The first thing I do is work out a rough sketch of the page and the section of the story that that page will contain, which is all done within a homemade sketch book I have that is labeled, "Goblin Tale: Deadly Notes". I try to keep all my Goblin Tale sketch inside this book. Some times I don't have a clear Idea of what I am looking for as far as page layout and have to do several until I find the one I want. This page is a full splash page.
AS you can I add little notes along the side for various reasons, like explaining what a series of lines are suppose to look like in the end. This is one of my favorite sketches because it has so much expression and Rhythm. Once I sit down to make the larger cleaned up version, some of this is lost. This does not happen all the time, but this time I feel it did.
So here is the Clean version. Its not super clean and you can still see some of the construction lines. This is because there is no reason to make a fully clean version of the page if all I am going to do it digitally ink it on the computer. I decided to change the idea of the thick old vine into a interesting looking tree.
here I have scanned the clean sketch into Photoshop and have inked it. I use the pen tool which I then tell photoshop to stroke with the Brush tool. In order to do this you have to have the brush you want selected under the brush tool first or you could end up with whatever brush you used last. The command to stroke the pen line you've created is found with the pen tool selected and clicking the Right button on the mouse. There will be an option for Stroke. I use a separate layer from my sketch to do all my inking.
Once this is done, create another layer and name it color. I set the mode for this layer to Multiply and then go back to the Inked layer. I select areas of the Inked layer that will have the same base color with a wand tool. The I go to Select at the top of the screen and then to Modify, then Expand. I expand the Selection I have to about 2 points. What this will do is when I go back to the Color layer, the color I drop into those selected areas with the paint bucket will go passes the lines I have drawn and this way no white shows through. This use to be the longest process for me until I found this trick. Once I have all the base colors laid in, I use the brush tool to add different shades and textures to the background. The end result will look like this.
Then I begin to lay in the shadows as a separate layer, set to Darken and with the opacity turned down. I usually don't want the shadows to over power the scenes. To speed up the process I made a selection of everything that would cast a shadow on the wall and then laid in a dark purple to the shadow layer within the area of the selected area. I shift this over until it is where I want it and then for this one I also used masking to delete all the shadow from the areas I didn't want it to cover so it appeared to be behind the Tree and the Goblin.
Once I have this done I save it all as a PNG and open the the file in Illustrator. Here I drop in my pre-made word bubbles and lay in the text.The final result looks like this.
The process is not perfect in any way, but I'm working towards finding better and faster ways of doing this. One avenue I am looking into is using some other software other than Photoshop. Recently I have been lead to believe that I would be better off to use a cheap painting software, "Artrage". So when i try this software out I'll be sure to post about my experience.