If you’ve been spending any time at all reading web comics you’ll come across similar features that web comic sites have and one of those features is sometimes a step by step walkthrough of how the artist creates their comic. I’m going to kick off a series a posts here about creating comics and, more specifically, comics for the web. There are a ton of online resources on this topic, but the very best and most enlightening come from web comic creators themselves explaining how they do their own thing. So, the series of posts marked with [How To] will explore various artists’ pages that explain how they work their magic.
The first one I want to talk about can be found at InkTank.com, a site that is home to a couple of web comics all by artist Barry Smith. The comic that Barry uses to explain his process is his own “Angst Technology”. We haven’t discussed Angst yet on the show, but look for it as a future pick of mine.
Barry has one of the most thorough explanations of a web comic creation process that I’ve ever found online. You can read his whole process on the page Creating Angst Technology. Barry starts off with a description of the tools he uses to create the comic. A common set of questions aspiring artists have for their favorite cartoonists invariably begin with what type of pens are used, what type of pencils, etc. Here Barry goes into great detail even going so far as to list various prices.
Then he includes a page about how he comes up with ideas for his comic, also a very common question creators are asked. This topic, though, is often left a mystery. Creators rarely want to reveal their writing process. Barry gives an honest discussion here about how he copes with one of the most difficult aspects of creating a comic, the idea.
Barry steps the reader through his drawing, inking, scanning, and even touch-up processes. He includes photos of the progress as well, a very useful aspect to the descriptions. Now, this isn’t meant as a tutorial. Every comic is created differently and there really isn’t a hard and fast color-by-numbers way of creating any comic strip. This is meant as an explanation of this one artist’s process and a lot can be learned by reading through it. If you’re thinking of creating a comic or looking for an answer to your basic comic creating questions stop over at Ink Tank for a very detailed look at how one artist does it from start to finish.