Archive for December, 2007

Where Is My Mind?

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Sorry guys, I’ve been really neglecting Moose River lately, haven’t I? It’s not because I’m tired of working on it or anything. Truth be told I’ve been feeling depressed for like… a good part of 2007. Like ever since I came back home from Otakon back in July, I’ve just been going in and out of a weird depression. Sometimes I think I’m over it and I actually get work done, but then I just fall right back into it without any warning, and nothing gets done for a whole week. This depression really makes it hard for me to want–or even care–to do anything. I haven’t cleaned my room in hella long, my car is a mess, I barely have any energy to go to work. I don’t even care that it should actually bother me that I don’t care about anything. On my off days from work I spend it doing nothing, which in turn depresses me because I’m bored to death. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve had a single week (seven days straight) where I wasn’t depressed, in a malise, or otherwise blue. Furthermore, I have a real problem of not being conscious of stuff that happens to me like this, so I don’t even notice that I’ve been depressed for a long as I have until I really sit down and think about it.

However, I think I know what the problem is. I’m gonna be testing this theory fairly soon; hopefully it does the trick and I get back to “normal”. I just hope the new year brings a symbolic change to my emotional fortunes and I get over this sort of lousy rut I’ve been in for the last five months or so.

FILLER: How I Made Comic Page (Part 2)

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Each page can be whatever you want it to be. As you might have already noticed by now after having read my comic up to this point, each page of mine consists of six frames. Admittedly, this format was solidified in my personal style years ago during my Book of Huzzah days, which in turn was inspired by Elf Life, or at least when Elf Life was a six framed comic back around 2001-2002.

Although I have a basic outline of what I want to do with each page and even the entire chapter, whenever I do a page, I start with the first frame first. I rarely, if ever, start with any other frame first. This is usually because whatever happens in one frame will inspire, even dictate, what’ll happen in the next frame. Also it’s hard for me to think what I will draw exactly unless I pin down the previous frame. Frame one itself will be inspired by frame six of the previous page. Of course, however YOU want to do it is what you should do. I do it my way because that’s what works best for me, but in reality there is no “best” way for everyone, it’s just what you’re most comfortable with. I know sooner or later I’ll start experimenting with different frame format, much like what I did with Muusugawa no Nihon, but right now this is what works best for me.

But even in drawing the entire page on paper, it’s far from being finished. What I do on paper is all that I feel I need to take care of on paper, while post production is done on the computer. For example, sometimes I feel the pacing is off and so I draw a frame that I want to squeeze into the page earlier. For this particular page, frame six will actually be frame three in the final page, pushing frames three, four and five up one frame. I also don’t write in the text, but only the text bubbles and a brief idea of what they’re going to say. This is largely for the same reasons why I draw one frame first before the next; I don’t know exactly what they’re going to say in one frame unless I pin down what they’re going to say in the previous frame. Now I used to write everything up on the page first, but I found it easier to just not bother unless I’ve got the page scanned into the computer first and then I can start typing in their dialogue. Typing their dialogue is easier than hand writing it because I can make edits to what they’re saying automatically without erasing.

Post production on the computer also allows me to skip over all the minor erasing details. Although I try to get as much of what will ultimately be the final product on paper, the tiny erasing jobs are left to the computer. Stuff like their “transparent” ears, or lines within the speech bubbles, as well as all the marks from when my hand smears the pencil lines are all taken care of on a computer. Then of course the frame reordering is something that can happen only on a computer. I mean I COULD cut the frames out with a scissor and reorganize them by hand and tape them on a new sheet of paper… but why bother? However, stuff like… well, what’s actually going on in each frame, are stuff I want to draw before I get it scanned into the computer. That’s where doing things on paper is easier than by doing it on a computer. But that’s why I like having both tools because each one does the job I want them to do.

The page I posted here is what each page basically looks like in real life. That is to say, if you go through my personal archives and see each page, they’ll look like this…. radically different from the final production. Obviously all the little notes I leave to myself for things to take care of during post production don’t show up in the final piece. Now lately I’ve been using nonphoto blue pencil more than I have in the past; previously I would just draw the characters straight onto the page without any predrawing. Sometimes I’ll still do that, but I’ve been slowly weening myself off of it. Now this is where the nonphoto blue pencil comes in handy: when I scan in the page (in greyscale), it’ll show up as a really light grey, all of which will disappear when I fiddle with the levels. I’ll show you that later. Now for me, the nonphoto blue pencil route works better than when I used to work with ink. What I would do in that case was sketch everything out with a regular pencil, ink over it with a Rapidograph pen, then erase the pencil marks leaving the ink drawing behind. The nonphoto blue pencil route is better for me because not only can I avoid dealing with the noneraseable ink (a very important factor!), but I also won’t have to erase the nonphoto blue pencil marks from the final drawing when I’m done. This eliminates one who step of the process and gives me more flexibility, win-win for me. Your mileage will vary, of course.

I think that pretty much covers Part 2. Any questions? Part 3 will cover post production on a computer.

Site Maintenance

Friday, December 7th, 2007

It’s not a big thing, but I’m slowly but surely uploading some page fixes I’ve accrued over the past few months. Reader Roscoe helped me out with some of the ones I missed beforehand (thanks again!). The errors are largely minor grammar errors, like missing letters and whatnot. Nothing big, but certainly stuff I can do without.

EDIT 20071210: Alright, my archives are up to date. If you guys spot any further grammar errors or spelling mistakes, you’ll bring them up, right?

FILLER: How I Made Comic Page (Part 1)

Friday, December 7th, 2007

OK so welcome to part 1 of HOW I MADE COMIC PAGE, the series of Filler pages which currently replace new comic pages. This is where I get to explain how I make my comics, the purpose being to prove to you guys how easy it is to make comics so that hopefully I can inspire you guys to make comics as well. (The more the merrier!)

So why do I do comics? I enjoy telling stories and I love drawing. So for me, comics allow me to do both. They bring together the powerful visuals found in filmmaking and the length of depth you can get only in traditional novel writing. Furthermore, it’s a relatively new field compared to traditional novel writing, and it’s easier to produce than films. Getting into the comicmaking game now means getting a head start of something that’ll only get bigger and more legitimate as time goes on. :)

So why should you do comics? Because you want to, that’s it really. Artfucks might want to dictate certain rules for art and that you shouldn’t be allowed to do something if you don’t meet the requirements or if you’re not “supposed” to do it. Well fuck ‘em. Do art (and comics) because you want to do it. Set your own rules for it, that’s what I’ve done!

To which, I before I start I want to point out this caviet: these are the rules I’ve set up for my own system of comicmaking. I’m out to teach you how I do things, but what you do with that knowledge is up to you. I don’t want to make it sound like my way is the only way you should do comics, as opposed to all the artfucks out there who will dictate the opposite.

Anyways, I’ll start getting straight to the point.

LIST OF DEVICES I USE FOR COMICMAKING, AND THEIR PURPOSE:
• 0.5MM MECHANICAL PENCIL, WITH 2B LEAD + ERASER (Photoshop’s Undo function has become a standard in my life; I don’t use ink at all with my work simply because I hate not being able to erase. 2B lead is a soft lead which allows me to draw a nice thick line, but is still pencily enough for me to erase. Sure the lead does smear, but I fix that up later. Personally I’ve been using a Zebra M-301 for about 10 years now, but you obviously don’t have to use the same one.)
• A SHARPIE (This is just to produce the thick outlines around my characters. Otherwise it’s not really necessary, but it’s still nice to have around.)
A NON-PHOTO BLUE PENCIL (If you’ve ever seen sketches where there is some blue or red color to it, this pencil is what causes it. I use these a lot whenever I want to layout a drawing before I dedicate my pencil to it. Its eraseable qualities are especially handy.)
• A MAGIC MARKER AND RULER (Used to layout frame lines, as seen above. More on this later.)
• A SHEET OF PAPER (This is what I draw my comic on. More on this in a bit.)
• A COMPUTER (Used largely for post-production work.)

That’s pretty much it!

A NOTE ABOUT MY CHOICE OF PAPER:
You can use whatever piece of paper you want. But what I do has a specific reason behind it.

When I started doing comics, I used to just whip out any old sheet of 8.5″x11″ paper to draw on. But as time went by I realized that page dimensions started to become very important to me, largely because I want to sell my comics in a minicomic or whatever. Thing is, a comic done on a 8.5″x11″ sheet of paper doesn’t fit nicely in a minicomic, which is 5.5″x8.5″, much in the same way a widescreen movie doesn’t fit on a regular television screen all that well (at least not without the black bars on the top and bottom). So what I ended up doing was get myself a 8.5″x14″ sheet of paper and print upon it a rectangle that is the right proportion to a minicomic page. Furthermore, on the rectangle I’ve measured it out at various positions, like a third of the page, a quarter, half, etc.; this you might notice on the sides of the rectangle. This is handy for whenever I want to create even frames of other sizes.

The Magic Marker is fortunately of a nice thickness to where all I have to do is line up my ruler at the various positions and just draw straight down the ruler in order to get the nice border like that. Creating a new page is as simple as that. Nifty, huh?

I think that’s pretty much it for Part 1. Making a new comic is really as simple as getting yourself a sheet of paper and something to draw with. And while I use a fancy pencil and sheets of paper with the lines already printed on them, there’s nothing saying you can’t use… oh, I dunno, a brown paper bag and a blue marker. That’s it!

BTW, if you have any questions about this step, ask them now, because I’ll add them to the finalized body when this it all said and done (I’m thinking about turning Nick15.com into an informative art site which collects all my knowledge on how to create art.)

Stick around for Part 2, that’s where I’ll show you how I draw in each frame and page.

FILLER: Sowwy

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

I’m thinking that, for the next few filler pieces, I share with you pieces of my knowledge concerning comicmaking. That is to say, instructions on how I make each page, how I make minicomics, and so forth. How about it?