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

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