Moving from Hand Drawn to Digital

I touched on it some in class today, but I just wanted to share a little more in depth about my process in going from an initially hand drawn page into a complete digitally illustrated page. I chose not to jump straight to digital right off the bat with my illustrations because even though I love what the drawing tablet can do, for me it still can’t quite mimic perfectly what pen and paper can do. I think with traditional pen and ink there’s more ability to manipulate line weight and texture and it appears less stiff. So even though it took a few extra steps for this method, I think it was well worth it.

This is what I started with, pencil sketch, inked over in felt tipped pen, on regular sketchbook paper:


To make this into a digital drawing I first I brought it into Photoshop and cleaned up the lines, erasing where you could see pencil and darkening the line where it appeared faint or sketchy in the scan. Then I brought it into Illustrator and was able to convert the black lines to digital vector outlines. Basically this allowed me to isolate just the lines, without the white background, as a single item. Additionally, it allows me to zoom in much farther without the lines appearing pixelated. Then I brought my outlines back into Photoshop to add color. I kept my color on a separate layer so I can change it and play with it as much as I want without messing up the black outlines. I ultimately decided to keep the colors monochromatic because I didn’t want tons of variety in color to complicate the simplicity of the style and storyline. Instead of using color to describe the actual reality of the characters and scenes themselves, I want to manipulate color to create mood and feeling. I chose yellow for the first establishing shots to play into the feeling of warmth, playfulness, and friendship. In the bottom two shots I start to fade the color, as the main conflict begins with the two friends getting separated.

comicpage1.trace comicpage1.trace.clean

Character Development

I wanted to share some of the character development work I’ve been doing for my comic. I’ve been trying to draw my characters from different perspectives so that when I go to draw my comic in photoshop, I can work from these existing sketches and keep some continuity in character design throughout the comic.

My comic is a children’s story about a little boy and his teddy bear which gets lost, and the resulting journey the bear takes.



I wanted the little boy to be around 6-8 in age which is why I ended up with him standing at only about 2 1/4 heads tall, and with a larger head. For both characters I tried to work from a base of circular and oval shapes, for easy replication and better continuity.

I’m planning on taking my characters from sketches into the computer and then cleaning them up and coloring them digitally. I did a rough of the little boy in Photoshop just to start play with the kind of color and look I wanted to go for.