Photoshop for old school comics artists

Glenn Hauman

Glenn is VP of Production at ComicMix. He has written Star Trek and X-Men stories and worked for DC Comics, Simon & Schuster, Random House, arrogant/MGMS and Apple Comics. He's also what happens when a Young Turk of publishing gets old.

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10 Responses

  1. Delmo Walters Jr. says:

    Clever.I thought this was going to be some quick tutorial.

  2. mike weber says:

    Wonder hos long that took to set up.

    • Glenn Hauman says:

      Probably not that long– it was all done in Photoshop, amiright?

      • mike weber says:

        I don't think so – looks like an actual photo to me.But even so, you'd have to photograph all that stuff and assemble the bits…Take a look at this one – guaranteed no Photoshop or other modification of the image – a completely unretouched image. "dirty work" in creating that image is probably a combination of carefully-planned forced-perspective construction and camera angle. I suspect that one of the corners – probably the upper right, where two "monks" further obscure the construction – is where the camera's monocular vision visually fuses two things that are not actually in contact. I found this online one day and i've never seen a photo from any other angle.

  3. MARK WHEATLEY says:

    That's funny, Glenn. At least Mike is surfing the net. What's sad is the number of comic artists younger than me who totally reject using the computer as an art tool. Y'know – I'm already at the point where I have to mail order all my remaining art supplies – essentially pens, ink and paper (I buy it in bulk when I do order it and a year later when I go back to place another order, usually they have stopped selling or manufacturing something on my shopping list). I can't get 99% of it anywhere around Baltimore. So if it is getting that hard to find real art supplies then there can't be many artists still holding out on the computer.

    • Glenn Hauman says:

      A lot of the art supplies that are particular to a particular generation of comics creators have pretty much gone by the wayside– rubylith, zipatone, Letraset letters, duotone boards. The problem is that sometimes, there's no good way to replicate the effects that some artists could use them for. My favorite example are the airbrush marker color effects that Matt Wagner used for Mage: The Hero Discovered which were completely gone by Mage: The Hero Defined. (Although not having Sam Kieth ink contributed to the different look as well.)Now, some people do work around it, and find ways to recreate old styles– but it's sporadic. But it's more than made up for the folks who learn how to do new things with it like Adam Hughes, Adi Granov, and Brandon Peterson.The biggest reason to reject the computer as an art tool, of course, is upfront cost and learning curve. Wacoms and Cintiqs are getting cheaper, but it's still $1-2K plus the computer, which can easily bring the price tag to $4K, and it still takes time to learn how to use them well. And that's not even counting the time it takes to learn Photoshop, Illustrator, or Painter.

      • MARK WHEATLEY says:

        You make a lot of good points. And – not to argue against any of them, but to add to them – I know that most of my assistants and the younger members of Insight Studios have been trained in computer art in college. And that means they already had a computer, not only on day one of art school, but often since childhood. And the software is offered very cheap to students (we won't talk about the people who get it for free). I have had two assistants who managed to snag eBay deals on Wacoms for around $25 a shot – not the latest model, but quite useful (and they got the huge, wall-sized Wacom – I prefer the lap-sized 6" x 9" myself).We were cleaning out a supply closet here a month ago and my assistant came to me with a chopped-up sheet of rubylith asking, "What's this?"I love the computer as a tool. And I would much rather paint with it than use a paint brush. I even prefer to add "zip tones" with the computer – a process that used to drive me crazy when it took an exacto knife. And if we are considering costs – I used to go through a lot of expensive supplies that are all "free" in the computer – I think Letraset tone sheets were topping $10 per when we finally stopped buying them. So some of this does even out. But there is no denying that the days when you could make a career start with am investment in a Speedball pen nib and a sheet of paper are long gone.

  4. Glenn Hauman says:

    Zipatone's $10, but you only pay for it when you use it. $4000 is a lot to shell out before you even get to work.And yes, it horrifies me that there are art students that are younger than Photoshop and Quark. Why, in my day we used Studio 8, Digital Darkroon, ThunderScan and PixelPaint and we liked it!