KickStarter Updates and Videos

The KickStarter for “Seeing Him,” the new webcomic made my Kia and myself, will end on December 15!

I made a video for the KickStarter on my own YouTube channel, which you can watch below:

We’re still not near our goal! So if you can, please donate and spread the word. You can get cool rewards like posters, stickers, or even a chance to get drawn in the comic.

But the best thing about funding Seeing Him is that you’ll help bring a story, featuring a trans man, to life.

Because there need to be more stories about and for trans men.

Again, the KickStarter ends December 15!

Here’s some art to show what the webcomic will look like when and if it’s funded:

seeing him trans man webcomic comic page preview
Click to enlarge (and read).

In other news, I’ll be updating my YouTube channel much more often. Hopefully the next update will be the blooper reel for the KickStarter video. After that, there’ll be a video showing off a sketchbook I finished recently.

For the rest of December, I’ll be finishing up the KickStarter, making commissions, and wrapping up presents. But the webcomics I do will still update regularly!

Here’s another crazy thing I’m doing: starting Monday next week, I’m updating this blog every day, from Monday to Friday.

I’ll be showing never-before-seen sketches, posting more videos, talking about comics (maybe even discuss some comics history), and who knows? Maybe I’ll write a blog post you suggest.

Leave suggestions for next week’s blog posts in the comments below!

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you on Monday.

New Rewards, New Sketches: A KickStarter Update

seeing him webcomic logo work in progress
Click to enlarge.

The Seeing Him KickStarter is still going, and so far we’ve raised $102. We still have a long way to go until December 15th. (I know I’ve been saying the 14th in previous posts. My bad.)

To that end, Kia (the writer on the project) and I added a new reward option: if you contribute $10 to the campaign, you can get an ebook of behind-the-scenes sketches, including…

  • character designs
  • sketches of Nyan Noodles Restaurant (where Kate and Adam meet)
  • behind-the-scenes development of comic pages
  • and more!

We also lowered the prices of some of the higher-priced rewards. To contribute, check it out. And help spread the word!

Here’s one of the sketches that will appear in the eBook sketchbook reward:

julianne character sketch for seeing him trans webcomic kickstarter
It’s a development sketch of Julianne, Kate’s best friend! Click to enlarge.

P.S. Thank you for putting up with all my blog posts about the KickStarter. Kia and I are just really hoping we can get this webcomic out into the world, because that would mean more positive trans representation – trans men need more comics for and about them.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you on Tuesday.

Seeing Him: Now on Kickstarter!

A few months ago, my sister, Kia, approached me and was like, “I have a new story I’m writing and I want you to draw it because it would look awesome!”

Ok, maybe she didn’t phrase it like that. But it was close.

So we worked together to build up this story a bit, and now, we’re raising money to get it off the ground!

seeing him webcomic logo work in progress
Click to enlarge.

What’s the story about?

“Seeing Him” is the story of Katy, a young lady who runs her own skating rink, but wants a little company in her life. So she meets a trans man named Adam at a Japanese noodle restaurant, and so begins a romantic comedy of unique and silly proportions.

Of course there are plenty of friends to help them along, like Greg, Adam’s friend and a tough guy who loves baking cupcakes.

greg from seeing him the trans man webcomic
Click to enlarge.

I love drawing Greg!

There are other friends, too, including Katy’s friends, Rachel and Julianne, who work at the skating rink.

character sketches from seeing him the trans man webcomic
Click to enlarge.

So what’s going on with this story right now?

Well, Kia and I are now raising funds on KickStarter to get this up and running as a webcomic online. The money raised will help pay us for making the project, as well as get you awesome perks, like stickers, bookmarks, and even posters and other cool prizes!

To give you an idea of how the comic will look when it’s funded and made, here’s a preview of page 9:

seeing him trans man webcomic comic page preview
Click to enlarge.

The both of us would love your support, whether you donate, spread the word about it on Facebook and Twitter, or share the project with your friends/family/readers/sentient pet dinosaurs.

The KickStarter will be up until around December 14th, and with your awesomeness, hopefully it can be funded!

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you on Friday.

How I Make Validation

Last time I spoke about How I Make Johnson & Sir. Today I want to show how I make a comic strip for Validation, the other webcomic I work on, because the process is a little different.

If you ever get lost in the technical bits (especially in the Photoshop section), I explain some of those steps in How I Make Johnson & Sir so hopefully the techno-lingo won’t be so confusing.

Today, I’ll show how I made strip #105.

Step 1: Get the Script

I don’t (really) write Validation. Christian does (though we often talk story ideas over). I wait for her to send the script over to me first, and then…

Step 2: Layouts

Sometimes I skip this step, depending on how simple or complex the strips are in the script. Since I work in three panels, it’s important to know where characters will be placed and where speech balloons will go, to make the strip as readable as possible. That way it won’t be so cluttered.

I did not do layouts for strip #105 because it was scripted in a pretty straightforward way, and I had an idea for how I wanted the strip to look.

However, I’ll show the layouts I did for #103, which had some weird camera angles.

validation comic layouts
click to enlarge

Step 3: Ready the Paper

I tend to do this step ahead of time. Thankfully I can get two strips from a single sheet of 9 inch by 12 inch Strathmore Bristol Vellum, which is my paper of choice for Validation. I trim the paper (to make it easier to fit on my scanner) and I’m good to go.

Step 4: Pencil the Strip

validation webcomic strip pencilled art
click to enlarge

Pretty straightforward. Although, if you notice two extra characters, one looks like me and one looks like my boyfriend. Fun fact!

When that’s done, I send the pencils to Christian (via DropBox) for approval. This is where any changes that need made can be done, though 99.9% of the time she gives the ok.

Step 5: Ink

validation webcomic comic strip inked artwork
click to enlarge

Once I get the ok, I ink!

To add a little depth, especially in panel 2, I made the foreground figures in thicker lines to make them pop more. I used a micron pen with a 1.0 width. The background figure in Panel 3 was drawn mostly with 0.5 and 0.3 width pens, with finer details in a 0.1 width micron pen.

Step 6: Color with Markers

My markers of choice are (from most preferred to least)…

  1. Copic markers
  2. Prismacolor markers
  3. Sharpies

I used to do the entire comic in marker, but now I only do half. Sometimes it’s because a marker died, the markers will not blend well for the background, or I need a color I don’t have a marker for. So I just color what I can.

Step 7: Scan and Tweak in Photoshop

validation webcomic comic strip color artwork in photoshop
click to enlarge

Once marker coloring is done, I scan the strip in at 300 dpi (dots per inch) and open it in Photoshop. The first thing I do is adjust the brightness and contrast (shown in the above picture). That way the strip isn’t so dim. Then I adjust the curves.

validation webcomic comic strip color artwork on photoshop
click to enlarge

Doing this will let the colors really pop.

Once those adjustments are done, I make a new layer in Photoshop and call it “EDITS”. This is the layer where I correct color errors I made with the markers, fix any wonky lines, and clean up smudges and spots.

Step 8: Color the Background

Then I make another new layer on top of that and call it “BACKGROUND”, because here’s where I add background color.

validation webcomic comic strip artwork in photoshop coloring the background
click to enlarge

If you notice, I adjusted the blending options for this layer. For “EDITS” I left those settings alone, but with “BACKGROUND” I set it to Color Mode: “Multiply” at a Fill Opacity of 100%.

The reason I do this is because Multiply mode actually keeps the lines clean while still coloring. It works like this:

Screenshot 2014-05-30 13.58.57

Rather than it looking flat and gross like this:

Screenshot 2014-05-30 13.59.08

Then I just color in the background colors as needed.

validation webcomic comic strip art work in photoshop coloring the background
click to enlarge

Step 9: Color the Rest.

Once backgrounds are done, I make yet another layer on top and call that “FLATS.” I also set this layer to Color Mode: Multiply and Fill Opacity at 100%. This is where I color in the things my markers missed, like Jim’s coat and the game table.

validation webcomic comic strip artwork being colored in photoshop.
click to enlarge

…Sometimes I have another file open to reference for color.

Step 10: Color the Shadows

This step is one I talked about a little bit in my previous tutorial, but here you’ll really see it in action.

I make a new layer on top, call it “SHADES,” and then set to Color Mode: Multiply and – here’s the surprise – Fill Opacity at 35%.

Notice it’s not at 100%? That’s because I don’t want the shadows to be overpowering. I also want the color of the shadows to blend, instead of getting any weird effects that would happen if I changed the paint brush opacity (yes, you can do that).

Once I do that, I color the shadows in, and it looks like this.

validation webcomic comic strip art being colored in photoshop
click to enlarge

I did something a bit unusual in Panel 2: I put the two figures closest to the reader in shadow. I did this to frame the picture and keep the focus on Ally and Kyle.

So now the colors are done! I save the file, and then flatten the image so all the layers merge. Then I make another new layer and save the file for lettering.

Step 11: Write the dialogue

For this step, I have the open file of the script handy so I can refer to it.

Then I write the dialogue and captions.

validation webcomic comic strip lettering done in photoshop
click to enlarge

I try to arrange them in such a way that they won’t block too much of the art, and to ensure it can be read easily.

Then, once everything is written and checked for spelling, I get to the bottom layer, make a new layer, and start placing the balloons and boxes with the rectangle tool.

validation webcomic comic strip speech balloons and dialogue added to the final art
click to enlarge

I use the rounded rectangle for dialogue and the plain rectangle for narration.

To make the tail for that balloon, I got to the bottom layer again, made a new layer, and painted it in.

Once all of that is done, I merge the layers to flatten it out, and then…

Step 12: Save the File!

I save it first at its current size and call the file “Validation105_large.”

Then I adjust the image size.

click to enlarge
click to enlarge

The large file is at 300 dpi, which is the right size for print, but it isn’t too web-friendly. So to make it nice and tidy for the website, I shrink it from 300 dpi to 100 dpi. And I save that file as “Validation105_small.”

I send the finished strips to Christian via DropBox, and shazam! I’m done!

I hope you enjoyed looking at my process, and I hope you found something useful from it!

I’ll see you again on Wednesday.

Interviews and News Galore

Validation77_promo

During Phoenix Comicon, Christian and I were interviewed for many, many sites.

Now, I finally have some links to share with you.

First off is the review at Land of the Nerds for our webcomic Validation. The review also discusses the “Fake Geek Girl” phenomenon and how our webcomic tackles that issue.

Then we got an interview with Watch Play Read discussing our webcomic, ladies creating comics,  and getting published. The photo there makes me look like a class-A dork, but that’s ok.

And Christian and I got interviewed by Comic Book Resources about the making of Validation.

It was awesome to be interviewed by so many cool and smart people.

Thank you to the interviewers, to the websites and their readers, and especially to you, reader.

You’re awesome!