Brian Woo-Shem

Mechanical engineer, tech wizard, cartoonist, writer, creator of things.

Making a Comic: Behind the Scenes

Comics start as an idea. I have developed shorthand for writing down ideas and how characters interact before I start drawing. For Hope Comics, ideas usually come from reading the news and looking for interesting facts or new ways of explaining a topic. Cube Root Garden jokes are usually inspired by daily life.

Comics are drawn in Krita.

A common comic template for Cube Root Garden. Hope Comics templates are similar.

For the early comics I drew out the borders individually, but I quickly developed a system of templates. Each box type is drawn on a different layer, and I make visible the layers that hold the boxes I want for each comic. I have a few different templates for different shaped or sized comics.

I start by drawing out a very rough outline of the characters and the setting on a “sketch” layer.

The sketch for a Cube Root Garden comic.

Then I draw the lines for the characters in the “Ink-Char” layer. I then ink the text and objects.

Characters and text are inked in black. The sketch is still visible behind it, and the line drawing only sometimes matches the sketch.

I use at least three color layers to fill in the comics. A secret: layers allow me to fill in the top layer very precisely, then scribble over the back layer quickly without it showing.

First color layer.
Characters and plants but not background are colored.
The finished comic.

A note on colors and layers: I start by coloring the top layers for smaller internal areas, then proceed to fill in larger areas. Anything behind these items can be colored in rather crudely without concern of drawing over the existing lines. At the end I draw in background colors behind the characters and objects using a layer in the back without coloring over the front. The images below show the different layers in the first panel.

The finished comic is exported and uploaded for readers to see.

The WordPress comic uploading interface.

Software Used

Comics are created using free, open-source software, including:

  • Krita for comic art, panel layouts, handwritten text, and coloring.
  • Inkscape  for comic formatting and character intros.
  • LibreOffice Writer for planning documents, page layouts, and books.

My websites are powered by WordPress, with comic management by Webcomic, and hosted by DreamHost.

© 2024 Brian Woo-Shem

Theme by Anders Norén