Collaborator Patreon Breakdown

This blog post is going to be a little different from the previous ones. Instead of giving you a little insight into my history or process as an artist, we are actually focusing on another person. The person in question is one of my collaborators, Kyle Scher. You may have noticed the by-line below the previous blogs feature his name and you can read his bio on the Collaborator section of my website. Not too long ago, we partnered up and did a four-page psychological thriller comic entitled All the World’s a Stage.

We worked well together and reached a mutually beneficial relationship. However, we wish to be able to work faster and more efficiently in the future. As a result, Kyle set up a Patreon to help alleviate some of the cost on both our halves in the production of these short comics. The purpose of this blog is to detail what Kyle’s Patreon can do for you, the benefits of each tier level, and how you can help out.

Kyle Scher’s Patreon Mission Statement

Kyle main goal in life is to become a comic book writer. A lofty goal that will take quite some time to achieve. For now, he is focusing on delivering short comics in order to spread his name to the comic reading public. He is not an artist, something he is quite honest about. He has no drawing ability, which means he needs to hire artists who can draw from his scripts. For now, he is working with me to deliver a wide variety of stories, but he hopes to branch out and use other artists to keep from things going stale. One goal that he has mentioned to me is the idea of delivering full twenty-two-page comics with a full creative team such as a letter, colourist, etc. While this is a major goal he has in mind, it’s not his centre focus at the moment.

Right now, as per my own workflow, I can help him deliver a short comic of roughly fifteen pages every three months. A target that we are set on keeping for the time being, though there will be times when the comic is shorter and thus the production time is shorter. If Kyle manages to reach his first goal, the production time will decrease to one month as I will be able to prioritize his comics over other paying projects.

Each tier in Kyle’s Patreon has something unique to offer that is intended to give your insight into his creative process and in some cases control over were this process takes him. All of this is incentive so that you can enjoy his short comics in variety of different genres every few months. Now, I’m going to go through each tier and explain what Kyle and I have to offer you in exchange of your wonderful and greatly appreciated help.

Kyle’s Patreon banner

Kyle’s Patreon banner

The Double $1 Tiers

There are two tiers set at the lowest amount of money you can pledge on Patreon, which is one dollar. The first of these, called the “Anonymous Tip Jar” is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s intended for people that want to pledge a small amount towards the making of these short comics but don’t want anything from it.

The other one, called the “Signature Book”, is the reverse of the other one. There will be a credits page at the end of each short comic. In the credits, every member of the Patreon at this level will have their name there as you guys are the reason it got made.

The $3 Tier

This tier has several things going for it, though the biggest allows you influence the kind of comic you get the read in the future. This one is called “Coffee” gives you the previous tier bonus plus the following:

·        One-week early access to every finished comic.

·        A vote on the next produced comic after the current comic is released to the public.

The $5 Tier

This tier is intended to be the intermediate tier and as such gives you access to both myself and Kyle but also a portion of our creative process. This one is entitled “Cappuccino” and gets you the previous tier bonuses plus the following rewards.

·        Spotify playlist of what Kyle was listening to while he was writing the story. And the playlist of what the artist (currently myself) was listening to while drawing the comic.

·        An hour-long questions and answers session hosted monthly by Kyle. I will be there when possible, but Kyle is sure to always be there.

The $10 Tier

This tier is where I primarily come in as my creative process has the most steps to it, as mentioned in previous blog posts. Kyle envisioned this as the tier for fellow comic book creators, which is why it is called “Aspiring Creator” as it gets you the previous tier benefits plus access to the following files:

·        Full final draft script in .docx plus .pdf format.

·        Rough pages which are provided by me.

·        Mood boards provided by both me and Kyle if we made one for that particular comic

·        Reference photos used for each character. These are provided by Kyle to me so that the characters I draw look the way he wants them to.

The $50 Tier

This is the highest possible tier on Kyle’s Patreon and as such offers several major rewards, one of which I will have a hand in creating for you. This tier, called “VIP” for obvious reasons, gives you all the previous tier rewards plus the following benefits:

·        The first page of the comic will actually be a specially designed credits page. Every Patron at this level will get a section of that page that they will get to customize to their liking. This can range from the kind of font you name appears in to even a photo being inserted in your section.

·        Each Patron at the VIP level gets to name one place or character in the next comic we deliver to you.

What You Can Do To Help

As mentioned previously, the purpose of this Patreon is to help Kyle out in fulfilling his dream. If he is able to pay me for my art services, he will be able to deliver short comics for you to enjoy much more quickly. As a result, he will have more time to write future comics and you get more short comic as a significantly faster rate.

Even if he doesn’t reach this goal, he will still deliver to you short comics every three months along with all the associated rewards for each tier level. Any amount you pledge to him simultaneously help him and me out, ensuring that you get the best quality comics we can deliver to you.

If what I have described to you intrigues you, please check out Kyle’s Patreon here. If you have any questions regarding the production of these short comics, the Patreon itself, All the World’s a Stage, or the collaboration between myself and Kyle, please comment below. Alternatively, you can send an email to Kyle at kyle.j.scher@gmail.com or me at info@flygohr.com. Thank you for taking the time to look at my collaborator’s Patreon and a special thanks to everyone that pledges any amount to him now or in the future.

Making of a comic book page

Today, we are going to be looking at the process I go into when crafting a single comic cook page. It’s worth noting that I will be covering the process of tackling an entire story at a later date, so be sure to tune back in. I do all my work digitally so my process will reflect this. If you do traditional art and are considering trying to work digitally, then you can consider this as a bit of a “how to” on the subject. If you are a digital artist, I hope my process can help out your process, either improving upon it or streamlining it.

There are many pieces of software out there for digital art. But focusing on the comic side of things for a moment, I find there are three that are the best for creating digital comics. The first being Clip Studio Paint, perhaps more commonly known as Manga Studio. The second is Photoshop and the final one is Krita. Each one has their own pros and cons, use whichever one works best for you and your purposes. Once you have the software you wish to use, you are ready to move onto the first phase of the process.

Phase One

The very first thing you do once you have created the document on the software is create thumbnails. Think of this like a rough draft, you are simply going page by page on the comic and creating it using basic shapes. At this point, your focus shouldn’t be on details or composition but on the layout of the page itself. With the thumbnails sorted, it’s time for phase two.

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Phase Two

Now you are going to enlarge the thumbnails to continue your work. If you plan to print this page, you must enlarge it to at least 300 dpi, any less and the image will not turn out correctly. With the enlarged thumbnail, you shall now proceed to clean up the panels. From here you will begin to define the exact size of the panels as well as place their borders. The rough sketches you did in the thumbnails will now have to be detailed. Don’t go too far, simply hint at what kind of backgrounds you plan to add. What you are focusing on is the camera angles, the poses of the characters and their expressions. Please remember, we are still in the early stages, so the facial expressions of the characters can be as simple as an emoticon styled smile.

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A pro tip I have learned through my many years of experience for this stage is to use masks. Masks will make the panel a separate layer of sorts, so no brush strokes or slip ups will be able to leave the now defined panel boundaries. Here’s a great introduction to the use of masks. Another tip I have is purely optional, but it will help if you are going for a realistic feel for your comic. I suggest either using photo reference for the subject you are drawing or using a 3D software to stage the panel before going into the production of it. You don’t have to do this for all of the panels, just the ones that are going to be complicated and could trip you up. This step is purely to make your life easier in phase three.

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Phase Three

This, in my opinion at least, is the fun part of the process. You will begin the inking process, considering this is digital comic art, you need not be bothered with doing the pencils. The sketches will serve the purpose of what the pencilling stage normally entails. You are now going to add details, making the page come to life with objects, backgrounds and emotional facial expressions. Take your time and let the art speak for itself, inking only what you need. There is a certain quality, almost zen like in nature, that makes this phase in the process so enthralling for me. Once you have completed the inked art, the phases diverge depending on the kind of comic you are doing. Skip phase four if you are doing a color comic as phase five will be your next step.

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Phase Four

This is the black pass step, and as a result will be the final phase for a black and white comic. If you are the type that likes to do the line art first, then you will begin by giving volume to said lines. I suggest using one of the larger brushes, one with very good pressure sensitivity. Alternatively, if you have already outlined the placement of the shadows and black zones in the previous phase, you can use the ever-handy bucket tool. You need to be extra careful in this step as balancing black and white can be a very difficult operation. Too much black and you will accidentally hide details from the reader, rendering some of the things that you spent a painstaking amount of time drawing completely unrecognizable. Not enough black and the picture will lack proper depth and look absent and dry as a result.

Phase Five

This phase is called greyscale though some may know it as volume painting. The purpose of this stage is to use various shade of grey to simulate how light and shadow render shapes. This will be used as an outline to add color to the art.  However, during this phase you are not actually adding art. Don’t even bother thinking about your color scheme just yet, purely focus on the lighting so that when you do get to the color phase it will look realistic and thus please your reader. This page on DeviantArt explains the nitty gritty details of the greyscale to color process far better than I can. I highly recommend saving it and keeping it nearby until you have this phase memorized so well you could do it in your sleep. Now onto the final step if you are doing a color comic, phase six.

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Phase Six

In order to put the colors in, you are first going to hide the greyscale. You are going to apply your color FLAT, which means no shading. You are simply putting the colors directly on the art in order to get the volume and blend of the color correct. You really want to focus on a good color scheme, though what that is will be entirely dependent on the tone and feel of your individual comic. This will be far easier than if you will simply coloring while being mindful of the light, reflections, shadows etc. This will cause the process to go much quicker, leaving two options of how to proceed to finish it up.

One option is that you can add the greyscale back but on top of the color using the MULTIPLY feature. Please be aware that you may have to change the color associated with the greyscale, as sometimes it will reduce the vibrancy and saturation of the actual colors. I would suggest using some dark blue or a light to medium red. If you go too far in the dark red this will give the image a burnt look, which unless that is what you are going for, could present a problem.

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The second option is to add the greyscale back in, but this time below the color using the OVERLAY feature. Depending on the software being used this feature may have a different name, but the use is exactly the same. You will have to experiment slowly and carefully with the blending modes of your respective software to get the color just right. You will know you have hit the current spot when the color start popping and look spectacular.

The coloring process can be tricky at times so be patient. Certain colors and materials require special rendering in order to get them to look right with the rest of the comic. Make sure you place these additional renderings on top of everything else, otherwise they might interfere with the work you have already accomplished. If you ever get lost or confused during this process, consult the image from DeviantArt I linked above. It is quite useful to have on hand in order to avoid being tripped up by this phase.

Finishing Touches

You are now onto the final bits and you will have a completed comic book page. When you save this work and get it ready to export to wherever you plan on sending it, be mindful of the file type. I suggest a PNG file if you are sending it via the web. If you plan on printing it then I suggest the TIFF file.

Here are a few tips that can help you along the process or help you finish the comic up.

  • I would suggest using Pinterest to set up a collection of comic book pages. You can find plenty on the website and this will give you great inspiration from which to draw upon as you are working on your own comic page. By subdividing boards into styles, such as a specific kind of panel or genre of comic, you can easily find the inspiration you need.

  • As with all creative processes, it’s best to let the work rest for a bit and move on. When you finish a page, do another page and once some time has elapsed come back to the one you finished. You will, without a doubt, find problems to be fixed. But be mindful of how far you take this, as redoing a page entirely is quite time consuming and is usually not worth it. Applying minor fixes however will always result in an uptick in quality in the final product.

  • And finally, if the comic book you are doing is longer than one page, make sure to set up the layouts and storyboards the way they will be printed. This means side by side, laid out exactly like a floppy comic. The purpose of this is for you to be able to balance them out so that one doesn’t seem to be overfilled compared to the others.

Conclusion

At the end the day it’s important to remember that this process should be fun. You are creating a comic book, one of the most powerful storytelling mediums that exist. Creating them is fun, as long as you learn not to worry and follow a good step by step process, such as mine, as a way to streamline the process. Each page you do will teach you something new, no matter how much experience you have. As they say, you never stop practicing and practice makes perfect. You are always reaching towards the stars in order to get better, so don’t worry if you are not satisfied with your first page. There will always another chance to make it better.

Written by Kyle Scher for Flygohr

My first sale ever

My adventure into the comic book realm started very early in my childhood. I was seven or eight, it’s been awhile so give me some leeway there. One of my major sources of entertainment was comics so it was only natural that I would begin developing an interest in how they were made. Comics have mastered the art of serialized storytelling, something that even television has only recently began experimenting with. For me, this was a massive strength of the medium and I wanted to see if I had what it took to spread out a story over several issues. So, my work began, like all creative types, with the planning stage.

Selfie with the past

Selfie with the past

I had an ending in mind. A big climatic moment and I wanted to see what it would look like when brought to life via the traditional storytelling methods. So, I wrote out an outline, detailing all the major events of my story from beginning, middle, and end. The story, as you would expect from a seven-year-old, was gloriously over the top but so much fun. A squirrel who was also a detective, because what isn’t cooler than that? Said squirrel was on the hunt for a missing treasure in some city that I made up. It was a fun adventure much like the comics I was reading at the time.

Even as a kid, I was very business oriented. I knew what I wanted to do, and I was going to do it, one way or the other. So, I looked around for a way to print cheaply and efferently my comic idea. This is where I began to figure out how to format my pages. The easiest way to print was to use one piece of printing paper, which was subdivided in rows that were no larger than three centimetres wide. The page was then divided in half horizontally with just enough space to bind the comic together. The next step was to draw my story in accordance to this setup.

The Italian grid

The Italian grid

I had not been exposed to comics from outside Italy at this point in my life. So, I formatted my comic like Italian comics. This means it was setup on a 2x3 grid with between one to six panels on each page. Seeing as the paper I was printing it out on was divided into columns, I put three panels on each column. Once I had finished my drawings, I proceeded to copy the comic on the only photocopier in my home town. I had already selected my target audience, which was my classmates, so I printed out just enough for all of them.

My setup

My setup

Once they had been printed out, it was time to assemble the issue itself. In order to save money, I cut each page out myself, and then used glue as the binding agent to form the comic. Much like many comic book publishers, I didn’t want the story to be the only thing my fellow classmates got from being this issue. I wanted more bang for their buck, so to speak. The issue contained a fully drawn cover by myself, the story that written and drawn by me, roughly two to five pages of handwritten notes about comics I was reading at the time, several games including crosswords or connect the dots, and finally a preview for the following issue.

The only two copies that survived long enough for me to take a picture of them

The only two copies that survived long enough for me to take a picture of them

Once everything was put together, I took them with me to school to sell. Where most kids set up a lemonade stand in order to get money for whatever interest they have, I made my interest the same thing that was making me money. The cover price for this comic was one euro, which was a full ten times the amount that it cost for me to print them.

I would continue to do this for quite some time. I sadly don’t remember the total amount of issues I produced, but it was somewhere between three and seven. I have only recently rediscovered this priceless artefact from my youth. Most of the issues as well as my outline were lost to time. However, it was fun taking a trip down memory lane with this comic as it’s hard to believe that as much as changed somethings stay the same. Now, I’m a freelance artist who draws comics for a living. If I had a time machine and went back to my seven or eight-year-old self, I’m sure he would be surprised that his strange idea would actually pay off. This goes to show you that you can do anything as long as you put in the effort.

Written by Kyle Scher
kyle.j.scher@gmail.com