Just one more example of how exciting the life of an erotica writer really is 😉
I thought I might show you all how I put together the Adventures of Cynical Woman web comics. I’m sure you’re all just fascina– Hey! Get back here! I’m not done talking to you yet!
Where was I? Oh yes, how I put the comic strips together. First, I need an idea. This week’s idea was inspired by an e-mail interview I did with a journalist who wanted to know how I write erotica. I mentioned that some nights I curl up in bed with my laptop to write my stories, but that wasn’t nearly as sexy as it sounded because I always wear flannel PJs and tuck a heating pad under my feet. This particular erotica author does NOT like to be cold.
So I had my idea. Next, I needed to script it out and draw a quick thumbnail sketch of what the panels would look like. I do this step in a notebook I keep just for the cartoons. Here’s what the idea sketch and script look like.
Very fascinating, right? Right! Anyway, once I know what I’m writing and drawing, I set up a sheet of paper on my handy dandy drawing board.
The drawing board is actually a piece of foam core with some white poster-board taped over it for a smooth drawing surface. I use a low tack tape to attach the paper, and then use a mechanical pencil and T-square to draft out the panels. I always draw in red pencil. You’ll see why in a bit.
Next, I roughly sketch in where each of the characters and props are going to go in each panel. This is nothing fancy, just stick figures and basic shapes to help me determine how much room each character will need in the panel and still leave room for the word balloons and text.
Then I start to draw a detailed sketch for each panel, again using the same mechanical pencil with red lead.
I like to do a fairly detailed drawing so I know exactly what I have to ink. Once the final sketching is done, I pull out a brush pen (I use Faber Castell brush markers; they’re the best!) and I ink the cartoon. For the borders and fine line work and cross hatching, I use a Faber Castell technical pen or a Micron Pigma pen.
Once I’ve got the inking done, I scan the cartoon into the computer via Photoshop. I have to do it in two pieces, since I use a very big piece of paper for the cartoon. I don’t bother erasing the red pencil marks because I don’t have to. I simply delete the red color channels from my image once it’s been scanned in and then convert the whole thing to grey scale. Voila! No more red pencil, just black ink.
Once everything is scanned in, I use Photoshop to pull it all together. I have a blank comic template set up with all the credits and titles already in it, as well as guidelines set up to help me line up the artwork. I use the text tool and the pen/shape tools to add the text and word balloons. For the final touch, I add two extra layers to the image, one for black areas and one for white high lights. I’ve found it’s easier and cleaner for me to add black areas to the cartoon in Photoshop than to do it by hand, so certain things like the laptop in this cartoon or the Hubster’s hair will be blacked in then, with another layer set up for white highlights on top of that.
Once it’s all done, I flatten all the layers in Photoshop, scale the image down, and then put it in a blog post for the website. The whole process takes anywhere from 2-4 hours, depending on how detailed the cartoon is, or how tired I am that day. Today I was beat, so between that and putting together this little behind-the-scenes look, I probably spent about 4 1/2 hours on this total.
Anyway, that’s how it’s done. Now aren’t you glad you hung around to read all that? Wasn’t that just fascinating? Hello? Hellooooooo…
I can hear you breathing, you know.
Don’t forget, episode 03 of Rats! runs this Thursday on www.cynicalwoman.com!