Cardinal Traits is my ongoing webcomic.
Here is a peak at my process for drawing one of the pages.
This is where all of my pages start, a pencil sketch. I lay out how I want the page to be composed, which includes paneling, integrating word bubbles/boxes, figure placement, and rendering of the nonobjective space.
Next, I scan the image onto my desktop and get to work with inking. This is my favorite part of the process. I am partial to lines that are very sharp. They seem more expressive than rounded ones. This is the stage where change is most dynamic. What happens during the inking phase sets the precedent for the rest of the page. It is crucial that I do most of my problem solving at this juncture.
Of course, next comes color. I lay down the flat colors first, that is color without any dimension i.e. highlights and shadows. This stage can be frustrating because it entails a lot of visual investigation. I have to make sure I cover every pixel on the canvas with the right color, so using the color fill tool never really gets the job done, but getting to this stage is exciting, because at this point, I can usually predict if the page will turn out the way I wanted originally.
Next, I apply a painterly texture to the characters and sometimes the objects. I began using this texture a while ago, and I fell in love with it, so I still use it. It adds a lot of dimension to the characters, and it makes adding highlights and shadows easier. I usually add shadows first and then go into highlighting. Here, I deal with bounced light and cast shadows as well. Sometimes, I use more than two layers, if the way the light falls is more complex. With the shadows, I use multiply on my layer, and with highlights, add. In this stage, please remember that layer clipping is your best friend.
Lastly, we have the dialogue. I have all of the dialogue planned in my Pages file for Cardinal Traits, but sometimes, it changes, but usually not drastically. For instance, here, I added a comma in the first box. Also, "was just a prank" became "must have been a prank." The latter conveys a sense of uncertainty, which is what I wanted. It took a while for me, honestly, to realize that speech bubbles/boxes are a significant part of the composition, and they should not just be tacked on at the end. They should be well thought out. Also, during this stage there is sometimes some reconfiguration with bubble and box placement, but it's necessary.
In the end, all of these parts of the process work together to create a fully realized comic page. This is one page in particular that I am very proud of. It came together better than I expected.