How to Make Comics Part 2

 Using Photoshop or another piece of image manipulation software to colour or letter your comics is an entirely optional step.

At some point, you will probably benefit from getting your drawings into a digital format if you want to reproduce them at some point, but this can be a straight forward case of scanning them in and sending them on.

I’ve met plenty of comic creators who still use inks and paints to colour their comics and they produce some beautiful work.

On the other hand, I’m a digital junkie and also use my cartoons on this site, so I need mine uploaded to a web-publishable format and so it makes sense for me to colour them in Photoshop.

In this post, I am going to take you through the steps that I go through to get my tortoises coloured in.

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I have picked up my fair share of “how to draw comics” books that purport to tell you all there is to know about making comics in the vain hope that by reading about making comics, I will become really good at it.  These are the type of Teach Yourslef books that instruct you in the manner of creating sequential art and tend to start with the materials that you need and build from there.

Although I have several books that vary in quality, they all have something in common:  They have all universally intimidated me in terms of the materials needed to the point that it has often scared me away from doing any significant practise.

My message to anyone who wants to draw cartoons, comics or just general illustrations is to follow the only piece of advice that I have found works for me.  Practise.  Just get on and draw something.

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I am very sorry for that green. It is a bit light-saber-y.

Matt Cubed was a comic that I created with the intention of making it incredibly easy to draw and something I could scribble out with minimal effort that would remain in black and white to make it easier to print.  The downside to this is that it reads like it was scribbled out with minimal effort.  It was however a lot of fun to make and I’ve heard a few people say they actually really like it.

The story is about a guy who gets pulled into his computer and must save it from the clutches of evil viruses and rogue programs.  Although it sounds like I’m ripping off Tron, I was actually thinking more about Reboot at the time.  It was never intended as anything serious or particularly deep, but there are a few nice panels in there and I do like a few of the characters.

The idea forced its way into my brain when I was trying to fix my housemate’s computer whilst particularly hung over and was surprised to be shown a nested installation of Windows and what appeared to be some form of evolving eco-system of programs that were the result of every old computer that my housemate had ever had having its hard drive copied onto its replacement, like some kind of digital parasite.

I was tempted to have a go at re-igniting Matt Cubed when Tron Legacy was announced and go for an updated aesthetic too, but of all my projects, this one is probably in the most “completed” state clocking in at three issues and I’m fairly keen to leave it there.  It does mean that Matt will remain stuck in his computer, but it could be worse.

Archived collections of the comics can be downloaded below in .rar format, unpackaged using WinRar.

Matt Cubed Issue 1.rar

Matt Cubed Issue 2.rar

Matt Cubed Issue 3.rar

Additional Notes:

I’m actually tempted to write and draw this just on the strength of that cover.

Whilst I was digging out my Matt Cubed archives, I rather excitingly found this cover image for my planned fourth issue that I never really started but had a good idea about.

It was basically going to be a comic that you could read forwards to the centre or backwards to the centre and would start from either end and was going to set up a secondary nemesis for Matt.  The “To Be Continued…” would be in the centre spread.

It was something I’ve seen done in a couple of children’s books that we had at school where there were two sides to the same story.  My favourite one involved a fisherman catching a fish that then gets away when read the first way, and a fish being caught by a fisherman and then escaping when read the other.