The Art of Ryan Francis

The art website of Ryan Francis


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Let’s Make A Comic Story Part 7: Lettering

Lettering is definitely a discipline that I’ve never been taught when I was in college. But, after hunting for a variety of articles and getting some tips the few pro letterers I encounter in my life, I’ve managed to teach myself how to letter with some amount of competence. I’m lettering this as I prep my ink stuff as I don’t plan to color the comic at the moment.

The first step is to save my cropped unedited artwork as high res PNGs. Since, I’m making them with print in mind, I need the images in as high of a resolution as possible so it won’t get hurt too much when I reduce the final comic down to print or web.

I usually do my lettering in Adobe Illustrator as it gives me more options to mess with my text than just Photoshop or Manga Studio. I make a new file with six art boards to the pixel size of the pages I plan to import.

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Let’s Make A Comic Story Part 5: Touch Ups

I’ve finished my Inking and it’s time to touch up my stuff. It’s more or less my technique of how I edit black line art on the computer.

I usually scan my pages in a PDF format at 600 dpi and I use Photoshop to import the PDF pages.

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2018: A year in review


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2018: A Year in Review.

If you’re reading this I finished inking and coloring my comic and I have it printed and up for sale at my Etsy store!

This year has been fairly progressive in terms of the stuff I wanted to do. I completed Shirley’s Day after three years of on and off working. Motivated by that, I’m well on my way to making more comics to prove that that first one wasn’t a fluke, and so far I’m burning through it faster than I did my first time which shows immediate progress on my part. It’s still slower than I want, but that insane comic artist speed should come with time put in.

Here are a bunch of last bit inking process stuff that I did for my spoiler pages.

In general, I worked on these pages out of order, mainly knocking out the art I felt wpuld be easiest to complete as I went. I thunk it results i. A wildly inconsistent look in a few ways, Ive gotten feedback and comments on the final comic that the characters get off-model and change proportions often. I gotta work on that nore.

I was fretting the last pages as they were the larger splash pages, but it went easier than I thought. I don’t draw birds often, so I’m not happy with how the pigeons looked for this final page.

I was a bit at a loss at how to render a shiny car in ink, I think I should’ve left it alone since I colored it as a white car in the end.

I’m a bit of a jerk taking up a whole library table with my pages. I’ve never gotten complaints so I think it’s fine. The library is pretty much my office, after I drop my brother of at his part time job, I save gas by hanging in the library near where he works. I feel more comfortable working on art in a library than sitting in some coffee shop, plus I can find books that I’m intrested in buying later.

A bit of flat coloring work on Page 6. I’ve never felt comfortable about coloring my art but since I felt I needed to prove to myself that I can finish a comic I push through. The comic works more with the color since the joke is mostly a visual trope in media.

Again, I regret inking the car with so much black since I ended up coloring the car white. I mostly chose white because the toy car I have for a model is white and I save myself the trouble of deciding colors.

Page 5 was worked on after six. I salvaged my colors for mom from an older drawing I did a while ago.

I did a bit of looking at sunsets images and their colors, so I can establish that it’s the afternoon time, again taking advantage of coloring being a good storytelling tool even if I feel I suck at using it.

In the end, I’m not one-hundred percent happy with my final comic, but the fact that it’s actually finished and printed is something that still needs to be acknowledged. I’m a bit down about not being able to finish drawing and inking a page in a day, like other artists I find.
It’s dumb to go comparing myself negatively to every artist who drops a picture remotely above a rough sketch, so I’m doing more to put forth the effort into reducing my time online and just focusing on what I’m capable to putting out in between working a night job and doing housekeeping stuff. I have to remember that Shirley’s Day is my first comic, I shouldn’t dismiss the fact that I stuck with completing it and not leaving it as an idea my head like a majority of people.

I stopped trying force myself to post art every day to feed some stupid algorithm that may or may not reward the “perfect attendance” or chasing the approval of every person I meet for some dumb hunger for attention for my art. It harbors my jealousy, frustration, and self-hatred to unhealthy means and I have to put it to myself to not be like that.

I’ll admit that doing that has put a dent in some art things I do regularly, namely my art streams. I initially stopped streaming because I wanted to figure out my tech more and do some work to make it prettier, like some more custom animations and to figure out my audio situation (music or no music?). It snowballed into dealing with a change in my job position and schedule and ultimately dealing with the heavy holiday season of the package delivery industry.
I’ve been thinking of consolidating my art to this website to cultivate more activity here and to stop being beholden to social media sites that have the freedom to throttle or block access to the art I post. I also feel like I’m just wasting my time throwing my work into the void of Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Doing this might even encourage me to learn HTML5 and CSS to go back to just having a good, unique looking website for people to go to for my art and I encourage you to do that as well if you’re an artist or any other creative person. I’ll keep these blogs up simply for archival reasons, but I am likely going to slow down activity to my socials as I build up a better foundation for a personal website that’s not just a portfolio website.
I still want to make tutorials because many ask me and I want to be as informative as I can. I’ve written an article on my website about editing comic inks from a scanned image and I’ve built up a recommended book list for learning art, a few articles about my process making some of my art, and it’s surprisingly time-consuming to write it out clear manner. That being said, I’d love to have the best of both worlds to make tutorial videos and articles to help people out and do streams to answer question that I haven’t been able to tackle. I’m still open to suggestions, so message me anywhere you can find me with things you might want to learn from.
Despite my dumb perfectionism, this is all not a complete disappointment though as I put myself and my art more out there this year; more than I’ve ever bothered to do for the last few years, ultimately resulting in selling my art at my first convention ever! I’ve actually enjoyed being at a con for the first time in my life and it’s nice to just say hi to people and tell them about my work and not have to awkwardly wander everywhere at a loss of what to do! Next year I’m exhibiting more cons in the future such as Comic Con Revolution Chicago and Indiana Comic Convention as well as a few more which I’ll announce as I confirm them. I hope to have newer comics ready by that time as well!
I want 2019 to be a bigger turning point for me as an artist. I’m crystallizing myself in more of the comic angle because I want to get better at making stories. I’ll still tackle whatever freelance opportunities tap me on the shoulder and see about accepting commissions, but in general I want to produce more comics, make a one shot, participate in zines, make a webcomic, create tutorials, or even learn how to write a novel, these all seem doable to me since I can see the possible result clearer than I would if I did something else. I’d love to be able to do this full time making my own work through my own vision, I likely won’t achieve that in a year, but it still never hurts to shoot for a pipe dream or an attainable goal.


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Let’s Make A Comic Story Part 2: Reference Hunting

I continue showing off my process of making a comic where I adapt a story of a weird encounter at GameStop.

This section I’ll be demonstrating gathering references.

Since the story primarily takes place in GameStop, I gathered references of the store chain.

I also did a bit of hunting of how I want the Fedorable Man(That’s my name for him) to look. It’s a funny thing to design a stereotypical “Neckbeard” nerd character. There’s many ways to tackle it, and there’s no one way to make any character.

I grabbed a few refs of fat people and how fat works. I especially got some refs of baby hands as they seem the fattest of the hands.

When I think of the horror he eventually turns into, I imagine a fat, bloated blobbed nightmare, like The Boomer zombie enemy from left 4 Dead or Nurgle the Plague God from Warhammer.

Reference hunting also gives me an excuse to hunt for anatomy references for the girl’s butt (These are the safe for work refs I’ll show you ;P). Don’t spend too much time.

Since there’s some minor fighting actions, I also looked around for fist punching and choking references. This is the best time to restudy drawing hands and fists.

Some Refs for the crazy fluid attack!

And for when I can’t find a specific picture to use as a reference, I take my own pictures as references!

I gather more references as i make the comic which I’ll demonstrate during the making comic process.

Now it’s time to start drawing the comic!


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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!

I have a rough idea of what the story might be, so it’s time to gather references and establish a look!


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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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