How it’s made
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
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..
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!