Drawing Outside of the Box

As I mentioned on the blog earlier, I have tweaked my workflow in a way that will make drawing my comics much more fun for me. Normally, I would plot and draw the characters, etc. within the 4 panel strip. Drawing within a box felt very restrictive, so I decided to try something different.

So, after plotting the script in a Photoshop 4-panel template, I opened up a new Painter canvas and penciled each of the four panels on a separate layer. Drawing without worrying about the panel border felt liberating. It allowed me to focus more on the character’s body language without having to worry about whether or not it would “fit” in the panel. For those who are curious, my Painter canvas size is 3000 x 3000 px (600 dpi) in size. The strip template is 7.5″ x 2.5″ at (600 dpi) in size.

digital pencils for 1-5-12 strip

After penciling, I bring the roughs into Photoshop and adjust the placement of the characters into the panels. Once everything looks okay, I go back to the original Painter canvas, save it out, and then proceed to ink the drawings in Sketchbook Pro.

inks for 1-5-12 strip

Once the drawings have been inked, I’m ready to populate them into the panel template. I have to scale the characters down to fit the panels, which isn’t really a big deal. I really like the fact I can add details and have them preserved when I shrink the drawing to fit in the panel.

How much do I like this new approach?

Enough to permanently add it to my cartooning workflow. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.


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