What you will need:
Heavy paper or Bristol Board
pencils (I like the hardness of HB, but also use 2B)
ink (I kinda cheated with this page and used ink pens. Most artists would use indian ink and a brush).
Adobe Photoshop (I'm using CS5)
Step 1: Planning the Page
"As Jayde turned her attention back to the fight, Kasu stepped quickly to the side allowing an unobstructed view of his opponent. Almost quicker than the human eye she whipped out her dagger and flung it at the man. Jayde hit him squarely in the throat. While he gasped and gurgled on his own blood she stepped past her stunned leader and undid the man’s belt. She retrieved the keys and handed them to Kasuratu.
“What?” she asked coolly. He failed to reply. “You were taking too long.” She grabbed her knife and cleaned it on her unfortunate victim." Remnant, Chapter 10 by Lesley Barklay.
the best way to plan a page is to draw a small thumnail of the page, paying particular attention to how many panels you need, where they go and what size and shape they are. In this page I wanted to portray the character's agility and deadliness, so I went of a full page panel with 3 smaller, connected panels inserted at the bottom of the full page panel. hopefully the sense speed is conveyed, 'cause that's what I'm going for!
Top tips for panel layout:
1. don't try to convey too much information on a single page.
2. vary the 'camera' angles and point of view.
3. panels dictate pace, so plan the size and number of panels according to the pace at which the story is going.
4. make sure the panels flow in a way that can be easily followed and read.
Step 2: Pencils
1. Start with a basic framework. softly draw some basic shapes that will be the basis of your panels and build on them.
2. Use reference. unless you've been drawing for years, it's very difficult to get human anatomy right from your head. look at pictures online, use a friend as model, etc. I'm not talking about tracing or direct copying, but just using reference so you can get proportion and shape right.
3. vary your character's appearances. body and face shape, size, shapes of lips, nose and eyes, hair - make every character look different.
4. make mistakes. The great thing about pencil is it rubs out. I usually draw a basic shape before I draw detail, and I almost always change something.
Next step - inking.
Step 3: Inks
1. keep your line flowing as much as possible. ti creates cleaner, crisper images.
2. vary line width. this keeps the image exciting and dynamic.
3. when inking shadows on clothing, keep in mind your light source. where is the light coming from, and where will my shadows lie?
4. If you make a mistake, it's no big deal. the beauty of making comics in this day and age is that you can always fix mistakes in photoshop.
5. this might be obvious, but wait for the ink to dry completely before you rub out your pencil lines. you don't want to rub of the ink, as well.
Now scan the image in (the better the scanner, cleaner the image) and open it in photoshop.
Step 4: Cleaning the Image
1. create a new layer.
2. from your background layer, select all and cut.
3. paste onto the new layer.
4. using the brightness/contrast settings, adjust the settings to make the lines more crisp and the white space 'whiter'.
5. using the magic wand, delete the whitespace that will be the background.
6. use the eraser to clean up any lines etc that aren't supposed to be there.
7. use the brush/pen tool to fix up any lines or add any detail that wasn't inked.
I'm using a stock background (which is a stock image that i've blurred a little) and I added it as a new layer behind the layer with the main drawing.
Once the image is clean and crisp, you can start colouring.
Step 5: Base Colours
Once all the base colours are done, it's onto highlights and shadows.
Step 6: Highlights and Shading
1. use the dropper tool to select the colour your going to shade and highlight. select the colour in the left toolbar.
2. chose a colour directly darker than your base colour. try to get it so it's dark enough to stand out, but not to dark that it looks unnatural.
3. using the darker colour shade areas that might be obscured from direct light. on a face, usually it's just below the hair, the area where eys meet nose and whatecer side of the face is turned away from the light source. with bigger areas (her legs for example), draw a line with your shade colour where you want the shading to come up to and then use the magic wand and fill tools to paint the area.
4. select your base colour again and then choose a colour directly brighter than the base.
5. colour areas that stand out and may have light reflected of them.
6. go easy on the highlights. i find and image with too many highlights looks kinda busy.
7. I use the blur tool to soften the edges of shades and highlights.
8. now is the time to colour all the bits that you missed during the base colouring. make sure there are no white areas left (unless they're supposed to be white).
it's amazing the difference shading and highlits make to an image.
Step 7: Lighting and Effects
1. create a new layer below my main image but above my background.
2. select the Burn tool and adjust it to about 50% hardness.
3. Use the tool to darken the areas where shadows may lie. The closer an object is to a surface, the darker the shadow. for example, a bottle on a desk casts a shadow that is darkest at the base and lightest at the top.
I then added some effects - to show the movement of the knife, i used the smudge tool to 'blur' the knife so it has the appearance of movement. I used a splatter brush that I downloaded for the blood, and created a speech bubble for the victim's sound effects.
The page is finished! the whole thing probably took me about 10 hours to complete. I'm sure, with practice, I'll be able to get it done quicker.
Step 8: Removing Lines
I hope you enjoyed this instructable. It is by no means comprehensive, but it shows the basics of how I put together a comic page.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.