Gobbled: A Horror Comic, Process

About a year ago I did a four-page horror comic called Gobbled for an anthology that vanished into thin air. I finally decided to post the whole comic at my comics blog, but if you stick around here I’ll show you how I put it together. It’s a pretty simple process, nothing tricky.4-page story about Abraham Plotz, a kid who hunts vampiresStep One: Pencils. I sketch out my ideas in sketchbooks or computer paper, scan them in and organize them into a page layout. My pencils are usually a little looser, and not this polished, but I wanted to get the shadows right and the pencils stage was a good place to practice.

4-page story about Abraham Plotz, a kid who hunts vampiresStep Two: Inks. The figures and backgrounds were inked in MangaStudio. I love the inking brushes in that program, but I can’t stand the text tools. So this was actually lettered in Adobe Illustrator. You can see I took out the bedroom mirror (didn’t want to deal with reflections and bouncing light sources) and chose (wisely) to plaster more posters on the wall instead. You can also see I was experimenting with different kinds of hatching for the shadow areas.

4-page story about Abraham Plotz, a kid who hunts vampiresStep Three: Flat Color. I colored this in Adobe Photoshop. You know the drill — just fill in the shapes with flat color. It might be the most mindless step in the process but it takes…so….long….

4-page story about Abraham Plotz, a kid who hunts vampiresStep Four: Full Color. Again, Photoshop and, again, experimenting a bit with different brush textures. I wanted a real pulpy look, like an old newsprint comic book. Someday I’ll get brave enough to ink, letter and color all in one app. Until then, I guess I’ll keep leapfrogging from one program to another. If you missed the link at the top, you can read the whole four-page comic on my comics blog. -v

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194 Responses

  1. Really liked this story! Glad I got the chance to see it, after all your hard work.

    • Hey, thanks! Yeah, it seemed a shame to just let it collect dust on the hard drive. And reading it again got me thinking about doing more. Those four-pagers are kind of fun. Thanks again! -v

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  3. Would you please visit my page http://www.thewebplus.wordpress.com . Enjoyed reading.

  4. Awsum post! Which are your favorite comic books? Please do check out my blog as well!

    • I don’t pick up too many titles on a regular basis, but I’m currently reading the noir thriller The Fade Out, the zombified Afterlife with Archie, and— in the all-ages category — the Disney stuff IDW’s putting out (Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck), sometimes a Rick and Morty or a Regular Show, and every once in a while I’ll pick up a random Batman or Avengers book, good ol’ superhero stuff from Marvel or DC. It’s a real mixed bag of whatever looks interesting when I go to the comic store.

  5. Very cool story! Thanks for the DIY steps too!

  6. A very good work. Thanks for sharing it with us. Would love to see your comic strips again.

  7. There is something so cool about comics as a venue

  8. Wow… This looks nice and neat and well set up. I’m new to blogging and I don’t ever have much of a clue what I’m doing, but this is just beautiful!!!! lol

    • Can’t remember which basic WordPress theme this is, but it’s a freebie and very low-profile. Good for blogs where you’re posting a lot of art because the theme doesn’t get in the way. Thanks for looking!

  9. Horror Comics Makes me Laugh.

  10. Eager To Read This

  11. Thank’s for share !

  12. Your works awesome.

  13. wow, it’s so cool to see how they are produced, you are very talented!

    • Well, this is just one way people put comics together. There are tons of different ways and various programs that people use to put words and pictures together. This method works for me, but I’m always trying out new stuff. Thanks for looking!

  14. Awesomeness!!!!!!!!

  15. I have this hobby of sketching. I’m glad to learn I can use this as other means of expression and that too in such an easy way. Thanks a ton man.
    Also if you get the time. Give my blog a read. I’m new here.

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  17. Excellent comic, thank you sharing such insight. Can I ask if you’ve ever used sketchbook pro? Anyway, brilliant illustrations.

    • I’ve never used Sketchbook Pro, though I’ve heard a ton of great things about it. For drawing and illustration I’ve tried Photoshop, Illustrator, Painter, MangaStudio, the new AffinityPhoto and a handful of others that I’ve forgotten. Most of my sketching and penciling is still done on actual paper at this point, but I’ve started to move toward doing more preliminary drawings on screen, so I may end up trying Sketchbook Pro eventually.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • No problem, Vincedorse. I loved your comics. I struggled a lot doing drawings straight on to the iPad and so I resorted back to doing pencil sketches and then I scan them and save them as jpegs and upload them into sketchbook Pro. Not so sure I do justice to the Pro bit but I find it quite simple and I love the layering which allows amateurs like me to make lots of mistakes. 🙂 Thank you for replying, it strikes me what you have now works pretty well so why change? Mind you I heard David Hockney now does stuff straight on to his iPad.!!

      • Hey, layers save ALL OF US from making a lot of mistakes. : )

  18. i just dropped by here accidentally, but i just started to draw some sketches for making a comic myself, and the pictures look okay but it still doesn’t have the comic feeling! this was a really grat help for me:) thanks:)

    • I am so glad something I posted might help you in your efforts to make comics. I’m still learning every day, it’s a life-long process. Good luck to you, and thank you for stopping by!

  19. Reblogged this on agesgist.

  20. Guys amazing for horror story for kids

  21. hello im a new art blogger i just wanted to let you know i love what youre doing and i wish i can be like you in the further future.

    • Well, that is a very nice thing to say. Thank you. We’re all working to get better all the time, the trick is to just keep moving forward. Best of luck to you!

  22. I’ve been working on a web-comic with friends for a while now… Part of me says some people have a natural gift for drawing. Not me! But I will continue to try my hardest

    • Natural talent’s a big bonus, but I put a lot of value on working hard toward a goal, studying, experimenting, and eventually improving. I think you’re on the right track. As long as you’re having fun making comics, I’d say keep moving forward.

  23. Interesting to see how it’s done!

    • Yeah, that’s how I do it…now…but there are plenty of other ways to do it too. And I’m always experimenting to see which way works best. Thanks for coming by.

  24. […] Gobbled: A Horror Comic, Process. […]

  25. Great post! I love the style of drawing, and I checked out some of your other comics (The Untold Adventures of Bigfoot). Thanks for giving us a peek into what it takes.

  26. Fascinating and thanks for posting. I have been a closet comic book lover and love sketching.. Something your post has stirred up again..thinking i should take pencil to paper on my travels.

  27. “Ten years…”? This must be worth it, then..
    Nice work btw…!

  28. The process seemed tedious but the end product was marvellous! I would love to try this once I figure out how to write stories! You’ve been of great help!!

    • The amazing thing is it never feels tedious. Once you get in the zone it’s really fun. That said, if I could do this all in one program without jumping back and forth, I’d welcome the change. So I’ll keep tweaking my process ’til I get there.

      As for the story writing, just do it. As often as you can. As Ray Bradbury said:

      Don’t start out writing novels. They take too long. Begin your writing life instead by cranking out “a hell of a lot of short stories,” as many as one per week. Take a year to do it; Bradbury claimed that it simply isn’t possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.

  29. I did an adult graphic novel where star trek and star wars cast battle in a never ending game of words with friends and eventually they all go crazy and the death star was actually made of cheese and luke was actually capt kirks dad and the light saber was actually made of jello and the milliaum falcon wasnt the fastest ship, and star trek didnt get canceled and someone got the vulcan death grip on there PP and jabba the hut got a job working for ikea marketing amd ewoks were actually humans in costumes and that star wars jazz band played my wedding and the graphic novel was a huge hit. So heres some advice to my fellow authors, dream big and even u ( an idiot) can make a book.

  30. Wow, that’s great. Really interesting to see the process of making a comic, and how all the elements come together in the finished page. Brilliant!

  31. This was really nice of you teaching the process and getting me so attracted to it I couldn’t avoid this blog. Loved it

  32. I just love this. I am new to this whole process. Very excited.

  33. Fascinating to see how such things are put together. Thanks for sharing (and loved the finished version on your other blog).

    • Glad you enjoyed the finished comic. And yeah, I love seeing other people’s process too. It fun to see how all the parts come together to form the whole. Thanks.

  34. Very nice! And very interesting! thank you for taking us into the little secrets of the creative process!

  35. Really cool to see the comic writing process…thanks for sharing!

  36. Its good and amazing . . .

  37. […] Gobbled: A Horror Comic, Process. […]

  38. […] Gobbled: A Horror Comic, Process. […]

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  40. Love this! Many thanks for sharing! 😃

  41. Very cool story! Thanks for the DIY steps too!

  42. thanks for liking my comments

  43. Reblogged this on Elara Mehta and commented:
    Love Comic Books? Love the Process of creating one!

  44. I think that was awesome

  45. Hey this comic is hilarious and I know it’ll turn out great! Good luck!
    @ElyraNOfficial xx

  46. Nice , please follow me and read my posts !! Follow you

  47. I’ve written a book and I want it comic striped. .is it easy to do? I’m no artist

    • Congrats on writing your book. That’s quite an achievement.

      Is it easy to turn that into a comic? Eh…it’s probably like anything else. The harder you work at it and study and perfect your craft, the better the end result. It’s a constant learning experience for me and I’m always hoping to improve every aspect of it.

      What is easy is the access to software the helps streamline the process (like MangaStudio or Photoshop) and the ability to find artists online who might be able to collaborate with you to make your project happen. I wish you luck!

    • Congrats on getting your book written.

      Is it easy to turn that into a comic or graphic novel? Eh…it’s probably like anything else. The harder you work at it and study and perfect your craft, the better the end result. It’s a constant learning experience for me and I’m always hoping to improve every aspect of it. There’s dozens of books you could look into that might give you some insight into how to turn your story into a work of sequential art.

      What is easy is the access to software the helps streamline the process (like MangaStudio or Photoshop) and the ability to find artists online who might be able to collaborate with you to make your project happen. I wish you luck!

  48. Reblogged this on ronisusanto and commented:
    nice

  49. oh excited! …i like your comic.
    will you visited my blog. i am newbi here. hehe.
    soundsofsoul.wordpress.com

  50. This was great to see the steps. I’ve about 5 years worth of published illustrations in different newspapers. Mostly EdOp pieces or political cartoons. I’ve always done them by hand from start to finish and then scanned them afterwards. Maybe add text in Photoshop during post production.

    I’m really wanting to do it all on the computer now as I feel it will make it easier for me to add more illustrations to my blog posts. Do you have any recommendations on stylus’ or pads? I’ll look into the inking program you mentioned as well. Also, any advice for those like me that are finally transitioning to full digital? Cheers and great work!

    • I still do some stuff old school, pen and brush, and that feels great. But digital is a lot more forgiving and I never worry about smudging or drips of ink. : ) MangaStudio’s really got a great set of inking brushes (and you can supplement those with brushes users create and sell). I do all my work on a standard desktop Mac with an old Wacom Intuos tablet, but I’ve been really thinking about stepping up to a Cintiq sometime soon. Seems like everyone around me is using one and I’m starting to feel left out. If you have the extra dough, you might want to look into those. Thanks for taking a look!

      • And thank you for the info! Some good leads. I was also on the back end of digital photography when I was in my last year of my BFA. Our classroom was changed over to a computer lab and I recall thinking, “great. Super. Now my soon to be acquired degree is already obsolete”.

        So it goes. I caught up in short order and am now a CS wizard. The stylus represents my last stronghold.

        Thanks again.

        Post script: Do you like how I didn’t once mention, “Hey, check out my blog!”. Keep it classy folks. Stay on task as well as subject.

      • Hehe, thanks, James. I’ve been using a stylus for years and I honestly don’t know how I got along without one before that. Take the leap. You won’t regret it. : )

  51. Shared a link to this blog on the Facebook page of http://www.TheComicPrinter.com would be great to see this work in print.

  52. This is great stuff :). My daughter is a designer / illustrator working with the same tools – I love to see the pictures coming to life as the shading and highlights go in :).

  53. Reblogged this on This Is How It Started and commented:
    I wish i could do this

  54. Whoa, that’s so much work! I usually try to draw in just one program, but I suppose, if I were to draw a comic, most likely, I’d go for two programs – one for drawing and one for lettering.

    By the way, I like your drawing style. It’s classic-uesc, if I may say so. Pleasant to read. Oh, and I really enjoyed reading about your step-by-step progress. It really offers a good insight into an artist’s work. 😀

    • Yeah, I think my ultimate goal is to whittle down the process to use as few programs as possible. MangaStudio’s real close. For my purposes, they just need to tweak the color engine and text tools and they’d be golden.
      Thanks for your comments! I appreciate your time.

  55. I just started and my time is limited so good job.

  56. Reblogged this on Crude Musik Blog.

  57. […] Gobbled: A Horror Comic, Process. […]

  58. Very interesting… It requires a lot of creativity to imagine something like this and give life to it!

  59. Great advice and so straightforward . The advice i mean not writing a comic though i love to sketch

  60. […] Gobbled: A Horror Comic, Process. […]

  61. […] Gobbled: A Horror Comic, Process. […]

  62. Reblogged this on and commented:
    This is a great way to learn about making cartoons from sketchpads

  63. That was nice 🙂

  64. This is so cool! Awesome artwork!!!!

  65. love your artistic work

  66. Reblogged this on Welcome.

  67. Really cool post, I wish I had that kind of artistic ability!

  68. Nice drawings! I really like your style!

    Sometimes, dealing with multiple programs for just one drawing can be such a hassle! I also sometimes use around three programs for just one drawing. Though, I try to keep to just one. Kinda difficult…

    • Yup. And I’m about to launch into that process again. I really like MangaStudio’s pencil and chalk brushes, but I also want to use the Photoshop custom watercolor brushes I made years ago. I guess whatever it takes to get the illustration to look how you want it to look. Thanks! -v

      • I only tried the demo version for Manga studio. Maybe I’ll purchase it when I’ll get a drawing tablet. ._.
        I liked how the ink pen worked (I think that’s what I used when I tried it out).

      • I’m not sure you need more than the regular version for laying down some really nice lines. I know there’s a price jump with the EX version (if I have my version names correct) but there’s not a lot extra with the more expensive version. And as far as inking brushes go, yeah, I love the standard brushes that come with MS5, but I also love the very reasonably priced custom brushes that Ray Frenden makes available for purchase/download on his site. Check ’em out when you get a chance:

        http://frenden.myshopify.com/products/manga-studio-5-inking-brushes

  69. This is just FANTASTIC information! Thank you! I am a HUGE fan of EC Comics !

  70. ok I’m gonna use this.

  71. Reblogged this on FRIGHT COMICS USA and commented:
    I Enjoy the level of detail in this little comic, over all solid work. I always enjoy looking at the detail in comics, you never know what you’ll find.

    • Thanks for the reblog and the comments! As I recall, I was rushed to finish this by a tight deadline, so whatever details I managed to get in here were squeezed in during a white knuckle panic to get it done on time. And, in the end, the project imploded. But I’m glad it’s getting such a great response. Thanks again. -v

  72. Reblogged this on bedward69.

  73. Awesome!!

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