Creating Comics - My Process

in art •  2 years ago  (edited)

Hey Steemians,

Today I thought I'd take the time to describe how I draw my comic to you guys.
Hopefully you learn a few things that way.

As you may know I'm posting my comic, Shades Of Men, two times a week here on Steemit. I have been drawing it since August 2012 but haven't been as active as I am now.

I'm currently drawing one page per week going from page layout to line work, color and text in 5 working days. And that's the ultimate challenge! At least for me. ;-)

Here's how I proceed:

  • The canvas


Right now, I'm mostly working on a mini Ipad tablet as you can see above. But the first year I used to do the thumbnails and ink on paper. Drawing with an actual pen has such an organic feel but I switched to digital for convenience. I often draw in public transportation so carrying all my tools everywhere was pretty tough. Here's what sketches for the page looked like.


Compared to final...


Now with the tablet, I feel like one thing is crucial.

  • The stylus pen

That really changed it all. And believe me I tried a few. Most have failed...


As I drew everyday, the classic rubber stylus wouldn't hold long. The metallic fabric (the one on the far left) worked a little longer but were hard to find in local stores. After doing some more research on professional, yet affordable stylus pen, I finally found a good fit for my rhythm and budget.


The Jot pro from Adonit. A very precise tool with a transparent tip. The great thing is I don't change the tip that often. Only when I loose it every year or so. I know... clumsy me.

  • The software

I used a few as well, going from Photoshop to Illustrator on computers. I needed an Ipad app able to upload images in order to work from my thumbnails. I ended using Art studio which is very convenient for that. It also includes selection tools and vector text which allows me to do it all in one go.

As for now, it's been the only one to offer that. I paid a couple of euros but for me it's a must for digital drawing.
The brush could be a little laggy but I suspect my mini Ipad of getting old.

  • Thumbails

When starting a page, I would do a quick sketch to define how the scene will go. How the whole thing will look like.
I know what needs to happen as I split the chapters into 11 pages, adjusting the rhythm with layout.

download (2).png

I would often go back on thumbnails with a red color to refine the drawing. That way I can do line work much faster.

  • Line work

download (1).png

From that initial draft I would draw the black lines equivalent to inking on paper. This usually takes me two days to complete. The more I drew, the more details I would put in. I think I go faster now but it still takes me two days... Weird right?

  • Color

Once I completed the line work, I would get started on color. This would take one day for the flats. I would just fill in every part with a plain color according to the scene. I would use the same color palette for the characters using previous pages as reference. This task could really take longer on specific pages with lots of details.


  • Shading

In order to give the page more depth, I would do a quick shading. I must admit I don't do a very complex work on this part. You'll certainly find artist online doing much more detailed shading. I used to manually select the color I needed. Now I use a 20% opacity layer that I paint in black in order to go faster. Pretty convenient.

  • Shadows


That's almost an all shadow page! I would add a bit of dark cloudy brush on the edges of the panels and on specific places depending on the scene. It would usually set the mood and give it a more cinematic look.

  • Speech Bubbles and text

Thanks to the selection tools of Art studio doing those speech bubbles is pretty easy. It's just a circle and I manually add the pointy bit after. I'm mostly making sure the text doesn't clutter the panel and that the reading flows naturally, leading the eye from left to right and downwards.


Even though I put the text at this stage I would usually have it figured out from the beginning. It would come to my mind when doing the thumbnail just like a movie sequence. I just have to make sure the text is right in the middle of that bubble and format the sentences a bit so it fits.

Now that's all my process for now.

If you're interested I could give more details on how I craft the story. I could explore that bit in a later blog. Thanks for taking the time to go through my explanations. I hope that provides a few tips along the way.

Don't hesitate to ask any question below. I'll gladly answer that the best that I can. Please go check my comic Shades Of Men if the few pages posted above sparked your interest. I'm always looking for feedback on the story so far.

If you're an artist yourself, please consider sharing your process. I'm very curious of how you do things yourself. It'd be nice to compare our experiences and maybe learn a few things too. Have a nice day! ;-)

See you on the other side,


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Wow, this is really cool. Interesting to find out more about the actual creation process.

Thanks gliten. It's been a pleasure writing this post. I have more Work in progress pics but there are a few spoilers so I didn't want to share them now. I might revisit that later then!

Indeed, this is great. I have just started learning drawing. Always great to learn from experts. Wish I could be as good some day. This is awesome. Resteemed

Thanks for the resteem and the kind words. Sorry for the late reply. I have to say I don't consider myself an expert. I'm more a hobbyist really... A hardcore one... But still. Good luck with your drawing endeavours. I'm sure you'll build enough confidence. It's a matter of consistent work. It would be impossible not to progress!

Thanks for sharing your work. I don't even know the amount of time need to complete a comic.

That sure is a lot of time. But it's worth it. When I doubt I just need to go see all I have done so far. Gives me the boost to carry on. I planned 133 pages and I reached 100 so I'll soon be wrapping up this story! ;-)

This is real inspiration for me, I been wanting to be that much dedicated, I reccommend you to take a look at the app sketches on iOS , that's the winner for me and very cheap one time payment, it has multiple layers and a great fill tool, and great kind of brushes, I just gave you a follow so I can know your next posts! Congratulations!

Thanks for following @troof. I actually tried the Sketches app and it is pretty awesome. I liked their brushes and the intuitive tool selection. The layer selection is a must so that's cool it's included. It's a good one for sketches and illustrations. A little harder to use for comic template and text.

pretty! i love seeing artistic process and you don't see enough of the comic book process! Thank you <3

good comment @o0pepper0o
nice to support good work

Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you enjoyed it. That's true I've seen a few blogs about art process and sketches but not much comic pages. I hope this encourages other artists to do the same. I'm sure there are tons of variations on this. It'd be fun to compare. ;-)

I've read few books on making comics that close as you usually get LOL more about how to as opposed to how other people chose to create....

Yeah I know. Sometimes the process comes from practice more than theory. At least for me. Maybe ideally it should be both. But artist never did things the way they were suppose to!

Wow. This is beautiful and fascinating @jrej.
Loved your work.
And its very informative.
Thank you for sharing this..

Do have a look at my post.
So share your views.

Thank you!

Thanks a lot Steemmates for the comment. I had a look at you work, that's very cool! I like the color and the arrangement. Seems like it gives a positive energy to the space. Feels like I should do this in the office I'm in! ;-D

Yeah you really should give it a try.
It is really soothing and relaxing to sit and have a look at it. Gives positive vibes.

Play with the colours and try ur variations.
And tag me whenever you upload it..

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Hehe my boss wouldn't be too happy if I did that b surprise! We shall see if I get the chance to do that else where. I meant to attend to a graffiti introduction training. I could experiment with that then.

This is so kickass dude! Job well done

Haha Thanks @official-bitbean That made my day! Thanks for the feedback.

very inspiring

this is the most unique way of making a comic. great post!

Oh really? I does make me happy. It means I discovered something. Cool.

Must be hard to draw in a little device, but I think at the same time, very portable. Keep with your good work.

Hehe I know... I got use to it. Hopefully I can zoom in as much as I need. Makes me wanna zoom in when I draw on paper too. ;-D I tried a larger tablet but I find it harder to use. I would need a glove for that right hand. I kept on messing up the page...

Are you by any means looking into selling your artistry in due time?

I considered this at some point but realized the resolution I'm drawing at is smaller than the printing standard of 300 dpi. For now I'm focusing on finishing this specific project and might try to upgrade my equipment later on. Steemit might help with that. ;-)

This is my first time knowing how a comic is being drawn. It turns out to be a very long process. You are such a talented artist. How many hours per day do you usually draw?

That's very nice of you to say. I usually draw 2 hours per day, 5 days a week. So I spend 10 hours for one page. I know... It's all very precise. I included it in my daily routing, going to work. That way I don't loose momentum and keep on drawing.

Wow @jrej ...10 hours for one page! You are surely very dedicated!

That's fantastic ! Checkout mine on my blog, i simply use H6 pencil & felt pens, my humble camera and Photoshop :D

Oh that's nice. I'd love to see some of your drawings. Looks like you have the perfect tools for success!

People have no idea how long a comic series can take, it's great you were able to demonstrate that process with this post. Drawing on glass is, I find a bit harder, than on paper where I can whip something quickly. An iPad or any other tablet like a Wacom had it's conveniences and disadvantages. Since getting sick I've been obligated to teach myself working on a piece of glass while laying down and thus why I use either my iPad or my Surface Pro even my IPhone Plus. Trying to lay down creating with paint or anything traditional would be out of the question. As for stencils, I find the Wacom versions done for the Surface tablets the best, but finds myself using the Apple pencil more often out of the large amount of apps available.

That's interesting. I hear more and more people recommending the surface. I'll need to take a deeper look into this! Thanks for the comment. Very helpful!

@Jrej :) Well done my friend :) This is very Awesome work :)) I upvoted and RE-Steemed this for you my friend :)

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Hey thanks a million. That's so kind of you.

You're Welcome a million my friend :))

Congratulations @jrej!
Your post was mentioned in my hit parade in the following categories:

  • Comments - Ranked 9 with 133 comments
  • Pending payout - Ranked 6 with $ 419,25

Thanks for posting this. I just started Steemit and it was nice seeing another artist here!

Yes it's definitely nice to share a common hobby. Thanks for your comment. Followed!

Jrei! This is really great! I i would have found this when i startet out, i could have save me alot of time.

I will try to do something similar to this post as soon as I have time.... I am working traditionally (Pen, Paper and Ink) and also alot of Comic collegues introduced me into Flatteing bevor they start to color!

Great power to you JREJ for enlightening people! KEeep the great work up man!

I knew I should have posted this sooner! Haha. That's cool it brought some info. I look forward to see your own process using the traditional gear! Followed!

@jrej super cool I have been inspired by this and several other steemit art post showing the process of digital art on the computer.

Wow you do amazing work yourself. Thanks for passing by here. I hope I can share some more of my insight especially on story structure and character development.

I think illustrator is a great adobe program that can be used for all kinds of things. I used to make graphic design posters with it and also comics. I think your overall method is good. Dont worry about how long it takes you, just put good final product on the market. That's what will sell if your trying to make a profitable comic.

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

I did use Illustrator for a comic. It's very cool because it uses vectors and it clears the resolution issue I was having. I found an equivalent on Ipad but it's a little laggy. Might have to upgrade my gear.

What a amazing talent you have it is unbelievable to me that anyone can do this, for sure I can not and wont even try but will follow as this is the first time I came across your work. I dont have much voting power but as soon as I do will start voting on your posts thank it was very interesting.

Thank you for taking the time to read through my creative endeavors. I'm glad I have the chance to show off my daily routine to so many people. I know it's out of the ordinary and people are always surprise when they learn about this hobby of mine. I'm sure it'll lead me somewhere. I already met so many wonderful people along the way! ;-D

I had no idea that this kind of stuff could be done on an Ipad as easily as what you are making it look. Software has really come a long ways. Your pictures look really detailed and have good line quality, you must have a steady hand and a lot of skill. Upvoted and following!!

Haha. I'm glad I make it look easy. It's not always easy especially in this moving bus on the way to work! But I can tell thanks to that undo button. Helps me out quite a few times. Little by little I find the lines I like the most. Glad to have you as a follower. I'll go check out your blog. ;-)

Great job. There is a clear talent for drawing and share thoughts on the canvas.. But have You ever thought about creating an online version of a comic book with the "turn the pages"? I have some experience in layout and could You suggest how to do it ;)

Sorry for the late reply. That's a very interesting point! I tried uploading the comic to a site called issuu. They would offer a flash version with a turn the page effect. It did look good but it wasn't as convenient to read. Also I didn't gather stats on how much people would visit so I can't say if it worked out...

How will free time - I'll do an example on the technical domain. Without the use of flash animation ;) Then like you can do on any your domain, track statistics and add a new job :)

That's very kind of you. If you do this I'm sure it could be interesting to many webcomic artists online. We all struggle to find the best way to be read online. It's still very experimental but I think for now infinite scrolling works the best. Some even tried panel to panel transition with effects...

I think next week will be released a couple of hours of free - will do ;) the Effect is similar to reading e-books. For comics, this topic should go fine ;)

I'm curious of how it will look like. Thanks for putting the work into it. ;-)


Hehe Thanks a lot! You Rock!

Well done.... passion

Thanks a lot. Come from the heart!

Not Easy, I Love It 💓

Thanks a lot. Don't hesitate to give it a try sometime. I think digital drawing is not that hard.

Awesome process post! Thanks for sharing. You definitely have the drive to create. Love that hospital page! I just switched over to using Clip Studio and it works very similarly to photoshop. I was pleasantly surprised. If you ever want a critique I would be happy to give my two cents. I recently gave one to @kommienezuspadt.

As for how I work, I have youtube series called Comic Penciling showing my process and laying the ground work for solid penciling work. Here's one of the videos:


Keep it up and thanks again!

Oh that's a cool video. I'll watch it all when I have a moment. Sorry for the late reply. Thanks for sharing your process too. It's been a while since I used a computer to draw. I'll check out Clipstudio see how it is!

Great post and information. I use mostly CAD style programs for my work, but I've been thinking about getting a WACOM tablet for a while to change things up.

Oh that's nice. I had a small Wacom Bamboo tablet at some point. It's hard to get use to but being plugged to a computer the usage is much less limited. I can't wait to see what you come up with. All the best to you!

You're really good. Thanks

Oh thanks a lot. That's nice of you to say.

Thanks for the interesting sharing

I tried my best to give details. Thanks for reading!

Fantastic work... you have a great gift!

The most fascinating thing for me is where do these ideas come from. Drawing is hard work but I think everyone can learn. On the other hand ideas are a mystery...

This is very educational and help..Jrej I am following your work chapter by chapter..and it's been fun so far..with Lev leaving the hospital and calling for the help of others I am itching to see what happens next..
I have a question though..i am hoping you can recommend any good software for 3D animation, I have a project in mind. Thanks

Thank you so much for taking the time to go read the story. People told me it really gets intriguing after chapter 3. I'm no expert on 3d softwares but check out Sketchup for simple modelling than proper animation 3d Studio Max is THE reference. It get costy though. Hope you find what you need. Anyone else knows?

It's amazing

Thanks a lot!

Wow nice work bro , as a video editor I know it take a lot of hard work and creativity to make this type of cartoon,keep it up..👍👍👍👌

Oh it's nice to find someone that gets it. Have ou shared any of your videos? I made short fims with friends when I was younger. I might blog about that later on.

Thus is my second week ,I will be sharing some of my work in future

Cool. Good to know. I'll follow so I don't miss that! ;-)

Over 450$! I'm happy to you got a reasonable reward, Finally!

Hehe that's more than reasonable! Thanks for the support. I'll try my best to produce quality work and be worthy of this amazing reward.

Wow! This is great you are an artist. Regards

Not professionally i would say, or am I?

Very cool :))

Thanks a lot!


Great job, keep it up

I'll try my very best! Thanks

I enjoy and seek out tutorial articles like this one. The stylus pen tips were especially useful. Thanks. I'll take a look at more of your posts now.

Glad it helped. The stylus was the more challenging for me to find. Thanks for checking out my stuff.

Fun Glorious!

Thanks buddy! I hope it's fun...

This is awesome! I've grown up reading Marvel and Image comics. Although I don't think I'm able to do it, I might just try it one day. Thanks!

Surprisingly I always never had the chance to fully immerse into Marvel comics. I watched Spiderman on tv but I mostly read european comics like Tintin, Asterix and Boule & Bill. Thanks for the comment.

Love your comic artwork
I am new on steemit I hope it will be fun as an artist follow me @honart

Sure thing. Thanks for pointing it out. Glad you enjoyed my drawings. Can't wait to see what you'll share on your blog.

It's interesting! I loved it. It's a lot of work and creativity

Thanks. It definitely is ton of work but I enjoy it a lot. I'm glad I could share what I do.

Great post Jrej! It appears we use a similar process. I usually take a picture of my penciled artwork with my iPad, upload it into my Sketchbook app(ink and color it), then upload it into my Halftone 2 app(for lettering and sound fx)to finish. I use a Dimples Excel stylus (Yes, that's it's real name. Lol!). I will check out your Shades Of Men pages and if you have a chance, check out my comic, Cyberds also. Keep up the great work dude!

Sorry for the late reply to this. Thanks for sharing. That's very interesting. I'll have to go check out this mysterious stylus and those apps. I'll let you know my thoughts. Thanks for checking out my comic. You do awesome work yourself. Can't wait to see more!

please anyone here who will like to share advice and opinion on sex education? there is a move we plan to make and we will appreciate advice, opinion and instructions. please feel free to share your view on this

thank you

No thank you. Anyone interested?

Awesome post. It's always interesting to see the process an artist goes through to create something. Thanks for sharing this!

My pleasure. Thanks for taking the time to read through it.

Great post, so detailed! Thanks for sharing!

I tried my best. I had a few other screen shot but didn't want to reveal too much of the story!

That's incredible. So you don't have pressure sensitivity on that ipad right? Doesn't that bother you? Why not a Microsoft surface I heard they are a great replacement for the more expensive wacom stand-alone tablets.

Good guess! I unfortunately don't have that. My line work suffers a bit from that being mostly the same width everywhere. Gives my art a "Simple line" twist like the famous "Tintin". I use the manual settings to change it though so I can still bring some nuance. I heard about Surface or Ipad pro for this but haven't had the chance to try it out. Maybe for the next project. I wouldn't want to change style right in the middle of the story. I kind of did already... ;-)

Thanks for the tips. It's very interesting.

.. Pls do stay in touch.

Glad you learned a few things. I don't really know what's the most useful. Thanks for your support. I'll be sure to ask you for feedback when I have a doubt.


Amazing : ) Thank you for sharing.

Thanks a lot!

:O this is what i wanted to do for a living when I was a kid heh :D

I actually work in a hotel. So you can do this on your spare time. I actually think I have more freedom with the story and art compared to a professional comic artist.

Cool! I want to draw a comic book as well. I still haven't started, but I will!

I have no doubt you'll get to it. You are very talented yourself. My advice... start small. It's better to conclude a story of fewer pages than to fail reaching hundreds...

New Follower, Thanks for sharing I need to try this on my iPad. I need the app and stylus still and then I'm rollin'.

Thanks for following. There are a few free drawing aps out there if you're interested. I started with Paper 53 and I think there is a light version of Sketches for free too. The stylus changed everything for me. Not much alternatives.


Thanks a million!

Thank you for sharing this! I have that stylus and love it. You inspired me to dust it off and see what I can do

Oh really? That's cool. Can't wait to see what you come up with. Followed you!

Awesome! I followed you, too. I hope it's something good haha

Very good!! I used iPad pro!

Woww. Just had a look at your blog. You do fantastic work yourself. If you can do that with an Ipad Pro I'll have to get one of those. Thanks for the tip. Followed you.

That is beautiful, thanks for sharing. :)

Glad you liked it. Cool name btw!

Awesome! I haven't drawn a comic in at least 25 years. Thanks for sharing your process!

Wow 25 years. I'd love to see what you created at that time. A trip down memory lane. Thanks for reading through my stuff.

Awesome info! So do you recommend any particular pad? Our son is artistic and uses a basic app on his phone but we're wanting to get him some better software and a tablet. That fine tip stylist rocks as well! Thanks!

Oh that's cool. I use a mini ipad which is pretty straight forward but I'm reading more and more about surface. There are tons of app to try out but I started on Paper53 which is free and nice for brushes and watercolor and Artstudio for more technical work but costs a bit. Let me know how it goes

Thanks! He spends time sketching as well but is really getting into digital drawing. So I'm going to check this out.

I was checking out some of your other stuff, you should look into graphic designs. Design logos etc for business...or banner for gammers etc. Best of luck!

Oh that's a good idea. I'll try that if I have time. I know t shirt logos can be quite popular and there are a few sites taking submissions. We shall see...

daumen hoch.gif

So cute! Thanks!

Really cool, thanks for the step by step of your process!

It's been fun. It was my pleasure!

Fantastic. Followed and up-voted.

Thanks a lot Offgridlife. You rock!

Do you feel like having a frequent release schedule of twice a week makes it harder or easier to improve?

Doing it more frequently is more practice, which is good. But then sometimes you might feel like you have to rush, so you can't push it to "the next level"? Just curious because I've been creating a lot of stuff and wondering about this aspect of it.

That's a very good question. I feel like the tight schedule actually help me push forward. I would have never done so much without it. The quality could have been a little better with more time but I might have never ended it...

amazing work bro! i started also a cartoon project here on steemit maybe you can take a look. if you had any suggestions for me let me know :)

Oh that looks pretty interesting. Thanks for sharing. Do you have a story yet or are you gonna build it from community input. Good luck to you. Sounds promising!

I start this project from scrap, have allready some ideas but would love to see the comunity puting there ideas into it. im sure you know this things need time to evolve btw. i will stay tuned to your blog its a good motivation! :)

Awesome work. It almost reminds me of The Walking Dead comics. Love the look and color!

Haha such a honor to be compared to that. Thanks. I'll try to match their immersive story and art detail!

I make comics too i am too afraid to post it on my steemit profile as i don't think they wpuld be good enough :( but love your work superb....!!

Thanks a lot. Don't hesitate to share what you do. What's important is not quality but intention and progression. I'm sure people would love it. ;-)

Loved this, thank you for sharing your process! Great work, by the way

Thanks. I means a lot especially from a talented artist like yourself. Followed you. Glad I bumped into you.


Thanks a lot @giovaxfull

This is amazing! love seeing fellow artists practices and take inpiration. Thanks for sharing!! :)

Thanks for the comment. You have very inspiring work yourself. Can't wait to see more.

Good job and nice comics , brilliant jrej

Thanks a lot buddy!

OMG! that is so awesome you can draw in such a small screen!
This is something I have not venture into yet