The Art of Ryan Francis

The portfolio website of Ryan Francis


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Holiday Sale!

I have a new printing of Shirley’s Day is up for sale on my Etsy Store!

I also have a holiday sale for the month of December where it’s 25% off with free shipping!

Thank you for your support for all of these long years!

Please look forward to what I have next in the future!

In other news, my progress on my Gamestop comic is slowing down a bit due to my day job. I hope to pick up more after December.

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Let’s Make A Comic Story Part 1: Thumbnail Sketches

I’m struggling to write a new comic, so I decided to adapt an existing story to test myself. I’ve been working on a potential self-anthology of the dumb greentext stories that come from 4chan, Reddit, and Imgur because they get so outlandish sometimes and they’re a good source of visuals for me.

So I’ll be working at this comic story and recording my process as I go!This post is about Pre-Production and Thumbnailing.

This is the original greentext story.

I can picture this exchange in my head and I can see a decent visual of what I want to draw. So I begin some thumbnail drawings.

These are scans of small thumbnail drawings I made in my SketchWallet. It contains a 3.5×5.5 sketchbook, so it’s quite small. More pros usually will make 1 inch thumbnails on a sheet of copy paper which is fine and dandy as long as you stay small and quick. You really shouldn’t spend more than 5 minutes on a page.

The point of these thumbnail page sketches is to quickly figure out the broad scope of the entire story as a rough whole package. Because it’s so small you won’t be caught up in details and waste time on things that don’t matter yet.

This thumbnailing and pre-production time is also a good time to experiment with panel shapes and layouts before committing them to actual pencil drawings or inks. Here, I put little notes to myself to readjust the panel layout, mark an important panel or piece of dialogue to emphasize, or just tell myself the page isn’t working.

Thumbnails are mainly for your own reference to remember the direction you decided for your story, your writer to give them a rough idea of how they story might be taken visually, or an editor who might give you suggestions about how to improve the story layout and flow. As the person creating these bad drawings for yourself, and it’s entirely you’re choice to show off your thumbnails to the public or not.

After all this, I decided to do some editing in Photoshop to figure out the story better and put some notes down. This is a larger edited version of my thumbnails (click for the full size).

I’m showing my progress as I go because I’ve always been interested in the process of making a comic from start to finish and I hope you’ll be interested too!

Galaxy Comic Book and Fantasy Art Expo 2019


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Galaxy Comic Book and Fantasy Art Expo 2019

I’ll be exhibiting my work for the first time at the Galaxy Comic Book and Fantasy Art Expo on September 22!

It will be at the Joliet Historical Museum where you’ll meet a bunch of local Chicago-land artists, writers, sellers of comic and pop culture stuff, and of course, meet me in person for the first time!

There, I will be debuting Shirley’s Day, where you can pick up a signed printed book straight from me! But if you aren’t able to be there, I have the issues for sale as a print or digital piece! This is one of the few ways you can support me and my future work as an independent creator!

I’m excited and nervous, but all the efforts lead to all of this! So if you want to hang, high five me, have a chat, or support me in my future endeavors, stop by Galaxy this Friday!

I hope this will be the first of many events!


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Scanning and Editing Ink Art

Many have asked me to do a tutorial on getting good line art and scans from my traditional artwork to the computer. This is my rough workflow for working with my art; it usually takes me around 20 minutes to finish if it’s a smaller piece. I will break it down as much as I can so you too can make good scanned artwork!

Scan your Artwork

You should find a scanner that can fit the paper in the scanner. If the paper can’t fit, scan the page in pieces and edit them together. I’ll make an article on this at a different time.

 

At the moment, I’m using the scanners at the public library. It’s an Avision FB6280E A3 Book Scanner from what I’ve looked up. Able to support pages up to 11 inches by 17 inches and can scan at a resolution up to 600 dpi, which is great for working with art in! Since buying them normally costs a pretty penny, I settle for taking advantage of our tax dollars and using local library resources!

For this scan, I used 9 inch by 12 inch Strathmore Vellum Bristol Paper. It feels good to sketch in it, handles ink decently, and Copic markers don’t bleed through it that badly!

The scan bed is large enough to fit a 11 inch by 17 inch page so it’s large enough to fit comic pages I make!

The library software for the scanner has great options to let me save to my own USB drive or email it to myself if the file size is small enough.

These days, I often scan in PDF since I’m usually scanning multiple pages of art and Photoshop can open the files easily so that’s a benefit for me.

Your scans should be at a really high dpi to work with. The minimum you should scan at is 300 Dots per Inch, any lower and you’ll have to work with a blurry, pixelly mess.. A mass majority of printers scan at 300 DPI, so if you have any that can go higher, you take that up! Though the higher the DPI, the long it will take to scan, so unless you’re drawing a digital Sistine Chapel, you should stick with 600 DPI at most.

In the case of this library software, scan at Photo Quality since it’s the highest it can go.

Back Up Raw Scan Files

These are the raw unedited scans (Reduced for web looking.) I always scan in Color, Greyscale, and Black,  but I tend to always edit the Color scan because I’ll have more control over the post processing. It just feels good to cover my bases.

In case of misfortune, make backups of your scans. You never know if you’ll lose the original sheet or make a change in the future that you regret and want to go back. Email the file to yourself, save it to Dropbox, copy it to an external hard drive, do all of it, slip the files anywhere you can so you can foolproof yourself.

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New Cards

I don’t have much to speak about in terms of things I’ve done over the week. I’m still waiting for the prints of Shirley’s Day, so as I wait for that I’m working on this animatic music video. Due to some filing issues, I had to spend most of the week renaming and reassigning missing footage files. I only wanted to add captions but things pop up and you gotta deal with them I suppose.

A few things I’ve got done over the week:

After seven years of not doing it, I finally got some new business cards printed courtesy of Primo Print. I mostly used my Gogh the Goat Wizard painting since this is my shtick for right now. It’s a bit boring but my cards have the right information now.

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News of the World

There hasn’t been much for me to talk about these weeks.

For those who haven’t heard before, I finished my comic, Shirley’s Day, and it’s stated to release for print around September 11th (you probably will need a reminder).

But, you can buy a digital version on Etsy to support me! It’s 16 pages of content, which includes some behind the scenes stuff that I felt I couldn’t post online due to the nature of the story I was telling.

In this time, I’m in the process of working on many different things:

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7/15/2018 The Home Stretch

Bad news is that I made slightly less progress than I wanted on my stream painting this week. It’s not horrible, I managed I put down some rough colors for the characters, but I feel like I need to examine the color relationships a bit more.

 

But the good news is that, I’ve finished all of the interiors of Shirley’s Day! All that is left is to finish work on the cover, arrange the pages for mass print and I can finally have it complete!

Some sketches I made over the last week but I still haven’t posted on this site yet.

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