Log: Day 8 – “If I said I wasn’t even a bit apprehensive, I’d be lying.”

BRACE YOURSELVES.

PROGRESS IS COMING SLOWLY.

(insert obligatory Game of Thrones meme here)

First off, Happy Spring Break to everyone at LREI! It’s been a little while since I’ve made an update. (I need to be more consistent with this. I’ve honestly had this post in draft format since the 16th.)

This past week (the 13th), I finally purchased a ~*tablet*~, meaning, things like this can happen. I bought a Wacom Bamboo Connect for a lot cheaper than it goes for at Best Buy (yay gift cards), and probably spent a good half an hour trying to figure out how in the world to work it. It’s been a few days now, and I’m still adjusting to tablet pens. BUT THEY’RE REALLY NEAT (and a lot more convenient).

I’ve also been updating the Twitter account every few hours with progress updates over the past few days. It’s pretty exciting~!

But enough of this. Here’s a major progress update! (Warning: Will probably be image heavy.)

Illustration:

Progress on the manga has been coming along fairly well. I screen-capped a few progress shots from over the past few days.

"How do I hands?!" (Me trying to figure out how to draw hands; and, as you can see, failing.)

Axen's teammates, Ren (right) and Scaid (left). I've inked them since this screen-cap.

First images of adding text bubbles!! (page 1). Had a bit of trouble with panel overlap (see bottom left corner), but that's since been fixed.

Hideto (right) and Aikare (left)(page 24).

Hideto's face inked using .1mm pen tool.

I began by illustrating page 1with the tablet as practice (even though I’ve already illustrated pages 1 – 7 on paper). The screen cap to the right is actually panel 3 of page 7 (which on paper wasn’t complete). I started out by sketching with blue in the sketch layer (there’s a tab in MSD4 for sketching, and another tab for inking). After that, I switched to the “Draw” tab, and outlined the sketches manually with the black ink tool using the .1mm pen.

For the screen cap on the left, I hadn’t drawn a character sheet for either Ren or Scaid (Axen’s companions/friends/whatever you want to call them) in Chapter 1, so I had to brainstorm on the spot. Note the pointy ears that I gave both Ren and Scaid (Hideto doesn’t have them, even though you can’t see his ears because of his hair). I wanted to draw something to distinguish the demon race from the human race in my story, and pointed ears seemed like the way to go! :D

By the time I had page one completely sketched out, I wanted to throw in some speech bubbles (which I later learned was not a good idea, and that adding speech bubbles AFTER inking/toning makes everything much easier to manage on the page). I took some of the dialogue from the first chapter and put it in the speech bubbles as placeholders.

Of course, there always has to be some sort of issue with these things. I had a panel overlap issue where, when adding a speech bubble inside a panel, it would only be seen inside that panel. Any part of the speech bubble that ended up outside the panel was immediately cropped by the panel boundary line. I managed to fix that with layers (though things are still a bit confusing).

Here’s a comparison between a sketched image and a (nearly complete) inked image! Again, I started with a (somewhat quick) sketch, and then moved on to inking.

So far, I’ve learned this: Inking is not as easy as it looks. At allEspecially in manga.

I found a nice YouTube tutorial on how to ink/tone in Manga Studio. …Well, it’s more of a sped up tutorial, but it still was quite helpful in showing the methods used (as well as the time it takes) to go from a clean sketch to an inked drawing.

As for speech bubbles, there wasn’t a font for manga that I could find on MSD4 that looked similar, so I did a little research and found that most Japanese manga localized here in the states use a font called “Wild Words“.  Of course, to be able to use such a popular font (it’s been around since 1995!), all you have to do is pay a neat little price of $200.

Yeah. No.

So I ended up surfing around for a simpler font, and quickly stumbled upon Anime Ace 2.0. It’s a free font for personal and non-commercial use, made by Nate Piekos. (His free use license is here). Yay!

I then did a bit more research on how speech bubbles are placed on a page, and looked at a couple pages of manga for examples. One of the examples I looked at was the first chapter of the manga Bakuman (which personally, I have not read, and might end up reading sometimes this week).

Story:

I ended up putting a pause on illustration this past Saturday when I realized “oh wait! I’m supposed to be writing a story too, aren’t I?” So… I’ve been pretty much writing since then! Like I said in my last post, Chapter 1 is complete. It’s also posted on the website. As always, feel free to read and make suggestions (because I need them, haha!). Chapter 2 is nearly complete (there’s an excerpt on the site of the first few chapters if you want to read it!), and I’ve also been jumping ahead to Chapter 3 as well…

There’s still a lot of writing to be done, though…

Website:

I just started some more work on the website earlier today, mainly building up the layout. I removed the background so that I can edit it in MSD4 and clean it up. That should be done by sometime tonight or tomorrow. I’ll put it back up soon.

I added some drop down menus for the story tab, which took me about a half an hour to merely construct from scratch. Took a total of an hour to organize each page and sync it to a button. Despite that grueling process, the drop down menus look great!

These drop down menus were such a pain!!

I’ll probably have to add even more drop down menus when the first few chapters of the manga get completed. That… will have to wait for some other time.

For now, I’ll probably continue writing throughout the week. Progress on drawing will be fairly minimal – I plan to start the bulk of it next week when I return to Barbados.

~vertica

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