Playing With a Tablet

Yesterday, I was able to lay hands on a drawing tablet for the computer. We will leave out the details on how, save that Brother Todd is a wee bit poorer now.  Instead, let’s think of the following.

The way I create On the One Road to Ruin is very slow.  It also uses a great deal of paper.

How so, you may ask.  Or may not.  Whichever, whatever.  Let me detail the process to a small degree.  Note first that this is how I’m doing things now.  Earlier pages used a different method.

For starters, I map out the page.  First I figuring out the number of panels, (give or take) what needs to be in the panels (more or less), and so on and so forth.  Once that’s figured, I’ve been building the panels early, creating a sort of panel page.  At this point, the page size is roughly 17 X 22, twice the size of regular typing paper/ my comics normal page.  I’ve found that this allows enough room for what will be minute detail work as well as coloring and shading.

Once this is done I then take a color pencil and sketch/draw what I need in the size that feels best (these would be my foundation lines).  Color pencils are used here because it’s easier to remove the foundation lines after I’ve inked.  No preference here, but I like hues that my scanner can read.  Yellow greens and light blues are the pits for the next step but, almost obscenely, easier to clean up over all.

I next take the basic pictures and scan them into the computer.  Then I open the images up in JASC, where I format them each of them to fit the predetermined panels.  A quick printing later and they are ready for inking, then scanning, then everything else.  It takes a lot of work to finish a page, but I find it all fun so far.

Having a tablet, though, should be a boon to the creative prossess.  Whole steps eliminated.  I should be able to plow on towards glory, right?

Not quite.first-tablet-attempt

To our left you should see my first attempt with the tablet.  Krevan in all his glory, sans foundation lines.  Only…  it’s not good, is it?  In fact, this is a pretty wretched looking image, isn’t it?  My stuff is rough, I know,  but it’s better than that.

This was drawn with a basic Paint Brush, one of the many options JASC has.  I banged it out pretty quick and that might excuse some of the rough edges.  Trouble is, I’ve been drawing Krevan a long time, and that?  I can do better than that.

Still, in fairness, it’s a better drawing than I could have gotten with, say, a mouse.  And I’ve tried with a mouse.  Believe you me, I tried.

So, what went wrong?  We’ll get to that in a second.

JASC has another drawing tool in it’s programing called, oddly enough, Draw.  I draw on the tablet freehand, telling it where the lines should go and whe I stop, the computer recreates what it thinks is required of it to the best of it’s ability.  Sometimes the results… aren’t so hot.

Which is the perfect segue to the next picture.second-attempt1

Gah!  While some of the lines are much smoother (and, frankly, more professional looking) the over all image is a disaster!  Too rounded in some places and not rounded enough in others.  It looks much, much worse than the first one.

The program was doing it’s best, but yikes people.  Yikes.

So, again, what went wrong?  Same problem as before, really.

I’m not using the tablet right.  At least, not yet.

In order to do so, I basically need to learn to draw all over again.

Which means it won’t be much use to me.

At least, not right now.  I haven’t quite given up on it yet.  Like drawing the comic, fooling around with the tablet has been fun.  And, should I master it (and I believe I can), all of the promise and hopes I had for it will come to fruition.

For now, though, I keep to the old ways.  I take a bit of time to fool with the tablet.  And, over all, I’ll be having fun.

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3 Replies to “Playing With a Tablet”

  1. Good luck with that. Switching over to a different artistic tool is always a challenge (especially in the technical realm) – but the results are worth it.

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