Odori Park, by Chris Watkins Odori Park - Blog


I blogged the other day that I’m going to be engaging in some art experimentation, playing with different media, drawing styles, and software. My goal is to find a way to expedite my comic making* without sacrificing quality, and maybe have a little fun along the way. I think some of you might enjoy peeking behind the curtain as I go, so I’ve decided to blog some thoughts along the way both here and via my Google Plus account.
* (I now have about two hours available time to give each strip in a typical week. Zoinks!)

Working with different media and styles may be fun, but software is one of the sticky wickets I’m less excited about in this experiment. Of course, it’s a critical component. Long story short: I used to use Photoshop to draw my strips, but I bought a new computer in January, with which my old copy of Photoshop isn’t compatible. I’m a skinflint, so rather than shell out the many clams for a new version, I’ve been exploring alternative applications.

I’ve enjoyed good lineart drawing results from a switch to Manga Studio, but I still haven’t found a suitable replacement when it comes to compositing real-media artwork into the strip template. Monday’s pencil strip is a good example. I didn’t realize it was doing it at the time, but Manga Studio converted all my pencil grays into screentone dots. I think I can get around that, but the other pesky nit I pick with MS is that it won’t let me resize an art file on the fly, so if I need more vertical space for artwork or speech balloons, I have to create a whole new file and drag everything into it.

Wednesday’s pencil strip came out better, but only because I got my hands temporarily on Photoshop for the effort. Even if I continue this way, there are aspects of compositing a pencil strip into my template and workflow that I’m not overly fond of. Case in point: I don’t like the solid black lines of the speech balloons and borders over the softer pencil art.

This calls for more experiments!

Check back on Friday; I think I’m going to try something really off the wall with the drawing style.


  1. Mark V

    If you have time to explore free tools, The Gimp (similar to Photoshop) and Inkscape (kind of similar to Illustrator) are worth checking out.

  2. Chris

    Thanks for the tips, Mark. I’ll touch on both of these apps in my next blog post–I’ve checked out both, and have some thoughts!

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