Revisioning

I really enjoy revision. It’s literally the point in the process of creating something where you get to re-imagine it. It took me a little while to clear my head from the last iteration of A Palestinian Tale before I could get down to business. I’ve started revising the prologue, called ‘Formation.’

Thinking of each page as it would appear in a print book has changed the flow of the panels. I no longer plan on posting to Webtoons and don’t use a super long page for scrolling formats anymore.

Here is the original prologue page for comparison:

Not only is the canvas larger in the recent iteration, but the pace is slower which should help to develop character and setting too.

The Great Re-Drawing Begins

I’ve finally begun the process of redoing all of the pages from the comic in a larger canvas size just in case I ever want to print the whole thing. It is a challenge to work on such a large canvas but I am hopeful that I can improve on my original designs.

The cover page for the prologue already looks much better and it’s not even finished yet! Here’s the original version for comparison:

The Trouble with Canvases

I’m new to digital art, and it shows. I’ve been working on some pretty small canvases, based on the format that work with Webtoons and Tapas. But I didn’t realize that should be the finished size, and that I should work larger than that if I want to print it someday. Oops!

Well, at least I figured this out before I launched the comic! The good news is that it isn’t too late to start over. The bad news is that I have to start over 😀

‘Fail faster’ was one piece of advice I came across re: making comics. It’s absolutely true; the more I fail the better the comic gets. The pacing of the story is changing along with the canvas size. I’m going to end up posting all of the original work to my patrons on Patreon before uploading them all here in the months leading up to launch.

When I Said Struggle With Redrawing…

It’s ba-aaaaack! I’m in the process of working on chapter six of A Palestinian Tale. I was really unhappy with how it was going. My inclination is to paint it rather than do line work because the setting is very foggy and mysterious. After some feedback on Twitter, I gave redoing the chapter a go and I’m happier… at least!

Although I have a new problem. I keep reworking the same panel.

The Struggle with Redrawing

I was warned that one of the dangers of making a webcomic is the temptation to redraw old panels. It’s the biggest hurdle after actually starting the comic, apparently! And… it caught me in its trap. Part of the problem is that it is inevitable that the drawing and painting styles will change over time. I’ve done around six chapters of A Palestinian Tale now. And the style has changed a lot already.

I gave in to the temptation to redraw the first panels I worked on, the sequence known as Four Giant Leaps for Safia. Here’s how that broke down:

It’s a Process

I’m very new to digital art and to making comics. My process keeps changing but this is the flow I’ve settled into for the time being. I work entirely in Clip Studio Paint Pro. We start off with a sketch layer. I use the mechanical pen to roughly block the scene then change the colour of the layer to blue using a handy one-click option in the layers window.
On a separate layer I fill the canvas with a grey tone. And on another layer I do my inking with the mechanical pencil again. I prefer the look of the mechanical pencil to the ‘pen’ brushes available with CSP. This is one of my favourite steps because it can be quite relaxing. I keep thinking to myself “specific, specific, specific” to keep the details at the forefront of my mind.
The next steps are in colour. This is a very poor example because my Cintiq was acting up and the pen wasn’t aligning properly. That’s never happened before! I chose a dominant colour for the panel. Usually this is the same across all panels at a particular location in order to unify them and signal to the reader that they are all in the same place (the cafe, for example, is cream). This location from chapter five is otherworldly, and has a verdigris tone. I fill the panel using the paint bucket tool.

From there, I choose local colours from the colour picker. I keep in mind my dominant colour. Colours closer to it can be more saturated while colours distant from it are kept neutral. In this way, colours shift according to the environment (Rumanye’s shirt is yellow but it’s brightness is drained away by the spooky pea soup environment).

I use the opaque watercolour brush to do my first pass. This allows some of the base colour to show through and further unify the scene.

Next, I add effects. Sometimes this is as simple as using the airbrush tool, but occasionally I use blending modes to boost the magical quality of an effect, for example.

And that’s all for now! I know my process with change again, as it has so often during this project!

ETA: I fixed the driver on the Cintiq. What a difference it makes, eh?

Rumanye

Chapter five has a new main character, Rumanye Daoud. Above is the first colour test. She is an archival assistant at Saint Sisyphus’ University in New Haifa. It isn’t long before she has a spooky run in with a creepy Canaanite robot. Yes, an ancient robot. One of my interests is medieval and ancient automata. If I can give Canaanites robots, why would I not?!

I’m almost finished the first pass on the colours for chapter five! You can read the short story that this chapter is based on here on my website.