Welcome to a Wednesday Update!
While we hear news of snow and below zero temps across the US, we've been having pretty nice weather locally. The rain started up again late last night and has been showering throughout the day. I really like this weather - it's cool enough for me to leave the window next to my work desk open for circulation and not "wet" enough to make my papers all soggy. I really dread the summer season where it just gets hot and sticky.
While KS has been busy with miscellaneous site updates and his day job at hand, I've been hammering away at my deadlines. SO FAR so good! I'm about 5 strips short of completing all our basic comic content for Volume 2. While I'm stuck on that, I decided to back-track and get started on coloring. A friend asked me via LJ what my workflow was like - especially around deadlines. I thought today might be a great time to address this.
Day-to-day, I try my best to fit roughly 8 hours of work in. Be it drafting, drawing, coloring, or site maintenance. For some things, KS and I work together on - bouncing ideas and suggestions back and forth until we get a solid strip idea/layout. The 2 steps that take up the most time are:
- Plotting - This is basically my story-boarding process. Although nemu*nemu is timeless, we still have to make sure there's some sense of timing and continuity throughout all our strips. We may not have a clear idea of what will happen a few chapters down the road, but we always have notes jotted down to pull inspiration from later.
The process of taking those general ideas, sharpening them up for a chapter/arc and then filtering pieces of those ideas into individual strips and panels can take me anywhere from a day to a week. I think of each panel as a scene in a movie and try my best to convey whatever feelings, action, etc within those limited spaces... while keeping in mind where the dialog bubbles and sound effects will go.
- Flatting - First off, refer back to this entry regarding my coloring/flatting process. Think of flatting like coloring in a stained glass window. All spaces need to be filled and the colors should work together with some degree of harmony. The Cintiq helps a lot with speeding up the process - cutting down the hand-eye coordination bit and makes things feel much more natural. Regardless, it still takes some time to lay down all the colors - roughly 1-2 hours per strip, depending on how complex the lineart is.
I can't cut corners on either of these steps as they are the foundation for my work later. I can always flub up the drawing/inking or coloring because Photoshop allows me to work and rework things until I am happy with them. (Trust me, if I could make perfect page art, I would - but time constraints and my current ability does not allow me that luxury~)
With a deadline looming overhead, I have to plow through as much work as I can in a short amount of time - which does have its pros and cons. While I can see my artwork rapidly improving/changing over the past 2 weeks while working solely on strips, I've slowed down considerably on my computer work. While I switch gears, I'll probably start noticing the opposite occurring. Personally, I like maintaining a balance between drawing and coloring - ideally working 1-2 weeks ahead of time.
When out of deadline mode, KS and I have more time to brainstorm ideas for illustrations, merchandise, the site. Which is always a nice break to be creative in different ways. :D
Hope that sheds some light on how I do things~! As I mentioned earlier, tutorials are in the works! If there's something specific you'd like for me to talk about, don't be afraid to ask! (I might even be able to work it into the tutorials!)