Trust the process

1. Script

The script is written directly on the comic pages, so you know how many pages the comic will be. This is especially important when there is a strict page limit. This also lets you know how much space you need for the dialogue bubbles, narration boxes, and sound effects.

Page 1 script
Page 1b script

2. Reference

Collect the references you need based on the script. You can do this all at once at the beginning, or you can get the references for a given page when you start working on that page. I have taken a smartphone camera to places I wanted to set comics in, such as a Shinto shrine or an airport. I have also just used a Google image search.

reference

3. Sketch

The basic composition of all the character and background elements. For scenes with sophisticated perspective, use a back layer with reduced opacity to guide your final lines.

Page 1 sketch
Page 1b sketch

4. Line

Draw the basic shapes of everything first, and add details later. Don’t spend time drawing in all the windows of a building before everything on the page has been drawn in low detail. For straight lines, I turn off the brush pressure sensitivity and use shift-click in Photoshop.

Page 1 line
Page 1b line

5. Tone

I have a tone guide on the side of the page with the five tones I use to shade everything. Click on the pictures to see the full size versions.

Page 1 final
Page 1b final

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