Quick Tips for Webcomics | Katie Murray | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Creating a comic stockpile


    • 3.

      Using and making 3d models


    • 4.

      Specialized brushes


    • 5.

      color swatches


    • 6.

      Simplifying backgrounds


    • 7.



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About This Class

In this class I will go over some helpful comic making tips I've learned over the year. These things have saved me a lot of time, which is why I want to teach them to you so we can all make more comics in less time. 

Here's what will be covered:

  • Creating a comic stockpile
  • Using and making 3d models
    • I explain what programs you can use to make or find 3d models
  • Specialized brushes
    • Where to find good brushes and how to make one yourself
  • Color swatches
  • Ways to simplify a background

Who am I:

My name is Katie. I am an illustrator, graphic designer, and comic artist who has been creating and posting comics weekly for over a year.

Social media and comics:




Music Attribution:

On My Way | Still Awake |Morning Routine | by Ghostrifter Official  https://soundcloud.com/ghostrifter-official

Music promoted by https://www.chosic.com/free-music/all/

Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0


Floating Castle | by Purrple Cat https://purrplecat.com/

Music promoted on https://www.chosic.com/free-music/all/

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)



Meet Your Teacher

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Katie Murray

Illustrator and Graphic Designer


Hello, my name is Katie. I'm an illustrator and comic artist. My goal is to help make classes that expand your creative side of life.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: Hello and welcome to this quick tips class on making low comics. I've been making comics for the past year and have learned a lot of helpful tips that end up saving me a lot of time. So I'd like to share them with you before we get started. Let me say that the comic that I'm going to show you that I've learned from is called sugar and store. It's something that I've been making for awhile. And also that I have parakeets with me in the room. So you may hear them trip from time to time, but they just want to join in on the conversation. So with that, let's get started. 2. Creating a comic stockpile : As you draw new episodes, you may end up having scenes that take place in the same place. For me, my comic mainly takes place in an adventure shop. So after I've drawn a background, I like, I end up copying and placing it into an asset document. What I want to have my characters in the same place. Again, I look through this file to find a background that works. And if I can't find it background that works for a specific scene I have in mind. Then I will either draw it from scratch or end up taking assets or objects from this folder or files and stitch them together to make a new background from it. This takes a lot of time to build up. But as you draw and know that your characters are going to come back to a specific location. Then set those backgrounds aside so you don't have to sift through multiple panels and episodes to find it again. The same goes for your characters. I find drawn my main character in the same angle often whenever I have talking scenes. So I have a page full of my favorite drawing of that character that I can copy and paste into for new episodes. Now, if you've made a character reference sheet for your character, then you can easily reference that, which will help keep the proportions and style the same throughout the comic. But over time you can always add to it with different angles or expressions or anything else that you feel that you're going to use again for your character. Here is an example of what I mean to have a document full of backgrounds. Basically right here, these are all backgrounds I've used in previous episodes that I often will copy and paste into new episodes. I've ended up making it a lot throughout the year of creating it. And there's still a lot more I can add to it. But if I ever wanted to make a new scene, what I also like to do is first let's just go to a new document like right here. And I just want to make a small scene with a background in it. So I'm just going to make a simple background color. Course. I'm going to use whatever background color this is. And then with these pictures right here, I can stitch together a new picture. Of course you want to make sure you keep the position of all these objects the same. Because I want to keep the background because this in with every panel. But if you're just making a quick little Month up for something, and this would be a great option to do. There you go. Now I just have this similar background which I can place a character right here. I find this to be a great time-saver because I often draw these characters in the same places. So since I already have backgrounds to pull from, it makes creating comics much quicker. As you can see for some of these panels like right here, the backgrounds aren't finished because usually I would have a character standing right here. I can always copy and paste these panels into new documents and then edit them however I please. So it does take time to create a large stockpile of background images. But as you make more and more episodes, it gets more and more easier for backgrounds in the same locations. 3. Using and making 3d models: If you don't have enough drawings to work from with previous episodes, then you can try making 3D models. I know not everyone knows how to do this. However, with the help of Blender, a free 3D modeling program, you can experiment and try it out yourself. You can also try using a program called SketchUp, which is another 3D program, which focuses on interior and exterior house modeling. If you want to make a dynamic background or create a variety in a scene that's already been established in the past. Using a 3D model can help with that. Honestly, it doesn't even have to be all that polished. You can simply block out a few shapes, create your camera angle, and then take a screenshot and trace over the lines for the perspective. If you are using Clip Studio Paint than I would highly recommend using their built-in 3D models. Not only can you bring in 3D models for people, you can also go to their asset store and find polished wants to please write in your scene. It may be confusing to learn all this at first, but once you have the basics down, it can be a great time-saver. If creating 3D models from scratch is a bit too hard for you, then I would recommend using 3D objects viewers. This is a great tool to have when drawing characters or objects in hard perspectives. An example of a site like this is called Sketchfab. You can search for whatever you need in a 3D object is available for it. However, keep in mind the licensing and prices here, because many of these objects here needs to be bought. If you have an important item that keeps showing up, like maybe a sword or a specific kind of cup, I guess. Investing in buying or even making a 3D model of it will help speed up your drawing time as well as keep a consistent appearance. Here is an example of a 3D model I've made. Ended up making this in SketchUp. And it's for my comic, just for the interior of the store. Now as you can see, if I zoom out, not all of it is complete. I have lots of missing windows and walls here, but that's okay because all I really need to do is get the perspective from this. So if I wanted to use this for my comic, then I would find an angle I like. Let's say if I wanted to look through this window, zoom around, setup how I like it, and then I would end up screenshotting this, pasting it into Photoshop and then tracing all the little designs in details. This helps if you wanna get a cool perspective shot for your comic or speed up the process of drawing backgrounds to begin with does take time to learn, but it is very helpful. And with SketchUp, you could also save some of your specific locations. Like let's say I have this little scene right here. Or you can have different angles state as well in case you want to repeat something later. 4. Specialized brushes: Another helpful tip would be to use specialized brushes. If you have places with repeating textures like bricks on a wall or places with a lot of foliage, then having brushes that can make detailed areas in a single stroke is amazing. Some brush pens that I like to use are from Dylan Ellie cruises brush pack. They are free on her gum road, but I would recommend checking out all the other stuff she has available because she has a lot of great resources to look from. If you have a more painterly style, then these will work just great. If you have a more cartoony or anime style and let me show you how to stylize them. Here we have a blank canvas. I'm just going to make a new layer and bring up one of the brushes. Go to Bush, and then I'm just gonna go to treat one on its own. Very nice brush. But if I wanted to make an outline of it, then I will double-click this layer, go into my strokes. And then what I like to do is let's just make a dark blue or maybe green color. Set it to multiply. Make sure the position is on the outside, and then set the size to a very small number. Now I'm going to click Okay, and then once I start drawing, it now has its own built-in outline. And if I press this button right here, to always use pressure for opacity. When I draw it, it draws on very dark. And the more pressure I put on it, the lighter it gets. This is great if you just want to throw in some quick background trees. But I would also recommend going to the other brushes and will be varying it up a bit. Adding a few here and there, or just experimenting. Then if you wanted to make a, another outline on some of this inner parts, than what I would do is just make a new layer, add that same stroke on it. And then whatever I do here, make this a bit bigger, has its own outline. As you can see that it's a bit harsh. So what we can do is go back into our layer settings, go to stroke, and we can just decrease the opacity. So if you wanted to, you could make layers on this tree. And then from here may look a little sloppy or you may not want to edit these lines anymore. So sometimes, but I like to do is just take all these layers and merge them down. Now this will bake the outline into the drawing itself so it's a bit destructive. However, if you just wanted to make it quick tree and then blend some of these areas around. Then you can easily do that. However, if you're doing a lot of scenes that it may be easiest to keep those outlines in place. Here are a few more quick examples. I may just while experimenting, it's pretty easy to make trees or brushes or any other sorts of foliage with quick outlines. If you can't find good brushes that match your art style, I would recommend making them yourself. Let me show you how I made this plant brush for another comic I'm making. Here, I drew a single plant. I want to make a big bush of this. So what I'm going to do is first make a new canvas. And then we're just going to make it around 500 by 500 pixels. I guess 300 resolution. It doesn't need to be big at all because it's going to turn into a brush. So from here, I'm going to copy my color layer over here. I don't want any of those outlines anyway, so I'm just going to copy the color itself, which has all the shading in it. Now, you can clean up these little lines if you want stuff. But for this demonstration, I'm going to leave it as is from here. I'm going to add a color gradients and just make it black and white. And then adjust the colors so there's more black and white showing, so it's more contrast. Now the darker it is, the less transparent this brush is gonna be. So just keep that in mind that all the white areas are gonna be transparent. That's good enough. Yeah, of course, I don't want the end of this to be cut off. So I'm also just going to scale it down a bit. And then from here I'm going to go to Edit, Define Brush Preset. And then you can add your brush whatever you want. I'll just call this leaf brush. Now, if we were to go to a new canvas and then try our brush out, it doesn't work quite well. You can stamp it, but it's still isn't what we want. So to fix that, we're going to go into the settings. Up here in the brush. You click this little folder which will bring up our brush settings. So to begin with, I'm going to go to brush tip shape and space it out a little bit. Then I'm going to add some shape dynamics. I would recommend messing around with these settings and find ones that you like. You can change the diameter of it, the angle that is going to show all those sorts of things. Then with that, try testing it out here, which looks more like I wanted to a whole bunch of bundle up leaves. Now we could also add some color dynamics just so it's not all one flat color. Again, you can just like mess around with these settings and find ones that you like. It's bringing the hue and saturation up a little bit, see how that looks. It's subtle, but creates more color variation. Before doing anything else, I'm going to right-click. Go and press this little plus button and save this as a new brush. Because if it were to click on a different brush right now, it won't save our settings. So I'm just going to click Okay, and then right here at the bottom, we have it. Now if we wanted to do that same trick that we did earlier, where we make an outline with their brush. You can double-click are transparent layer. Add a stroke. Press. Okay? And then if we were to try to draw on it, we now have a new brush. Honestly, I'd recommend just playing around with this and making a whole bunch of brushes yourself, depending on what you need. Then to keep from having a repetitive pattern, I would recommend making many different variations of this type of leaf so you can place it in however you like. One thing to keep in mind that is, if we zoom in, these lines are very jagged. That's because in our original lose shape that we made, I wasn't very specific with how these lines ended and they're kinda messy and sloppy. So it ended with our final lines being sloppy as well. So just keep that in mind. If we're making a simple background brush that won't be seen at large sizes, then you're good to go. 5. color swatches: When drawing comics, you're going to have to color a lot of repeating characters and places. So I would recommend using color swatches. It's probably has a different name depending on what program you're using. But it's a place that has all the colors you use on a regular basis. Here in Photoshop, I made color swatches of my characters, color scheme. I put the little tab right here and I labeled it Rachel, which is the name of my characters. We have some browns for her hair, skin color, clothes for her clothes, as well as a few shading colors, which I could write here. This makes it so much easier to keep up with the consistency of characters having to flip from one picture or another. Because it's all right here in the same document. If you have a lot of repetitive characters, I would recommend making their own swatches and cooking them as well. 6. Simplifying backgrounds: If you are looking for some more simple comic tips, then here's one. Not every panel needs a background. If you establish early on in the scene where the character is our than having a few blink backgrounds where the characters are just talking won't distract the reader. They are pretty good at connecting the dots and know that a character is still in the last environment they saw. So give yourself a break and maybe just make a flat color or a few simple shapes in the background. If you have a long scene that takes place, then be sure to bring that background back every now and then, which will remind the readers where the characters are. Some simple background ideas. It could be a flat color, gradient. A few simple background objects like branches of a tree or rectangles to represent like buildings or bricks. You can even copy a small section of your main background image and place it in a smaller panel. Maybe even blur it a bit to keep the characters in focus. If your backgrounds are a little too detailed. You can even opt to have no background at all. I've seen panels of characters with nothing behind them and it works just as fine. At the end of the day it feel free to draw whatever you want. Let your backgrounds be as detailed as you want or none at all. It's up to you. 7. Outro: That concludes our quick tips class on making comics. I hope you guys learned something new in this class and are able to speed up your comic making progress. If you're curious about the columns that I was showing, again, is called sugar in Swords over on web tins. I'll put a link down below in the description. And I hope you have a great day and make lots of comics. Bye-bye.