I haven’t made many diary comics since I drew a moonlit bushwalk for New Year’s Eve, 2015 but I still make the occasional one here and there if the mood takes me. It usually starts with hearing or seeing something I find funny/stupid/weird.
Dialogue and small details are important to write down quickly before the memory clouds over.
The notes give me a good mental jog for the first sketch, usually at a smaller size and quite rough.
With diary comics, I try not to spend too long doing revisions.
If it looks ok and tells the story it’s good enough.
After that, I draw the pencil underdrawing at full size. Depending on how long I have and how much I get into it, this step can be pretty quick, or it can take a day. This one took me probably 4 or so hours, broken up into a couple of sessions.
A pretty safe work method for me is to use a decent quality, 0.3 archival ink pen for the first pass.
Then I lay ink washes over the top. This usually means less chance of the linework bleeding once they get wet. Once the washes are dry I go over it again, building up line weights with a succession of thicker pens. The thicker pens help me to create an illusion of depth while making the image as clear as possible.
I did a poor job with perspective in this drawing and I wanted something to help band-aid it without taking too much time. Separating the comic and moving the two halves apart helped and was easily hidden using a panel border
From there it’s a mix of patience and procedure, cleaning up the scan, some repainting, tinkering with adjustment layers, removing the blue underdrawing, and generally fuffing around until I run of time, focus, or I’m done.
Putting this comic together reminded me of how I enjoyed making these guys on a daily basis, as well as why I stopped. It takes time to make a comic like this, equal parts procedure and persistence. I miss doing them sometimes though and maybe one day I’ll take up the practice again.
The original page. A4 Strathmore smooth 270gsm bristol.