I'm so super excited about some fancy devices that will help me in comic creation efficiency! For a Christmas present to myself, I got a brand new Intuos Pro by Wacom, and my comic artist friend Warner gave me his old A3 scanner because he got an upgraded scanner/printer. With these tools combined, I can conquer the world! ART BATTLING COMMENCE!
For awhile I'd been wanting a bigger scanner to scan whole comic pages but gave up because they were too pricey. Thus, with the free 8.5x11 scanner I found on my apartment doorstep (I'm too much of a cheapskate for my own good), I scanned large images in pieces and stitched them together in Photoshop. What a time waster! A few times I was able to access larger scanners for rush projects but that was lots of running around. But now I can easily scan 11x17 sized paper in the blink of an eye! Pictured above is the A3 Scanner, which uses Twain Driver. Works for both Mac and PC. Simple and easy to use because it does one thing and does it very well - scans big stuff!
I've also wanted to get a better Wacom tablet for awhile. Seeing ads for the Surface Pro 3 (where you draw directly on the screen) made me want to get one of those at first, but upon trying it out in Best Buy, it was much smaller than I expected. How can you create legit art on such a tiny screen? I've seen people do it, but it's not for me. The Best Buy techie recommended the Intuos family of tablets, and I'm pretty happy with it so far! Previously I used a Wacom Bamboo for digital coloring, but it's the most basic one (only $25). It worked well for solid coloring but I couldn't draw smooth lines for creating artwork SOLELY on the computer. Also, the pressure sensitivity sucks. And the pen nib always wore down too flat, which made my "brush" too blunt. Anyway I've been playing around with the Intuos Pro and it's pretty awesome so far! My goal is to create more comics solely digitally, which will be much faster!
It's serendipitous that I acquired these devices at the same time. As shown above, I've scanned an AER HEAD page and am playing around with digital inking. AER HEAD is drawn by hand on bristol, and is like 75% drawn, but I've had some hang-ups about changing scenes around and moving forward. But working digitally makes it SO much easier to edit! Yay for the UNDO command! And inking is pretty much like tracing with pizazz anyway. I've gotten frustrated with my traditional inking tools, like unexpected globs of ink plopping out of nowhere. Having to switch pens each time you want to change line widths (I find the brush to be too blobby for inking small works). Trying to draw a line and no ink will come out even when I just dipped it in ink. The list goes on. It'll still take awhile for me to master the Intuos and digital inking, but I think it's a step in the right direction. Mostly experimenting in Photoshop, and tried Illustrator but have had some problems. While Illustrator is great about smoothing the line, when I lift the pen from the tablet the line ends quite bluntly and not gradual like in Photoshop. Any comments on digital inking are appreciated! I've been looking at some online tutorials too.
WHOO that's a long post! So much to blog about on this topic!
Sometimes it's good to be thrifty, but when that thriftiness is holding you back from being productive, it's better to invest in tools that will make your life easier. If you're just entering a field, it's good to begin by seeing how you can get by on cheaper materials that work just fine but maybe they take more time. But once you're on the professional scope of your field, it's time to get serious and invest in some better tools. I'm not saying buy the most expensive things, because even though business expenses are tax deductible, you only have so much $ in your account. But growing in knowing yourself, your habits, and your field will help you to spend money more wisely in a way that will benefit you the most.