Drawing Test

This is a test of a slightly-different drawing technique.

Usually, I sketch in pencil, draw over it in black marker or ink, then scan that and clean it up in Photoshop. Afterwards, I add colour in Photoshop. This is how I did the rabbit background picture, and the four-page intro to Scaffoldworld.

It’s also a good way to make even quite a rough sketch presentable (this Toasterman sketch, for example).

Drawing of Toasterman trying to escape an underwater menace.

However, for Little Lost Part, I want to do something different.

My colours are going to be watercolour, applied over pencil sketches. I could add ink linework directly on top of the water colour, and scan that. This is how I’m doing the standalone illustrations in The Lonely Little Fridge.

However, for proper graphic-novel printing, the linework of a traditional comic should be black and clear… and printed overtop of the colour areas. This is ideally handled by printing it last, after all the colours are laid down. In the traditional printing world, this means it’s printed by a separate black “plate” after the four “CMYK” plates (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) that combine to handle the colour.

If I draw black linework onto the watercolour, I will be unable to fully separate it from the colours of the watercolour artwork after I scan it.

So I’ve come up with a way to essentially recreate Photoshop layers in paper: tracing paper!

I did a sketch in pencil, and coloured it with watercolour.

Then I taped a piece of tracing paper over it and drew on that in ink. The tracing paper was more transparent than I expected and I had no trouble seeing the painted drawing underneath. It was smoother than the watercolour paper, yet still had a texture that allowed me to control the pen. It worked unexpectedly well.

Now I could remove the linework and scan it separately from the colours.

And then I could bring them together again in Photoshop. (Some adjustment needed: levels are kind of off. I’ve got the linework layer in ‘multiply’ mode, but I’ve also got an adjustment layer on it to up the contrast, but the contrast adjustment seems to be affecting all layers, not just the linework…)