Screen-cap

Screen-cap of an actual pixels view (seems like there should be a better, quicker name for that) of a page as I was scanning it. I thought it was interesting at the time, but now I'm doubting it. A lot of times, I hit the point where I can't tell if a drawing's good or bad anymore, I have to scan it and flip it a few times trying to get a fresh look. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.

I think good isn't really what you're aiming for, just convincingly passable. At the time, that specific screen-cap gave me a new look at the page, but  it was fleeting.

Not a tutorial.

I've mentioned a while ago, maybe definitely a few times, that I've been trying to get a... I don't want to say vintage because I think that word gets thrown around a little too often lately. Classic comic book look. I started working on a mock cover for the first comic (there is no real issue one of the comic, it'll be printed all at once as a thick book), and I'm not sure at what point, but I realized I'd need to color it, and decided it should be colored like an old comic. (old being an early 80's comic cover. I saw one, and it hit me that I liked the process on it more than any comic that was being produced today, barring a select few.) [The comic was Uncanny X-Men #142 and it definitely inspired the cover. That, and old EC covers. It's already drawn, but I need to ink it and finish it.]

When I decided to pick a classic look, I scoured the internet for any available leads on how to proceed in that direction. And when I say, "pick a classic look", I guess I sort of mean permanently choose to work with that- and continue working on it, indefinitely. I sort of feel like if you want to get better try to be as good at something as you can be, you have to focus on that. And only that; any division of effort is counter-productive.

I'm not dividing my attention on trying to "be able to" color fifty different ways; I'm focusing on coloring that one way, and only that way.

Anyway, I'm still scouring the internet for any hints at how to do this better. Trying to find clues on how to go at this in a different way. There's very little though, aside from the thousands of "vintage comic book style" tutorials, that include instructions on how to use a single filter in photoshop. Most of the progress I have made, is due to all the people that are scanning and uploading high quality images of old comics. And looking at those, picking what I want to try to reproduce, then trying.

I'm still working on it, but I'm pretty satisfied with the results. But, I am always trying to get better at it. There are still some... artifacts that I'm trying to reproduce. Or, rather, that I'm going to try to reproduce; I haven't really tried yet. Printing artifact (akin to compression artifact) is a pretty good term I just made up- because no other word I can think of fits. They're not really errors, and imperfections doesn't seem right either. There are two, maybe three I have yet to try to reproduce. As far as I'm aware, there aren't really words for them. If I have to refer to them, I have to make them up. I may make some sort of small reference for them at some point.

And as far as I know, no one's trying to reproduce them. Or if they have, they're not that great; they didn't take them far enough. I gave up a while ago trying to find and see if any designers have reproduced them- they have and they haven't. I've seen a few professional designers reproduce and use a few of them, but I immediately knew how they did them, which sort of drained any impressiveness. I think that in order for these artifacts to be successful (good), you shouldn't be able to tell how they were made in photoshop, especially if they only involve one or two steps.

Also, you have to pepper them in conservatively and subtly. No page ever had all of them. Maybe one or two every page or so. And even then, you had to really look and digest what you're seeing to even be able to pick them out.

Sometimes, it's sort of bizarre or frustrating because I can't find any information or anything on this stuff. For example, all I can ever find is how to use a single filter on a photo for a profile picture. But, I'll admit, it is a pretty narrow focus. And the more I find out, the more knowledge I pick up on it, the more... esoteric it seems, and the better it seems to keep it that way.

Like I said, all you can mostly find when you look for information about it is how to use that single photoshop filter, and then maybe make a text box with a few words. Every so often, I'll find something like a clue, or a hint and get an idea or lead me in a direction. There are a few (like, maybe two) tutorials, or, really, answered questions that have helped lead me in directions (and even then, those only helped because I went well beyond their suggestions and pushed that one thing to an extreme), but for the most part, it's just me finding it out on my own. Learning or finding, sorting through hundreds of small photoshop tricks and seeing if they can be applied to or help in that one purpose. And, I don't know... I almost feel obligated to share my findings, because at this point, it's almost research. But I also feel like it's like my secret scientific formula. Or, at least, like I'm a magician and it's my trick- I can't just tell the world.

But I will say, I have no problems sharing with individual people. Especially if I know you. But be warned, some of the steps are very long and there area lot of steps. I'm tempted to make actions for the steps. But a lot of them you have to see how they look before you commit to specific numbers.

I'm not really sure where to leave this at. Here's a screenshot of some testing I was doing the other day. (A lot of the settings were arbitrary and set by the printers. I'll use something like this on one of the next drawings I try to color.)


[Recently I've been sort of spring-cleaning/rearranging house stuff, so I've had some free time throughout the day (mostly waiting for polyurethane coats to dry), and that's why I've been posting a lot of words the last week or so. I haven't been actually drawing anything in a while, but things are getting ready to change back to normal. This'll be the last wordy entry for a while- at least, that I'm planning.]