The Art of Ryan Francis

The portfolio website of Ryan Francis


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Let’s Make A Comic Story Part 4: Inking

It’s inking time! Since I’m inking my own art, I blue lined my pages making it faster to get to the inking!

I want to ink this comic with the nibs that I have at hand: a Speedball #513EF Nib, Zebra Manga G nib, and a Speedball #101 Imperial nib.  I still have a holder from my crappy set of Speedball calligraphy nibs. I’m not sure if the holders make that huge of a difference other than being able to hold certain sized nibs, so I wouldn’t know if this it’s any special. I use all of this with a large 16 FlOz Bottle of Blick Black Cat Waterproof India Ink.

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Let’s Make A Comic Story Part 3: Penciling

Writing these tutorials is a bit of an undertaking but I’m doing my best to be as clear and informative as I can so let me know in the comments if there’s anything you need help with.

After grabbing ups some references, It’s time to get started laying out the comic in the big paper!

I’m using Strathmore Smooth Bristol Board Paper. It’s lined for comic printing. I use these large binder clips to keep my paper on top of the rest of the pad for “cushion.”

At the start I’m marking down the rough areas of composition with non-photo blue pencil. This part is a bit newer addition to my workflow as I’m testing my ability to do this quickly. I’ll admit it’s a bit hard to see in a photo but I’m doctoring the photo in these demonstrations to hopefully be easier to see.

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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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My Current Supply List

As of writing this post, this is my list of tools and supplies that I currently use.

Paper and Pads

8.5 x 11 Copy Paper – Copy Paper is totally serviceable for sketching if you don’t have or want a sketchbook. A bunch of stores with an office supply section should have 8.5 x 11 Copy Paper, otherwise that is not much of an office section. Obviously, it’s a lower quality paper, and using anything further than a pencil will cause bleeding and curling, but it’s still the best ever option for learning or practicing art ever.


Sketch Wallet – It’s a wallet…THAT CAN HOLD A SKETCHBOOK! It can fit any 3.5 x 5.5 sketch or notebook. Between this and my phone, I have so much pocket space! My only real critique is that it’s cumbersome for holding actual cash. Despite this, this wallet is a good item to have if you want to practice sketching more often. Having a sketchbook on hand at certain times can make a huge difference.

 

 

Crescent Rendr Softcover Sketchbook – I had a 5×7 and I uses 3.5 x 5.5 sketchbook in my wallet. A great thing about this sketchpad is that markers will not bleed through the paper, letting you draw and color on both sides of a page! Since this isn’t marker paper, you’ll have a smaller window of time to blend marker colors without a colorless blender. Ink also has a bit of a spread, so you need to watch out for fuzzy lines. It’s definitely a cheaper option than Moleskine sketchbooks, and with better paper in my opinion.

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