How to create a comic page

09. Add some detail to the scene

A little detail can go a long way; don't overdo it! [click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image]

Still using the Ink Pencil brush (I know, I know) I start adding selective line weight and shadow to the detail elements. Aim to be suggestive with your lines rather than over-rendering things, and avoid filling the page with too much detail. Remember that the absence of something can be just as effective as its inclusion.

10. Make corrections

If you're not entirely happy with something, refine it before it's too late [click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image]

After looking over the page, I decide I'm not happy with Captain John's head. I sketch out a replacement on a new layer and then refine the expression. References may be useful at this stage, so consider using a mirror or taking a photo with your phone to help capture the look you want.

11. Take care with minor elements

Define your smaller characters with silhouettes and strong shadow [click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image]

As with the debris elements in step 09, I'm careful not to over-render the minor figures on the page. In particular, I watch my line weight as the scene recedes into the background. Using silhouettes and strong shadow can help define smaller characters, too. However, it's a bit of a balancing act – smaller characters might get lost in amongst background elements if they're drawn too subtly.

12. Make the anatomy look natural

Try to make your characters look dynamic and natural [click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image]

I'm also not happy with Captain John's legs: they came across as a bit odd in my initial layout, so I recreate them in a more balanced stance. Always aim to make your characters look dynamic and natural, rather that stiff. I also alter the stance of the smaller characters so that they better suit the background's perspective.

13. Bring in texture elements

Clip Studio Paint's texture brushes help give a page density [click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image]

Using Clip Studio Paint's powerful texture and crosshatching brushes, I add smoke and air debris elements to give greater density to the page. I also add freehand crosshatching to introduce a more organic and traditional feel to the scene. Finally, I introduce some more vegetation detail to the background, and bring in a couple of light sources in panel one.

14. Nearly done…

Make some final refinements before outputting your finished page [click the icon in the top right to enlarge the image]

With the page almost finished I refine Captain John's face on the bottom panel and add some more freehand crosshatching in the background. I then move on to the top right panel and draw the energy waves. Once I'm happy with the page I output it as a greyscale TIF at 500dpi, then collapse back in my chair. Phew! 

This article originally appeared in ImagineFX issue 149; buy it here!

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