Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ghost in the Machine

My Adobe Illustrator drawing of an old cell phone
Ten years ago did you think you would be able to draw on this?


How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist


DIGITAL TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Hardware

COMPUTER

You no longer need a desktop computer to create art.  Now there are all-in-one PCs with the monitor and case of the computer as a single unit. The monitor utilizes a touchscreen as a method of user input, however other input devices such as a detached keyboard and mouse are may still be included.

Also the computer is portable now with a variety of netbooks, laptops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones.

Netbooks are usually just for connecting to the internet and no applications can be loaded, so no use trying to use these to create art.

 Random-access memory (RAM) - Get the maximum amount of memory your computer can hold. Your software programs will run better, faster and you will get less freezing of your computer as you work with large files.


STANDARD INPUT DEVICES

  •         Keyboard - A device to input text and characters.
  •         Mouse - A pointing device that detects two dimensional motion. Do not try to draw with a mouse. It will be like using a bar of soap.

IMAGE, VIDEO INPUT DEVICES

  •         Image scanner - A device that analyzes images and objects and coverts it to a digital file. Be sure it scans at least 600 dpi. A tabloid size scanner will make life easier, however a regular size scanner will do fine. if you can't afford a scanner you may be able to get scans done at your local office supply store.
  •         Digital camera - Good to take photos and videos to use for reference for your drawings.
  •         Graphics tablet and stylus - A flat surface which the user draws on with a pen-like drawing apparatus. A digitized image appears in the application program on screen. 

You want to get a tablet that has the ability to detect pressure, angle and speed of the stylus to mimic your natural drawing/painting style.

You should set the tablet to match the the ratio of your screen. Because of this it doesn't matter what size the tablet is and that's a good thing. I've used all of the sizes. I was able to do everything I needed with the small size that I did with the large size. Most professionals agree you don't need the large size. Small or medium will do just fine and save you money.

  •         Touchpad - Interface that senses the position of a user’s finger and fingers on its surface.
  •         Touchscreen - senses the user interaction directly on the monitor using optical grid sensors or a pressure sensitive film.

OUTPUT DEVICES

  • Monitor - Get a 21-inch monitor or larger with crisp, clear images.

If you are doing coloring it's important to calibrate your monitor so the colors you see will be closer to the colors that will print. Don't expect it to be exact as you are looking at light on a display and it the published comic is ink on paper which is a different wavelength. The print will be darker colors.

  •     Printer - A device that produces a text or graphic document.

        Laser printer uses a xerographic printing process, but differ from analog photocopiers in that the image is produced by the direct scanning of a laser beam across the printer's photoreceptor.

        Inkjet printer creates a digital image by propelling droplets of ink onto paper.


STORAGE


  • External Drive - Get a 2 or 3 terabyte drive to back-up your computer. Computers crash and freeze. This way you won't lose a whole job for a client that you've worked on for weeks and the computer decides to crash the day before the deadline.
  • Discs - After each job is done you want to burn it to a DVD. Get it off your computer to free up room and label it so you know what's on it.


You can also use DVDs to deliver the job once it's complete. I'll discuss other delivery methods later.



to be continued....

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copyright 2012 H. Simpson