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Submitted on
June 24, 2007
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Step-by-step: penciling by Majnouna Step-by-step: penciling by Majnouna
This deviation has been replaced by a much more detailed walkthough! Please find it here and fav that instead: [link]

This is where my personal work process veers away from the conventional method. When I was starting out in comics, in pre-computer days, I laid them out on a large piece of paper, pencilled everything (a messy operation), then transferred the final lines using tracing paper to a sheet of watercolour paper where I had prepared a clean layout. I inked and then erased the pencil lines, and finally coloured it using artist's ink (Ecoline). It was constraining and forced me to take decisions early on and then stick to them. I now work as follows.

Once I have my synopsis, I duplicate the layout in Photoshop, using shapes. I also type in the text and can now see clearly how much space it will occupy. This happens to be a quiet scene that dosn't call for experimenting with panels, so the layout was relatively simple. In general though, this step is a real pain in the butt. This and the next shown above literally take hours of playing around until I have hit a layout that has the pace I want and is legible. One must also avoid falling into pitfalls such as having panels of the same size (unless deliberate), gutters on top of one another, monotony, panels where the text would leave no room for the drawing, etc. Even when this is done, it is still subject to change once the pencil is added.

Now that I have a close enough idea of my panel sizes, I start the "penciling" proper – except it's not, because I use a ballpoint pen now. I pencil on my A3 sketchbook, bearing in mind the ratios of the panels, but not following the layout: I try, but once again I can't. When carried away by the energy of the illustration, the last thing you want to do is break your momentum by worrying about borders. This is the main reason why I dropped the traditional way of penciling a page.
If a pencil doesn't look good enough I just redo it. Once done, I scan all the pencils and insert them as separate layers (blend: Multiply) into my layout. The composition of each panel is refined by scaling and framing, and I often correct at this point things that went wrong while sketching, for instance a head I drew too large, or characters placed too far from each other. Notice I removed two panels as well, to introduce breathing space int he page. This is actually the stage where I take those final decisions and put everything in its final shape, including the text.

To the right you can see the final step in this: I masked all parts of the pencil that overstepped the panel frames (except the parts I want to keep for depth), then I stroked the panels in black on a single layer. Now I draw the speech bubbles using the pen tool. Much thought goes into this, but that's something I'll need to explain with separate diagrams. When they are done, I stroke them as well and mask anything that is behind them. Now the page is ready for finalising.

Next stage: Inking.
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Demented3 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2008
now i miss lebanon :(... amazing tutorial... didn't even think about putting the words in first...and love the detail :D
Majnouna Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2008  Professional General Artist
I'll be posting something more detailed soon :)
Demented3 Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2008
More! yay! :D
rikausse Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2007
Ca me plait de voir l'envers du décor. Ca avance comme tu veux ? ;)
Majnouna Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2007  Professional General Artist
Si je pouvais n e plus avoir de travail pour un moment pour pouvoir y bosser plus, je ne dirais pas non!
giadrosich Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2007  Professional Traditional Artist
Very cool! I love looking at how artists design things and the creative thought that goes along with it. Thanks for posting!

Majnouna Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2007  Professional General Artist
You're welcome, and you inspird this in the first place ;)
giadrosich Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2007  Professional Traditional Artist
Creaseleave Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2007
... this is soooo much more expressive linework than your finished (traced in black outline and coloued in) work ... you should, in my humble opinion, strive to catch the expression in these lines in your finishing. Line expression is all important in what you are attempting and flat, same width, black outlines really rob a cartoon of movement and life.
:) keep striving!
Majnouna Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2007  Professional General Artist
The final lines are not same width, at all. And whereas I agree that clean flat lines don't have as much life (as should be obvious from the fact I often use a sketchy style and you will see them used again quite soon), they reduce the colouring time by 75%. The real world calls for some production-related choices to override the artsy ones.
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