Pencils for a collaborative page

Manga Studio 5 Instruction: Quick Flats

Note both Manga Studio 5 and Clip Studio paint are the same program. Some of the options may have different names between the programs, but the features are the same. Smith Micro (I believe) is slowly phasing out Manga Studio as a name and going forward will be sticking with Clip Studio on all future releases. So these instructions should work for either program.

In this video I show you how to use some of the special options in manga studio 5/clip studio paint to make your flats layer for coloring more quickly. A flat is a layer of different colors under your art that is used primarily for selection of large blocks of a piece (like a face or a hand). So that when you have a bunch of other layers but want to get back to just that hand, you can do it using the flats layer. I use a couple of tools in this video including area scaling, reference layers, and a brush feature called “anti-overflow” to make this a more painless process.

Special thanks to Dan Hale for the lineart that I used in this video. Here’s his website and the comic this page was from:
www.thedanhale.com
www.emptygravecomic.com/

Thursday Night Comics

Yet another entry in “what Ed’s been doing”.  I promise I’ve almost caught you up on my various creative projects.

I recently contributed a comic to a bi-weekly comic newsletter put together by John Vestevich. You can see it below. Mine is the one in the middle called “’round the corner”. The next edition will drop on the 20th. You can always find the newest issue on the northside comic artists site (northsidecomics.org) as well as other info about our other goings-on. If you are interested in contributing your own cartoon to this newsletter contact John at jvestevich[at]gmail.com.

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I 3D printed a key to the apocalypse

About 90% of the people I follow on Twitter are comic artists. Last fall one of my favorites put out a call out to anyone with  3D printing knowledge to create an object from the comic he was currently working on called Nameless. The comic is worth reading (it’s also terrifying/disgusting, so not for the little ones). I’m not going to spoil it, but suffice it to say, he wanted me to create this object that is more or less part of the apocalypse.

Here’s a picture of the object from the comic:

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Because of the shape, I had to design it and print it in two parts. A 3D printer works a lot like a hot glue gun, so if you want something with legs and a top (like a table or something) you have to create these temporary breakaway supports called “rafts”. OR you can do what I did divide it in two (in the middle on the horizontal access), print them, then glue them together. Here’s the printed version just after gluing the pieces together (you can see the seam):

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After patching and a lot of sanding, I hand-painted it with two different metallic colors. The object (called the Ixaxaar) is supposed to be composed of two different similar objects from two dimensions with one rotated by 90 degrees on three separate dimensions. Here it is with the first coat of pain applied (right after primer):

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The object is also supposed to be old, so I needed to weather it after the metallic paint dried. To do this you can just take black paint and kind of smear it on then dab it off. It makes the metal look old (I did a similar thing with a mad max facemask I made for Halloween last year).

And here’s his tweet featuring the final version (note the weathering relative to the picture above). I think it’s safe to say he likes it:

Paintings from my watercolor class

Here’s another entry in the “What Ed’s been doing the last six months” file. This one is about my recently completed watercolor class.

My creative goal this year (since my birthday in November) is to learn about and develop some comfortability with watercolor. I bought a bunch of supplies on my birthday and did a few tutorials on youtube, but by the end of the year I realize I was not really getting anywhere. So I did a search for classes available in the area and found a rather affordable “mini-course” (6 weeks, once a week) at Northwestern taught by Ingrid Albrecht.

I got into watercolors primarily because I liked the way they looked and I thought I could incorporate them into comics at some point in the future, however this class focused a bit more on what might be called “fine art” watercolor. That’s good though, because I’ve never had any experience trying to paint in any style, let alone fine art. Note that these are my assessments and not necessarily what the instructor said. Below are some examples of what I did as well as my thought process (if there was one) for each. You can click on any thumbnail you see to get a larger version.

Class 1: The first class was just learning different techniques, like washes, and brush strokes. I’ll spare you having to look at the strokes I made.

Homework 1: Do a single color (one paint tube, varying amounts of water) painting. I chose burnt sienna and did this picture of a vampire on a bridge near a city. It’s an homage to my favorite comic artst – Rafael Albuquerque – who has done a lot of vampires in his time. I like the composition, but now that the class is over I see a lot of places I could have improved it.

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Class 2: Paint with two colors. I did this scene of a bike on a city street using only yellow and blue (they make green when mixed). It’s okay, the bike looks terrible, but I really like the path between the buildings and the foliage around them.

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Class 3: Paint with three colors. In this class we learned a bit about color mixing and complementary colors. I mixed yellow and red to get orange and used blue as a complement (blue and orange are compliments, as are red and green, and yellow and violet). This is my #1 or #2 favorite painting from the class. I did it based on a reference photo I found online. White as a color is hard to come by in watercolor because basically the white of the paper is the best white you’ll get, so you have to really protect it. You can do things to get around that though, like using an white ink pen, or (as I did) scraping the paint off with an x-acto knife when the paint is dry.

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Class 4: Paint with four colors do something abstract. Honesty I can’t really remember if this was the fourth class. I think it might have been like the second. We had to draw a bunch of lines on the paper and then fill them in using different colors and techniques. Mine wasn’t meant to look like anything, but it ended up looking a lot like a field, mountains, and the northern lights. Ah well.

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Class 5: Paint with as many colors as you want. That was the description, though to be honest, I don’t think I used more than four for this one. I wanted it to be ominous and I think I succeeded. This scan doesn’t do it justice, but I spent a lot of time trying different scan settings and still couldn’t get it right. A friend later told me that this painting reminded him of Andrew Wyeth. I assumed he was making fun of me in some way (because I didn’t know who that was) but when I looked him up I realized it was actually a very nice compliment. If you haven’t seen Wyeth’s work, I recommend you look it up, it’s great stuff.

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Class 6: The final class! This one was an interesting experience. We had to do six paintings in half an hour. Each was to be done during the full duration of a song and to be inspired by said song. I put them all down here in the order they were completed, I named each and make a brief comment about each one.

Happy Field - the music started happy and got scary, hence the late addition of reds
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Happy Field – the music started happy and got scary, hence the late addition of reds
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Sad Dragon – This music sounded Asian (definitely a pentatonic scale) and was rather melancholy.
Dead Mouse - Super scary and loud music. I learned that complimentary colors make grays in watercolor (if diluted). The resulting image looks like a mouse to me.
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Dead Mouse – Super scary and loud music. I learned that complimentary colors make grays in watercolor (if diluted). The resulting image looks like a mouse to me.
Sun Blossom - The music started slow and felt like spring. This is some combo of a seed and plant thing.
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Sun Blossom – The music started slow and felt like spring. This is some combo of a seed and plant thing.
Dancing - this sounded like music you might here in a street market somewhere and made me think of people dancing.
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Dancing – this sounded like music you might here in a street market somewhere and made me think of people dancing.
Lazy River - Sort of bluesy song, very slow. I did this river with some rocks or a city on each side. I was trying to use up paint because time was running out.
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Lazy River – Sort of bluesy song, very slow. I did this river with some rocks or a city on each side. I was trying to use up paint because time was running out.

I like the medium a lot and I think I’m going to continue to experiment. I’ll at least keep it up until my next birthday, as a yearly creative goal is sort of the new thing I’m trying.

Next post will be about my crazy adventures in screen printing.

Ed

That time I did an Army of Darkness homage as a Wedding Present

As promised, here is one of the many creative projects I’ve been working on for the past few months.

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This is a kickstarter reward that I did for a backer of our first group comic: Identity (available digitally here and physically at most comic shops in the Chicago or by contacting me directly). It’s a wedding present for my friend and his fiance. His mother backed our “mystery artist” reward level, which was supposed to be a commission by the artist that we thought could best capture the requested drawing. However, since she knows me, she requested that I do the commission. Her only instruction was to do a “wedding scene with a funny cast of characters”. I needed more direction, so I had the idea of doing some kind of play on an iconic movie poster. I sent my friend a list of what I considered to be iconic movie posters (wish I had the list to share, I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on it, but I think I did it via gchat so I can’t find the original message) and from the list he selected the poster for Sam Raimi’s cult classic “Army of Darkness”. Here’s a link to that image if you want to get a flavor of what was modified from the original.

I changed the wardrobe to be wedding wardrobe and I replaced the chainsaw hand with a laptop (inside joke about my friend’s computer addiction). They both currently live outside of Seattle, so I added the space needle in there, and finally, I changed the skeletons into zombies. Someone told me that the two zombies holding onto the car have a passing resemblance to myself and the groom’s mother, but to be honest, I just don’t see it.

This is probably the first time that I’ve put this much work into something digitally. It’s also the first time that I’ve tried coloring entirely within Manga Studio/Clip Studio paint. I’d say I probably put 20 hours in on this piece and to be honest, I feel like I could have put in 20 more. I was afraid that if I did that though, I probably would have polished it a bit too much, which to a non-artist sounds like a great thing, but trust me, it’s not. It would lose some of it’s looseness and would be much more boring than how it ended up. I hope he likes it!

If you like this (and man I hope you do) and you want one of your own, I’ll be offering commissions as a reward for our next kickstarter which will be launching at the end of this month. If you are reading this after the kickstarter has launched and you missed the opportunity to back that level, please contact me through the site contact form or message me on twitter @edomanic.

Lots of new stuff coming your way

Hey folks,

I’ve been hard at work on a ton of creative projects lately and I’m almost ready to share them all with you. They include a new 3-page comic, some commissions, a custom designed and cut gameboard, and lots of doodles. For right now, here’s a picture of a meerkat eating mac and cheese that I drew for my friend’s birthday:

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Let’s talk soon,

Ed

 

How to create a page template in Manga Studio 5

In this video I show you how to create a page template in manga studio 5. Creating a page template in manga studio can be a huge time-saver. Especially if you regularly make files for print that are the same size (like standard comic pages). The example I use in the video is for the print on demand service “Ka-Blam” but the principles apply to making templates for any purpose.

New T-Shirt Design – Voting has begun!

I recently discovered that the deal site “woot” not only sells shirts, but does so by creating “derbies”. In the derby you get a theme the week before, create your design, and enter it once the contest opens. This week’s theme was “Halloween”. So I did sort of a take on innocence/evil. Semi-inspired by works of fiction like MacBeth. It’s three women dancing in the moonlight, but as this contest allowed glow in the dark, I decided to add a glow in the dark element. You can see the details of the design below and vote for it here (voting ends on Thursday at 12pm cst/1pm est). The only catch is that I think in order to vote you have to a woot member and you have to have bought something from them before. If my design is one of the top three I get $1000, plus $2 for every t-shirt sold after the first day of sales.

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daylight design
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night design
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T-Shirt Design #3 for this year’s City Made Fest in Andersonville

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This is the third entry in a series of t-shirt designs to sell at the City Made Festival in Andersonville. If you follow my intagram feed, these will seem familiar. Our group Northside Comic Artists will have a table there and will also be giving a workshop. Here’s my third design:

 

Let me know what you think of it. If you can’t make the festival, but want one, let me know and I can try to hook you up.

T-Shirt Design #2 for this year’s City Made Fest in Andersonville

The kickstarter continues. Funding should clear this weekend, which means we can start printing as early as next week.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am working on 2-3 t-shirt designs to sell at the City Made Festival in Andersonville. If you follow my intagram feed, these will seem familiar. Our group Northside Comic Artists will have a table there and will also be giving a workshop. Here’s my second design:

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Let me know what you think of it. If you can’t make the festival, but want one, let me know and I can try to hook you up.