Learning By Doing

I’ve often said to myself that I should “learn” Photoshop or Manga Studio. In fact, I don’t think I was ever entirely clear on what this meant. Maybe that I would find tutorials that taught me the important stuff? At any rate, a goal like “learn Photoshop” is about as unappetising as it gets and so, unsurprisingly, I haven’t ever got there.

Instead, I’ve lately been making at least some effort to experiment a bit with how I use my two favourite applications to make comics and stuff like that – to go beyond using them as tools for line-drawings. And that pretty much boils down to gritting my teeth and clicking on tools in the tool palette that I don’t ordinarily use. Lame, I know, but it’s led me to at least do some more experimental stuff, even when it looks bad.

The step beyond that, which I’m sort of trying to approach side on, is to actually have some kind of image of how I want something to look before I start drawing, and to try to achieve that effect with the tools at hand. In the case of a recent (as yet unposted) comic about a drunk guy and a heron (pictured) I thought about it in terms of a kind of moonlit silhouette. And then I set about making that happen by playing around Manga Studio.

As you might be able to tell, I totally didn’t achieve what I was going for, but at least I had an objective and, as I pursued it, I felt like I saw something of interest and went with that instead. In a way, then, it’s been about trying new things in order to see new things and decide if I like them. Nobody else seems to be offering to draw my comics for me, so, it’ll have to keep on being me.

13 June 2010
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