Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tech Talk

This project is self serving in a number of ways. Besides the obvious, I wanted to try some new techniques and technologies the "yunguns" were using. I'm still getting the hang of the stuff, so you've probably noticed a lot of ups and downs in the artwork. I'm not looking for an excuse, but just offering an explanation. If you have some cures, I'd appreciate hearing them.

I do a pencil thumbnail when I write the book, and tighten the pencils as I get ready to do pages. The pencils are scanned into Photoshop and I blow them up to 10x15, then lay in borders and text. Next, I save a non-photo blue version of the page as a JPEG and print this out on Strathmore 200 series smooth finish. I ink in the line art using PITT artist pens from Faber-Castell, and scan the finished pieces back into Photoshop, where I lay the line art behind the text, borders and word balloons. Duplicating this layer, I add color, and the finished piece (10x15 at 300ppi) is saved and a second version at 72 ppi is created for the web.

My first big stumble came today when my printer ran out of cyan without warning. I have another cartridge around her somewhere, but managed to get by without it, although this added time to the inking.

My regular problems involve distortion; I have to scan the line art in two pieces and piece them together and this is not always perfect. Additionally, the scanner seems to distort the art, and the printer distorts it the other way. As a result, I have to do a lot of eyeballing when I ink, and I still get some funky facial features because I'm usually right up against the deadline. All in all, it can be a headache, but it's a lot faster that traditional pencils, and while the art is far from perfect, I'm slowly getting better at correction for the technical flaws.

And I'm still having fun doing it.

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