper.

When I'm "inking", I'll take at least three passes through the strip. The first pass is to get the main idea blocked in. The second pass is to adjust proportion, composition and detail. The third pass is to clarify and simplify the lines. Here's a strip somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd pass.

After finishing up the inking, I do color passes. I'm a funky fellow, so I do this all in Flash. I like Flash because it's vector-based--a.k.a. resolution-independent. With a vector drawing, I can scale the drawings up and down to my heart's content and do big prints later on. For the most part, I make a quick outline of a color area and fill it with the paint bucket (don't do that in Photoshop--it'll be lousy). I find working in Flash much less fussy than working in Photoshop. In my first pass I go through and color in the main characters. I then make a few more layers and add in the background colors. If you look at the last panel, you'll see that I still haven't finished drawing in the students, even though I've proceeded with the coloring. Shirker.

Somewhere along the line I draw in the balloons, adjust text as needed and add any goofy marginalia. Yes, I just draw the balloons in Flash. No tricks. It looks better. I color them in using the ol' paintbucket. Here's the finished strip in all of its glory.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Illustration Gig

The folks below are looking for someone to work with them on illustrations for a picture book/comic book. If you're interested, email Jacqueline Sa at the following email address.


Through the twists and turns on the paths of lifetimes of two people who are committed to their spiritual work for humanity, they finally came together to serve a bigger cosmic cause than they could ever imagine Mystical encounters, spiritual entrainment, overcoming dark forces, journeying to the underworld and the overworld, guided by the living Earth consciousness.


Looking for a student illustrator who is interested (hopefully passionate) about environmental issues and consciousness shifts, who has a refined sensitivity with the likes of Hayao Myasaki or Satoshi Kon (examples of their movies available on and such as : Howls Moving Castle, Millennium Actress) without the expectation of their mastery or over-complex drawings. We dont want cute or dark gothic kinds of drawings.

The project is for the entire book; though we can start with a few pages on a trial basis. The work is ready immediately, and it will last this whole summer, full time. We need a serious person who is committed to focus and to take pride in delivering a quality book with us, and not abandon midway. Our budget is modest, and we are open to discuss various ways of compensation, as we fully intend to publish this book as soon as its completed, that will be of substantial contribution to humanity.

We thank you in advance for your help in finding such an ideal collaborator. Any questions or clarifications that might be needed, please contact me by email or phone. Look forward to hearing from you.

Warm Regards,

Jacqueline Sa