Monday, June 27, 2005

Razors and Digital Ink

I cut myself shaving this morning. I really hate when I do it.

I've cut myself shaving with a straight razor before. That's a big deal! That's one of those things that requires immediate attention or you'll bleed to death right there in the bathroom sink!

But cutting yourself with a safety razor like I did this morning, that's much worse.

First, depending on how much marketing hype you've bought into, it will leave multiple parallel cuts, because more blades means more cuts.

Second, despite the fact that it is a teeny-tiny wound, it bleeds for just as long.

Third, you feel like a total shmuck. I mean, what are you, four? It's a safety razor. Cutting yourself with a safety razor is one step below stapling your finger to the wall.

In some of the moments I was not busy cutting myself with a safety razor, I tried to figure out a better way to 'ink' my drawings using my tablet. I made five distinct comics, none of which are particularly good. I only brought one in for show and tell, mostly to point at the inkwork.

Small version
Big version

I told you it wasn't very good - I'm trying to figure out a fast, reliable method of inking. Tell me what you think about how it looks, because I'm too close to the issue at hand.

My biggest problem is actually one of scaling. In the past, I did mostly full-size images. In case you aren't aware, full-size images are generally 500-800 pixels wide when reduced. You use sharp, thin lines and a lot of nice coloring. It takes hours to do one image. I've put up an example or two before on this blog.

However, those practices don't scale well to comics, in which an image will probably be less than 200 pixels wide and have to be pumped out in a matter of tens of minutes instead of hours. The comic above took about ten minutes a tile, which is pretty darn good, methinks.

But the knacks I learned for my image work - thin, sharp lines and shaded colors - work against me. When you shrink an image to 25% of its original size, it loses those tiny lines and the colors burge unnaturally sharp.

So, I spent maybe eight hours this weekend trying to get thicker, cleaner lines and experimenting with colors. Coloring the images doubles the amount of time that these images take.

I even tried some vector stuff. I love how vector art looks, but I have a hard time with them - it takes me hours to get ANYTHING vectory done.

So, give me your opinion.

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