Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cartooning Process: "A Perfect Fit" Tea Party Hat for GOP

This was the first draft of a cartoon I did a couple of months ago. Because of changing events of the time, I took it another direction (see December 01, 2011, "If The Newt Fits"). While cleaning out files today, I ran across the initial drawing, and thought it might be worth breathing some life back into it.

The next step (below) was to scan it in and make some fixes to the black line base. Usually, I prefer to hand draw my dialogue lettering. I feel the lettering is part of the art and allows a bit more of the flavor of the cartoon to be reflected in the strength and shape of the words. Since I had already scanned in the work, I decided to cut and paste letters from another cartoon of mine. I searched through the archives and found one (also from December of 2011, "Merry TSA-Mas) that had the letters I needed. Perhaps it would have been just as easy to do the lettering on the board, then scan it in. But, I chose this method instead. I used my graphics tablet to draw a new, cleaner balloon and repositioned it in the drawing.  I also added more crosshatching and made the drawing fit my usual format ratio.

The next step is to add shading and color. Certain publications to which I submit use only black & white (grayscale), while others use color (RGB for online and CYMK for print). I send the color out as RGB and let each publication follow their own specs for separations for the 4 color work (Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Black).

Working in PhotoShop, I adjust black & white levels for the scanned in artwork (the black base). This adjustment makes the base drawing strictly black and white (no in between tones). It also significantly reduces file size. Then, I add layers to put in shading and color, add my signature stamp, and save the original psd file. From that I save copies in RGB and Grayscale. The grayscale version will often require some extra adjustments, as colors don't always make the transfer very well.

And, here's the final result:

In this particular cartoon, the differences between color and grayscale are fairly subtle.

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