photoshop creative

Create comic line art (part 1)

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
November 22, 2014

Hark back to the glory days of the comic book with this straightforward tutorial…

1. Set up tool

Create a new document. Set up your tools by unchecking Anti-Aliasing for the Magic Wand and Paint Bucket in the Options bar. Set the Brush to Pencil and the Eraser to Pencil Mode. On a new layer, use the Rectangular Marquee tool to draw a filled black rectangle with space at the sides.

2. Framing up

To make sure it’s centred, enable Snap (View>Snap). Select the shape (Ctrl/right-click on its layer thumbnail and Select Pixels) then shrink the selection by 10px using Select>Modify>Contract. Delete the selection by pressing Backspace.

3. Arrange the page

Duplicate the layer a couple of times (or as many as you need) for the full page of the comic. Arrange them as you wish and then, when you’re happy, select all of the layers (except the background). Ctrl/right-click and then Merge Layers.

4. Fancy frames

Introduce a cut-in frame with an elliptical shape using exactly the same method, only this time using the Marquee tool set to Elliptical (click and hold on the Marquee button and the options will appear). Make sure you erase the frame behind it before merging.

5. Fill the borders

By filling in the space around the frames with white, you can frame your images behind these little windows to keep it clean. So far we have created the aperture for the artwork.

6. Bring in the images

Open up your photos then copy and paste them into the document . Make sure they all go underneath the aperture layer. Arrange them in the squares as you see fit, using Transform (via the Edit menu) to position them and delete overlapping parts.

7. Tracing paper

Once you’re happy with the arrangement, merge the images into one layer (Cmd/Ctrl+E). Now head to Layer>New Layer and fill it with white. Change the Opacity to somewhere around 50% so you can use this as ‘tracing paper’.

8. Choose your tools

Grab the Brush tool and give it a slightly thicker Size for the outline, like 5px. The general rule is that if you can only see one side of a shape, you use a thick line. If you can see the other side, you, you use a thin line.

9. Start tracing tracing

In a new Layer begin tracing all of the figures that you want to be in the final image. This is very time-consuming but strangely satisfying! You can draw around everyone in the same layer.

10. Inside/outside lines

For the inside lines, shrink the brush suze down a few pixels. Try 2px for the details in the face, hands, clothes and the border, and also where clothes meet skin.

Come back tomorrow for part 2!