My Office (It’s the inside of a closet)

This is the page that I wish all Webcomic sites had.  The most difficult obstacle I encountered while starting my comic was “How is it done?”.   I would get discouraged when I would scan my picture in my computer and it looked like an old computer game graphic.  Or recently when I first started using Photoshop and my lines looked like spider veins.  And don’t get me started on the frustration of figuring out how to get a domain name on the internet!  So I would like to share how “I” create my comic.  This is not a “How to” section.  Just a “How I do” section.

First, I have to say that “Casually Employed” is 100% digital.  That means no papers were harmed in the creation of the comic.  Transforming your hand drawn artwork into a digital image is an extremely important step.  But with my lack of desk space for paper, I decided to go completely digital.

My computer was an IBM work laptop (see picture) now I use a Dell XPS Laptop.

I draw using a Wacom Bamboo tablet.  Model: CTH-460

Bamboo Tablet

My first drawing program was Photoshop Elements 7. (It came free with the Bamboo tablet) before switching to Manga Studio 4 EX.

The font in my comic is a custom font I created using “High-Logic Font Creator”.

I created standard templates for all my comics.  The stats are…

Width: 11 inches (2500 pixels)

Height: 3.5 inches (1432 pixels)

Resolution: (was) 400 (now) 600 pixels/inch.

Color Mode: RGB Color.

First, I paste the dialogue (originally written in Microsoft Word) into the comic panels.

I sketch my comic until I’m satisfied with the overall look and flow.

From there I lower the opacity from 100% to 20%.  This lightens the comic making it easier to “Ink” (trace).  Then I create a new layer and redraw over my lines. That is how I clean up my jagged lines.  Manga Studio has been great for that.  This remains my most challenging obstacle since I have impressively shaky hands.

Once my comic is Inked, I delete the sketch layer and duplicate the Ink/trace layer.  The original trace layer (under the duplicate) is colored mostly with “bucket fill”.  Duplicating the line art preserves the original Inked line art.

“There are other techniques I use but this step is done in each comic and I don’t want to waste your time with too much detail.”

The files that show up on the website are saved in Manga studio in its original file size as a JPEG.  From there I bring the file into Photoshop where I pick the option “Save for web” (defaulted at 72 dpi) as..

JPEG

High Quality

Width 950 pixels with “Constrain proportions” checked.

Apply & save.  (I tried this step with Manga Studio but the lines did not come out clean.)

Getting a Domain Name:

Since most Webcomic sites are “Powered by WordPress with Comicpress”, I decided to go to WordPress.org.  There they have a hosting tab which recommends several web hosting sites that work well with WordPress.  I picked Dreamhost.com, the one I thought would be best for me.  (If you get one there, please tell them Bill Murphy at Casuallyemployed.com recomended you!)

After registering my domain, I downloaded and installed WordPress.  Then downloaded and installed Comicpress. (Comicpress has since been replaced with Comic Easel. I recommend using that to start)

Building a website is a very complex project so I won’t get into detail about that.  But be ready to spend a lot of extra time setting it up when you do.

I hope you enjoyed reading about how I started casuallyemployed.com.  I would love to hear from others about your experiences with creating comics.  This is all new for me and I’m looking forward to learning more!