Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Manga Studio Sketches

I'm trying to get a handle on using Manga Studio for my comics work flow. I've already been doing my panel layouts and some of my thumbnails with it, but now I want to move to doing my pencils there too. There are tons of advantages to doing so, but I'm not going to get into that right now.

Doing thumbnails and sketching in Manga Studio was definitely a little slower than paper at the start. I couldn't put my finger on why at first, but I think I've figured it out now. Using a pencil takes a very small amount of left brain (analytical) activity that most artists master when they're pretty young. So we're able to forget the tool and slip into the right brain (creative) activity that we so enjoy. Manga Studio and a computer are no different than drawing on paper except that there is much more left brain activity involved in the learning curve, which initially makes it much more difficult to tap into your creative centers. So a comic book thumbnail page that normally took me 15 minutes to an hour took me several hours in Manga Studio while hunting for quick keys and trying to figure out the best layer structure to use. As I got comfortable in the software environment my thumbnails started flowing out much faster. I'm almost to the point that I can do them as fast as on paper now.

So now I'm sketching in Manga Studio and not loving it at first. Same as before, there's a learning curve. After just a few hours I'm discovering things I really like about it. Using the pencil tool on a color layer gives you something like a transparent marker. You can be really loose at first and get some great marker-like effects and then tighten up with a smaller tip. I'm definitely liking it now. Hopefully, I'll get decent at it pretty quick, cause I'm going to pencil a small comic project with it in the coming weeks to test it out.

Inking? No. I would ink in Manga Studio if I was still going for a clean, "wet" look, but I'm moving in a direction with my inks that just can't be done in this software. Probably not any software. I like the alchemy of ink on rough paper and the happy accidents that happen. I wouldn't give that up right now.


Jim Hopkins said...

I know how you feel about non digital line, I feel the same way.
But, I love the crisp look you get with a digital line!

Pat Bollin said...

Thanks for the comment. The problem with inking in Manga Studio is that I like to switch btwn perfect crisp line work and rough, drybrush effects. You can't really do that in the computer. At least not as fast and organically as you can on paper. Don't get me wrong. I'm VERY digital friendly. I just like to use the right tool for the right job, and I still feel like good old fashioned ink, nib, and brush are the best tools for inking comics pages.