Amazoness!
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  The Making of Amazoness!  
 
 
 

To make an edition of Amazoness!, you will need:

  • A mechanical pencil, fine-liner pen, eraser (or 'rubber' as we call them over here, ho ho) and some sort of A4 paper.

  • A computer and scanner, preferably an ageing Lexmark model with a dodgy power cord.

  • Paint Shop Pro 7, the state-of-the-art graphics program much beloved by people six years in the past.

  • Minimal art and writing skill.

Each comic starts with a series of pencil sketches. Let's focus on this one:
Part 1

The sketch is then inked, pencil lines are erased, and the finished picture is scanned into the computer:
Part 2

The image is opened in Paint Shop Pro, and reduced to two colours. At this point, the image is cleaned up, and any mistakes (such as Ess' incomplete headband) are corrected at this stage:
Part 3

Now, to add colour. Firstly, the colour depth of the image is increased to 24-bit (16 million colours). The picture is transformed into a layer, and the whitespace around the characters is deleted, creating a transparent area around them. The layer is duplicated: the original layer remains at the bottom, and the new layer, with colours set to multiply, is used to add colours. This system means that lighter colours will not run over the black outlines. Most of the colours are added with the fill tool, with the brush tool being used in such areas as the eyes:
Part 4

The colours themselves are taken from a palette image, which contains a permanent record of the exact colours for each character:
Colour chart

Shading is added on another duplicated layer. Shadows are a uniform grey (although for characters with very light skin, such as Melanippe, Belanidi and Berikoko, a lighter shade is used) and are applied using the spray can tool. This is how the shading layer looks:
Part 5

When all layers so far are combined, we get this:
Part 6

A fourth layer is created for highlights on the hair:
Part 7

 Now that the individual images are finished, it's time to create the comic itself. The comic is built up in layers. We start with the basic framework:
Part 8

Underneath this, the resized images are positioned:
Part 9

Some comics, like this one, require foreground images too, which are placed between the characters and the framework:
Part 10

The next step is to add backgrounds behind the characters.
Part 11

Text comes next. Positioning text is often one of the trickiest parts of the process, and quite often there will be some last-minute editing of the script to make sure that everything fits nicely:
Part 12

The last step is adding the speech bubbles. These are created with an unnecessarily complex combination of the circle tool, the line tool, the eraser tool and some filling-in on a lower layer. Even in this ridiculously indepth guide, discussing the details of this process seems silly. In any case, the final result is this:
Part 13

And so, another edition of Amazoness! is completed, with only minimal stress and loss of marbles. You can see the full version of this comic here.



 
     
 
     
© George Hutcheon 2007

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