Sunday, January 13, 2019

Ever Wonder How I Do It?

When I make a comic, I start by building the character(s). In the old “stick-figure” days, the characters were made from scratch every time, but these days I have extremely large image files with all the pieces that make up any given character. I select and move these pieces around to form the completed pose and expression. Sometimes there’s a bit of airbrushing. Occasionally I’ll revise and update the character’s components if I discover a new way to make it look even better.

After that, I will select or build the scene(s). Again, in the old days I made the sets in the bitmap editor, but these days all the backgrounds come from a modified 3D game engine. Using my own textures, I’ve built several buildings. Brandon’s house is actually based on my own home, but the office building is an original design. So I load one of my maps, move to the point where I want to set up the scene, and take a screen shot. I then load the scene into the bitmap editor and tweak it as necessary. To be honest, I re-use a lot of those screenshots because “they work”.

The next step is to resize the character(s) into the scene(s). This is just a trial and error thing to find that spot and size that looks right. If the set would overlap onto the character, such as Brandon’s legs under the desk, I will carefully select the part that overlays and make a copy of it. After the character is placed in the scene, the copied section is pasted back on top of the character. I might even include a custom prop or two and paste them into the scene for good measure.

Using the square select tool, I would then crop the scene(s). There’s a lot to consider here too, like don’t cut off the feet, or putting a little extra space above their heads. It then gets resized to fit a template that will hold either one, two, or three panels. Carefully I paste the panel(s) onto the template.

Now comes the dialog. I have a speech bubble template that I created. I type in what the character is saying and copy/paste the bubbles onto the comic, taking great care to position them so they read left to right, top to bottom, and don’t cover anything important. After that I apply the tails and aim them at the character’s mouth. Finally, I clean up any stray pixels and add in the title of the strip.

Once the panel or strip is complete, I’ll save that version, and then make a copy that gets resampled to a smaller size for uploading to the web. My original stays with me as a kind of “Master” file in case there’s ever a problem. Since the originals are of a higher resolution, they might also be useful if I ever need to print a comic or make a T-Shirt.

Of course this is a rather time consuming process. Believe it or not, a single character on a single panel can take 30 minutes or more. A three panel strip with multiple characters in each panel can take several hours. Of course I also look for any time saving tricks along the way, such as reusing part of a character’s pose and the set, but making the comic is still embarrassingly time consuming.

Well, I really hope you found that interesting. If you did, be sure to click on that thumbs up button, and be sure to subscribe to our channel so that you’ll never miss another episode. As always, thank you for watching.

Man, I watch too much mBlip.

Settling Into the New Place

I wanted to mention if you are still having security certificate issues with this site, you might try clearing your browser’s cache. It could still be using the old certs from the previous host, and of course that’s not going to fly on the new server. The address should always immediately forward you to without any errors.


The daily jokes for this week were provided by George. Thanks, George. It means a lot. If anyone else would like to add jokes to the site, you can do so on our submission page, or send an email to



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