You may have noticed, that most of the images on this site are of Red. This is partly because she is the main character of the story, so that's to be expected. But she is also a subject that I have been using to train myself to be better at creating art, both in the comic style, and more realistic "digital painting". Now, when I say "digital painting", I'm talking about starting from a blank canvas and creating a finished piece using digital brushes (Photoshop users should be familiar). I'm not running a photo through filters or painting over a pre-existing piece. I feel like alot of people (at least in my experience) don't quite understand what I mean when I say "digital painting", and I want to make it more clear.
And don't think that using a computer is cheating in any way. Yes it is much faster and more forgiving, but you need just as much skill to be good at it. I'm sure someone who has dedicated years of their time to learning how to use oil paints would dissagree, but everyone is entitled to their own opinions. This is the most modern means of creation, and they should embrace it, not just hold onto their archaic methods. The following video demonstrates the process of "digital painting" with the most recent portrait of Red that I've created. Is it perfect? Not quite, and I'm sure when I create another It will be even better, but for now, this is where I'm at.
Here it is. The "machine" where I create everything to do with "DEAD". The amazing Wacom Cintiq 21ux is at the center of the display area (sadly it's not the most current Model of Cintiq, but it's still really damn amazing). I use this more than anything when creating pages or any art in general. It's the closest thing to drawing on paper you can get, without all the downfalls that paper provides. I use the Classic style pen, as it is more like an actual pen/pencil than the grip pen the Cintiq comes with.
Above the Cintiq are three more monitors. The center one is a Planar 21.5 inch optical touchscreen. This is one of my more recent purchases, and allows me to work a bit faster, because when drawing, I can just reach up and access any files or programs I need, instead of reaching for the mouse. I don't need to get out of my "drawing position". The side monitors are regular 21inch monitors (for now). You may be thinking "Do you really need that many monitors?" - Not really. But the ability to have every program I'm using, open on a different screen - usually three or four: Photoshop or Paint Tool Sai, Windows explorer, Pandora, and Indesign or whatever else I'm using - does speed up the creation process. And, most importantly, it looks awesome. The three monitor spread is great for gaming too.
As of October 2nd, the second "test print" of chapter one
and the first of chapter two have arrived.
I went with Ka-Blam digital printing for both runs.
They're cheap, but as could be expected, you get what you pay for. Page alignment, speed and overall print quality aren't the best with them. But again. They are VERY cheap. The cheapest print on demand company that I've yet to find. This makes them good for a printed proof to let me see if there's anything I missed, as well as readability. They also print at custom sizes, so it's printed at the size it's supposed to be.
For the first print run, I also got a copy from blurb. The quality of their prints is definitely better than Ka-Blam, with no visible banding in areas of solid color, and near perfect page alignment, but the price is considerably higher. Around three times more than Ka-Blam. Not to mention the inflexible pre-set sizes they print at. This makes them (at least in my opinion) impractical for use as a cheap proofing company. But really, they advertise themselves as more of a print-on-demand photography book company. At that they excel.
Blurb has also been my go-to company for producing DEAD in the e-book format. They give (for a limited time) free conversion of books made in their InDesign plugin, into fixed-format e-books. Fixed format means, the page contents stay in the same place on the page, when viewed in an e-reader such as an iPad or Kindle. This is something that is very time consuming and sort of confusing to do manually. So they're good for that too.