Inktober 2016 Week 1

Inktober, the notorious month-long drawing challenge, has begun! I made it through the first week with little problem, but have fallen far behind this week. I’ll catch up (I hope). Anyway, here are the seven drawings I made last week. The theme is witches.

inktober-2016-1-spring-witch

Day 1: Spring Witch

inktober-2016-2-modern-witch

Day 2: Modern Witch

inktober-2016-3-vagabond-merchant-wtich

Day 3: Vagabond/Merchant Witch

inktober-2016-4-garden-witch

Day 4: Garden Witch

inktober-2016-5-socialite-witch

Day 5: Socialite Witch

inktober-2016-6-oracle

Day 6: Oracle

inktober-2016-7-seamstress-witch

Day 7: Seamstress Witch

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Inktober: Days 5- 9

Despite the lack of updates on my blog, I’ve been continuing strong into October with the Inktober challenge. So far I have a finished drawing for every day! I didn’t want to inundate all of you guys with pictures, so I’ll space them out a bit. By the way, I use Instagram quite often so if you’d like to see a more updated collection of my drawings for Inktober, you can check it out. 🙂

Anyway, here they are:

Day 5

image8 (2)

Day 6

image9

Day 7

image10

Day 8

image5

Day 9

image6 (2)

Overall I’ve mostly been drawing random characters that pop into my head. Occasionally I feel like drawing some space related things, which I’m thinking of compiling into a zine, maybe.

Inktober has been really fun so far, but definitely a challenge. I’ve been drawing at least one thing every day, which is much more than I usually do. I’m hoping to see some improvement by the end of the month. I feel like I’m still trying to find a drawing style that I’m happy with, but with every drawing I think I get a little closer to that goal. 🙂

My Graphic Novel Drawing Process

As I work on my first graphic novel, I thought I’d share the process I go through to create each page from start to finish.

I’ve chosen to create traditional ink drawings and have them stay black and white because I feel it will tell the story better. Everyone has a different way of doing things depending on the project, time frame, materials available, and personal preference.

desk and materials solstice process

Materials

Paper

I’m using 9×12 smooth Bristol. It works well with inks and is sturdy. I believe that if you’re going to put in a lot of time and effort into your artwork, use a paper that lasts. A rule of thumb is to create artwork that is larger than it will appear in the book.

Pencil

I like regular HB pencils, but I’ve seen some artists use non-photo blue pencils, which are supposed to disappear on the artwork when scanned.

Pen

You can use anything under the sun. My favorites are papermate flair pens and Microns.

Eraser
Camera or Scanner
White-out
Sketchbook

I find a sketchbook extremely useful, even if I have a good idea of what a page is going to look like. You can test out pens and different drawing techniques in a no-pressure way. It also doesn’t have to be a sketchbook. Any piece of paper will do.

A Good Mood 🙂

Going through this process, I find this especially useful. Sometimes I’ll try to draw pages while stressed-out or worried and it ends up looking forced. I’ll often get really frustrated with drawing a certain thing (like water) and have to remember to take a break.

Step 1: Thumbnail Sketch

Sketchbook Thumbnail pages 8 and 9

I first make a rough sketch (or five) of the page layout in a sketchbook or random piece of paper. It helps to think about how the two pages will look side-by-side.

Step 2: Pencil Drawing

Pages 8 and 9 Pencil Sketch

Then I make a more refined drawing on the actual page. I usually don’t include all of the details that will go into the finished artwork. The level of detail I put into this stage depends on how developed the idea of the page is, and how difficult it will be to ink. Although it looks more finished than the thumbnail sketch, there is still time for changes to be made.

Here’s a tip: don’t press too hard with the pencil if you’re going to be inking over it, because the lines will be too dark and won’t erase well.

Step 3: Inking

This page went through some changes even after I started inking.

For this page I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted it to look like, so the penciling was limited.

Step 4: Scanning

This step is necessary for publishing and commercial printing. Also, I’m going to add text bubbles on some pages using a computer program.

This is what the pages look like right after scanning them. As you can see, the darkness of the inks got a little washed out. Also, the border is not aligned.

Tip: If you’re going to print your graphics in black and white, scan them at a high dpi so that they stay crisp.

Step 5: Editing

I crop the images until just before the edge of the panels.

Solstice process page editing contrast

Then I open up each picture in a photo-editing program. Using high contrast makes the ink darker and page brighter. I try to get the white of the image as light as possible so that it practically disappears.

Tadaa! This is the final product.

Step 6: Formatting

If you are self-publishing, there will be a specific page format for you to use in order to print your book. I’m using Lulu, which prefers PDF files, so I format the pages with Microsoft Publisher and then convert the file to PDF. I’ll share more on formatting and self-publishing later.

Solstice Formatting Process Pic

Finished!

That’s it. I hope this gives a little insight into my process without being too straightforward. I don’t have much experience with illustration in general, but I’m learning as I go along and it’s been so much fun so far. 🙂

Onward

I’ve finally, finally started actual artwork for Solstice. The entire project is behind schedule (like always) but in some ways I feel like I’ve made leaps and bounds. For one thing, I edited the story and fixed basically every plot hole that could arise.

I can’t say that’s true for any other project I’ve ever done.

Of course, I didn’t do it alone. I had great help with editing and talked about the story, its problems, and solutions over a three day period. Now the story is a sparkling version of its former self, and I couldn’t be happier.

Now, onto the artwork!

I’ve had to do a bit of research first on the size of the book, its proportions, and shipping costs before starting to draw. I’m using Createspace, a print-on-demand publisher, and will go into further detail about the process of self-publishing later. One problem to tackle at a time.

Speaking of, I hadn’t realized how much math goes into this:

math and numbers

I’m not a fan of math or numbers, but it’s necessary for my project, unfortunately. I needed to measure out the book page size (7 x 10) and compare it to my artwork page size (9 x 12). Then I had to choose how wide the margins should be in the book and figure out how wide that would make the artwork margins. Yep, it’s a lot of work. Hopefully I’ll only need to do it once or twice.

I’m using 9 x 12 smooth Bristol board for the ink illustrations. Bristol’s usually pretty pricey but I randomly found a discount at Walmart. 🙂

Anyway, here’s the first page, which I’ve inked:

solstice page 1 ink start

solstice page 1 ink middle

soltice page 1 ink finished

Because I’ve chosen to create the line art traditionally rather than digitally, I need to scan each page onto the computer in order to color it. Then I’ll add speech bubbles and page numbers. It seems like more work but I believe that in the end it’ll actually be faster and easier than digitally drawing.

I think I also like the idea of being able to hold the artwork in my hands rather than only seeing it through a computer screen. Plus, its fun to draw with different kinds of pens!

My plan for the coming week is to draw as many pages as I possibly can so that I have ample time for coloring and formatting, which is scheduled for the week after. That’s okay, I wasn’t planning on sleeping anyway.