View Full Version : Getting your workstation and workflow...

06-17-2014, 02:11 AM

I asked a question in the Tips and Tricks topic regarding the linework of a particular artist, and the answers I got were great, but they were varied. It reminded me that there are so many ways to go about achieving a particular effect.

So, on a grander scale, I'd like to enquire about everyone's workstations and what you guys use. Namely - how long has it taken you to find your preferred method, tools, work order, etc.? Do you value digital methods of linework and colouring over more traditional? If you've found your comfort in comic production (or whatever area you specialise in), do you still like to experiment to see varied results? I'm just very interested in the diversity of this artform.


06-17-2014, 03:41 PM
Good question Renjo, Im sure you will get some interesting responses here.

I see value in both digital and traditionally drawn comics. I mean, in the end they both are printed on paper or downloaded on tablets all the same way. Theyre just created differently.

The main thing that convinced me to go digital was convenience. Specifically, being able to draw and color on separate layers and non-destructively editing the art as much you like. No more rips, spills, smudges, running out of supplies or wearing holes through paper from erasing. Also being able to transform instead of redrawing some parts and having specific tools to draw the panels and speech bubbles has really saved me time.

06-17-2014, 04:21 PM
A bit crude. But my artist and I use 10 by 8 copy paper. Scan in the inked pages then color and letter using Adobe creative suite. I am thinking of getting a tablet to improve line density. because scanned lines are often flat with no depth. Tho I readily admit it may be how I am inking the work before scanning.

06-17-2014, 06:01 PM
I'm 100% traditional until I can afford a good printer and a tablet, at which point I'll pencil digitally but ink and color traditionally.

I'm just starting to pull my workstation together. I've got all of the traditional tools I need and most of the ones I want. Now I just focus on improvement.

Dr Mike 2000
06-18-2014, 03:49 AM
Its taken me a while. About ten years ago, I settled into a method of doing comics style art of traditional pencils, inked with Pilot V7 or equivalent pen, and then scan it in and colour in Photoshop. I've never been any good with paint, and digital was an absolute blessing here. I'd do the colouring with a mouse, and got pretty good at it.

This whole process was slow, and I never got very far with making long form comics with it.

Two and a half years ago I got a Motion LE 1700 tablet PC off EBay. They're now around $100 by the way. Drawing straight to the screen with a stylus rocks, although the PCs too slow to do decent cross hatching. I don't mind too much, since my art's very clear line. I developed one style of art using digital pencils and inks with some rendering to the colouring, and have settled on a second one now, using purely flat colouring. I've been using this for two years now for pretty much everything I do, and love it.

I still experiment with other media a bit. I've used Copics markers fairly unsuccessfully. I've had better results with digital pencils printed out and then inked over and scanned back in. And sometimes I pencil in the real world and then digitally ink. I'm planning to go a bit further with digital effects and finishing methods next year. I pick a focus each year - 2013 was backgrounds and perspective, this year's life drawing and faces. Next year will be breaking out of the comfort zone of my "psychedelic" finishing style and trying other stuff.

Oh yeah, and one year ago I built myself a basic angled drawing board instead of the beanbag/lap method of drawing. My neck and back haven't stopped thanking me :)

08-11-2014, 03:18 PM
I still do the drawing & inks traditionally. My method's really old school in the fact that I usually start with the layouts on small templates- it allows me to get the general gist of the page...I dont do tight layouts, just try to capture the general flow of the panels and the overall page. I then blow it up to actual board size, and use non-photo lead(and a lightbox) to draw out the page. I then come back and finish off the page with inks. In the past I was actually pasting lettering and stuff to the actual pages; now I've started trying to work with Illustrator and digital lettering. Color is actually becoming a joy for me, as I can now see my characters the way I envisioned them.

My set upis still not complete- I have a computer desk, and a drawing desk...I just need to put them in the same area together.

08-14-2014, 10:41 PM
Hand: On the floor with a lap desk with a pen groove for working, coffee-table for other pens and gray broad-tip markers. This works very well for me, the lap-desk has a kind of bean-bag on the back which makes it comfortable and easily adjustable.

Digital: I prefer to work directly in digital, partly because it's easy to leave off work and pick it up again, partly because I want to be able to re-use and re-size artwork easily, and because I want the text typed so that (one day!) it will be searchable for readers. I have a simple lightbox, but I only used it consistently when I first started working in digital, and wanted to build up a "library" of basic stuff pulled from old artwork. I don't like tracing, because it's hard (for me, anyway) not to end up with stiff linework.

I use a wide screen so that I can see a full spread at once, and installed an NVIDIA graphic processor on my computer. I use a cordless keyboard so that I can put it on my lap when I want to type and use my tablet (Wacom Intuos Pro medium) at the same time. As you can see, I don't have much space. I also have a CanoScan LiDe 210 scanner that has been a reliable workhorse.

Although for now I'd recommend Krita to Windows users, I started out using MyPaint, and found it a really good way to get used to digital tools while getting a pencil/pen/wash look. It's also fast, even if you don't have a good graphic processor. I'm using Clip Studio now, because color is not a big issue for me, and I DO want to work on text and images together, but I'm still learning.

Block out story
Decide main focus for each spread
Draft dialog.
Meet with anybody else involved in project, discuss story and character priorities.
Rough in characters, insert text.
Draw or collate characters from my own pre-sets.
Meet with others involved, focusing on how each spread works, simplify, finalize panel sizes etc.
Finalize objects and minor characters in each frame, insert or draw backgrounds.

...change my mind and do it all again!