Technology Process – Mediums


  • Adobe Photoshop CS4
  • Adobe Illustrator CS4
  • Paint Tool Sai
  • Adobe InDesign CS4
  • Acetate Printing
  • A1 Plotter
  • A3 Printer
  • Copic Markers
  • Watercolour
  • Ink
  • Powdered Ink
  • Scanner
  • HB Pencils
  • Fine Liner Pens (0.5/1/5 thickness)
  • Biro
  • 160gsm Paper
  • Standard issue printing paper
  • Photo copying
  • Laminator
  • Adobe Reader/PDF
  • Staple Gun
  • Dropbox
  • WordPress
  • Posterous
  • Coloured Pencils

Throughout my recent venture into producing a hand made comic, many new techniques and mediums that have previously been underestimated or underused by myself have become the cornerstones to making this piece work.

A variety of mediums have been utilised during this process of producing a mini-comic. Although originally I felt digital images may have been the way to produce the piece, I realised that Photoshop, for all of it’s positives could not deliver the texture I was hoping for. In some examples, featured here:


Although these pieces were created digitally, the programmes and functions were different for each. Photoshop’s basis is in photo manipulation, but also leaves room for painting and sketching. The downside is that it is still rather restricted in its blending and brush presets. The piece on the left was made using a simple circular brush with variations in opacities and layers. Although the programme is enjoyable it’s difficult to get to grips with. Sai however, which the central piece was produced in has a much more traditional feel to it. The programme is based around ink pens, paintbrushes, all having been developed to attempt to mimic the blending and motions you would find with physical work but, alas, did not have the variety of colour options that Photoshop could supply. Illustrator on the other hand managed to produce the piece located to the right. I will definitely consider using Illustrator in the future due to its use of vectors instead of pixels. Especially for the line-work, this was a useful programme but difficult to learn in a short space of time. I have used Photoshop recreationally for quite some time, but both Sai and Illustrator are exceptionally useful for different types of artwork . However, in this instance I decided to stay away from Digital programmes after these initial test pieces. This was due to not getting the rich feel to the comic I needed. The colours were rather flat, however this may be due to my limited knowledge of the programme.

This lead to the need to find more traditional means to translate my thoughts into  physical objects. Rarely do I use any form of paints, however the comic needed a completely different feel to it, as it incorporates both metallic cityscapes and lush forests.  Through researching various markers and pens (such as Prismacolour  and Staedler) Copic seemed like a great set to try out colours and shades. The result of the first test was the inverted city scape. Another first was utilising first point perspective :

The pens were great, they worked like watercolours with ease of blending and allowed for repeated layering of the pen to make gradients smoother and tones darker. Specifically this piece was to be kept in grayscale due to the city being an unwelcoming placed. Yet, the copic markers had made me think of their use for during the comic book, using them for inside the city to keep a cleaner aesthetic. I attempted the first few pages with the markers, thankfully they gave the look I had hoped to achieve, bold colour schemes that still retained texture and movement which the digital programmes had lacked. Yet, as useful as the markers were, they bled slightly and didn’t give the chaotic motion needed for the ‘outside world’ portion of the comic.

The forest portions needed to be messy and almost unhinged due to the fact the ‘outside’ had not been maintained or touched for hundreds of years. The markers would have been fine, however they would not have achieved as much movement as I needed.  Acrylics and oils were also not adequate due to being too viscous, and would leave unwanted brush strokes whilst taking too long to dry for layering. The only options left that would allow for movement  and a lack of control were watercolours, something this section of the book needed. The eventual answer came from using the watercolours and powdered inks in conjunction.

This combination of mediums was completely new. I try to avoid colours that can’t be controlled or shaded easily, but, with this part of the comic being about leaving your comfort zone, watercolours were needed. The pigments worked well, so much so that the comic did not need any post production. The colours bled and gave the movements and texture I had wanted for this piece of the book, with the bleed outside of the lines only serving to make the wild feeling more apparent.  In addition to the watercolours, the powdered inks were mixed to give an almost hallucinogenic experience.

This example was a mixture of blue and green watercolour inks. I originally had the piece as just this combination of colours to continue with the theme of the forest, yet this panel was a turning point, it needed something more. The red and purple powdered inks were used whilst dripping water onto the page. The bleed and density really worked. Using these as well as increasing the water content and moving the page for more patterns I found that they created a lot of texture to the pages. I have used these in other sections of the comic but kept them for use only ‘outside’ of the city. They can be unpredictable and would have caused a mood change in the central city parts of the comic.

But the backbone of the comic has been the sketching in pencil, biro and fineliner. All have qualities, like the programmes, that are unique to them and can cause both positives and negatives.


A few examples posted here. Watercolours still featured inside the book, but this was due to their quick colour application and no need to sacrifice the linework, unlike with acrylic or oils, which would take a long time to dry and would ruin the original lines. This said, coloured pencils also allowed for application of colour without sacrificing the line work underneath. The pieces featured here were testing colour combinations and vibrancy. The pencils were very good mediums, just not as good as the copic markers for colours and blending for the comic. Also, within the city the copic markers maintained colour regardless of pressure. Pencils would have made the colours more erratic and not the look I would have wanted to achieve.

Pencils were used to sketch the original comic pages, with a mixture of Biro, fine liner and copic markers to outline the pieces. The pencils were essential for loose ideas and sketching, with the Biro working for more emotional panels, simplistic fine liner for more controlled spaces, such as within the city  limits.

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