To my future self, or selves, who happens to stumble upon this entry sometime in the near or far flung future, who, as we do, scroll back and back and back occasionally on your blog because you are a narcissist but also because you want to see if your art has grown: hello.
This is your past self, currently your present self as well, writing you one of those letters to your future self: you.
Why? Because you (I) am jealous of my friends who have done the same and how I wish our past self (14, 18, maybe 19) would have written to us. We have to settle instead with your 23 year old self who thinks he is not that dumb, but figures, if I thought at 18 that I figured it all out, in turn, who knows how much you, my future self, thinks of me as a dumb kid from the past.
I want to write to you and tell you how you were at this time in your life. You just started teaching. I have no idea if you will put up with it but I am liking it so far. You are on the cusp of relations with other people but you are not sure how exactly will it all turn out because you are hesitant and afraid. You sort of are attached to the idea of the single life now, something 22 year old Rob would have shrugged at. That is just a reminder how much stuff you went through in the last year.
You have more time for your own stuff, though you never commit time to do your own stuff because you are dicking around the internet and cramming what projects people give you. Instead of making that comic book you tell everyone you are making, you are making something else entirely. Whenever you get that next comic book done, Rob, I swear I hope you have finished it so that we can experience the glory of reading this letter and saying YEAH I FINISHED IT, PAST ROB. FUCK OFF.
How is your dayjob, Future Rob? Do you have a girlfriend? Do you have children? Is this blog still relevant to you? What ever happened to that girl who you probably stopped talking to because you were a dumb goose (this applies to all of them)?
By default anything you have created is your intellectual copyright, but if you need further protection from something you’re letting lose out there and would like to keep ownership of it protected by law, you can usually register it as your intellectual copyright at the Intellectual Property Office equivalent in your country. ( http://www.ipophil.gov.ph/ for the Philippines)
Another option is to refer to Creative Commons ( http://creativecommons.org/ )and figure out which licenses is applicable to your work.
Other means of protecting your work are: watermarks
Other ways: when someone steals your stuff, report it, share it on the interwebs, let the crime be known that they be publicly shamed, then also report it to the actual police.
I saw your headspace pieces and I'm wondering - how do you pick out your colors? They contrast quite beautifully. Does a piece's color scheme necessarily make it great, or do you think it's more of what you do with the colors?
First off, thanks for the compliments. I appreciate it.
how do you pick out your colors?
Things I keep in mind with coloring:
1) What do I want people to focus on? 2) How do I get people to focus on it? 3) What mood am I trying to get across? 4) What are the color limitations?
Usually, I think of mood first. Certain colors work better for certain scenes. Color theory helps out. Understanding Psychology works out. Green is said to be the most calming color. Certain things contrast. Certain things compliment each other. Using color to highlight what I want people to notice works out as well. Knowing if you should use a certain number of colors makes you have to work out how to use them properly. Limiting yourself to a certain palette also sometimes is a fun thing to do. Sometimes you just go with what you feel works. The brighter the saturation the more people will be drawn towards it. Dulling the colors of your background helps people focus on your subject. Gradients are tricky. Too much color isn’t a bad thing but be careful about it.
Does a piece’s color scheme necessarily make it great, or do you think it’s more of what you do with the colors?
What you do with the colors. Sticking to a palette or color scheme is great and all when it comes to having to do so, but even if you have a solid color scheme, it’s useless if you don’t know what to do with it or if you’re not sure if what you’re doing is the right thing.
Hi Rob! I'm a frustrated illustrator who just recently got a tablet and man oh man, the learning curve. All my lines are jagged, not smooth at all, and it's hard to make it look clean like your drawings or like the ones on Zen Comics. They get especially jagged w/ handwritten text. Any tips? :( How do I go about making my comics more smooth/ crisp? Do you use special Brushes? Is there a big diff with working on PS or AI when it comes to web comics? *sighs*I feel like I don't deserve my tablet :(
1. All my lines are jagged, not smooth at all, and it’s hard to make it look clean like your drawings or like the ones on Zen Comics. They get especially jagged w/ handwritten text. Any tips? How do I go about making my comics more smooth/ crisp?
Here are some tips. Just for Photoshop for now, if you want me to go in depth with Illustrator, I can do so as well, but for now, some basic principles that also apply to Illustrator.
First off, get to know the tools of Photoshop. This includes the brush tool, eraser tool, the line tool, pen tool, paint, and pretty much all of em. You can find PDFs and tutorials that should help you understand the basics of it. There are layers which can help you arrange your inks, colors, flats, and background. It helps to know which layer has what so you can use it to your advantage say coloring underneath your linework and inking over your pencils layer. Once you acquaint yourself with how Photoshop’s tools work, this will get a lot easier. You’ll understand a lot more of what you can do and what you can’t.
Next. I’m going to talk to you about 2 things that I think will help you with your problem. They are:
Canvas Size/ Image Size
First off, Canvas/ Image Size. It helps if you work in a higher resolution than intended. How this works is basically how comics and other published pieces of illustration work. Illustrators work in dimensions relative to how much space the piece should be albeit at a higher resolution to shrink down later. Much like in comics art where the standard page size is smaller (around 7x10 inches) than the artists page size (11x17 inches). When an image is shrunk down a lot of the lines appear smoother. In your computer resolution how it works in Photoshop is it’s using anti-aliasing and pixels to give the illusion it’s a curve. For example:
As you can see from the pixels, this may be why you may have been getting jaggedy lines. If you adjust accordingly, you can have smoother lines by working at say 300dpi as opposed to 72dpi.
In your Brush settings, you may be working without some of the ‘effects’ that Photoshop is capable of. Go to Window>Brush.
This window should pop up.
For this example let’s pick a normal circle brush. As you can see a lot of the dynamics are still ‘off’ hence how the line will appear to be just that. A stubby line. By turning on Shape Dynamics
You should have a nicer brush stroke. The image above are the options for ‘Brush dynamics’. Toggle the settings til you find one that is suited to your needs and how you want it to look.
Hopefully this helps. If you have any questions feel free to ask me anything else. But these are basically how I started out messing with brushes.
They’re great and easy to use. Installation instructions are there, too.
3. Is there a big diff with working on PS or AI when it comes to web comics?
Yes. Photoshop for me has its size limitations. AI uses vector files meaning you can size them as large as you want given a certain limit, where Photoshop, when resized to larger images, will get pixel-y because of its nature.
With working on Webcomics, it wholly depends on you on your intention and how comfortable you are working with either one. I work mainly with Photoshop and this other program Manga Studio when it comes to brush work. AI is a powerful tool as well, but they all have their own strengths and limitations. AI isn’t as good with coloring. Photoshop can’t have vectors be as crisp as AI. Manga Studio is Manga Studio. (Rad.)
My advice is try each one out and figure out which one works for you. I did. Again, knowing the tools and how to use them will help you find out which works for you. I can’t tell you. A lot of comics use Photoshop like Penny Arcade and say A Lesson is Learned, but other comics also use AI like Achewood.
figure it out, for yourself is all I could say. Each offers a diverse style only you can choose to use. Yeah.
Feel free to ask any more questions if you got em. Hope this was helpful.
I feel like I don’t deserve my tablet
You just started out. It’s okay to have these questions. That being said, everyone started out where you are, clueless as to how these things work. I was like that when I first started. A great thing you did was ask questions and look for answers. Which is a pretty great thing. Just keep at it and never think you don’t deserve anything because you are a fucking champion god damn it. I learned a lot of this stuff from browsing youtube tutorials with questions and people are willing to give out answers.