How Ratboy Is Dead Is Made
Part 3: What I Do After Pencilling
So in this exciting episode of How Ratboy Is Dead Is Made I'm going to cover two parts, for two reasons. It's like a buy one, get one sort of deal. Mostly I'm doing this because both processes are simple, and I don't really necessarily do them in order.
So, at some point during this process I ink the characters. I usually do this part first, because the background gets a bit easier to place around something solid. I prefer to use a nice, crisp line with my wacom tablet when creating these.
After that, or sometimes before that, I'll do teh backgrounds. Backgrounds are always an odd process because half the time I don't really know what to put and use an abstract paint background, or manipulate a photo or something. It's easier and I realize it makes me a lazy asshole. But I do draw them, too! I'm pretty loose one what constitutes a background, but lately, I've been fond of thicker, less defined lines and textures. Whatever helps the composition, really. There are two good examples in the image below.
So, after that, I generally make sure all this is placed and looks reasonably decent. I put a few finishing touches on each piece, like the crappy shading in the background, then move on to the next step.
Next time: Making people say what they should say
How Ratboy Is Made
Part 2: Pencilling Like an Idiot
So, after I have a reasonably decent layout, I then actually pencil in each panel. Since this comic is done mostly digitally, I often draw each character individually and then place them on the page later in photoshop, or other times I'll simply draw the whole panel, such as the example below.
I then scan the pencilled images into the computer. I lay the page panels out in Photoshop, and then place the scanned drawings in onto the panels, and arrange the page exactly how I want it laid out. It's pretty quick if I have the panels all drawn out already, but can take a while if I drew everything separately. Then, I take out my trusty Wacom tablet and begin to draw the final product.
Next time: What I do after I pencil like an idiot
How is a Ratboy Comic Made?
This is honestly the only real question I get asked consistently. It's not a terribly complicated process, so here's a fun blog post about how I do this. There's actually two different methods I've used - whether I draw the comics by hand and just touch them up digitally, or whether I draw them almost entirely digitally. Since the second one will probably be not only easier to show you, but a more interesting read, I'll focus on that one, since it's what I primarly use now, since I'm lazy. (which will be a running theme throughout this series of blog posts, trust me.)
First off, I write the comic. As of this blog post, I've completely written about half the Ratboy story. I constantly revise it, and add little jokes as I see fit, change gags that seemed rushed or convoluted, and do my very best to not resolve things with Deus Ex Machinas - even though it's an occasionally funny and super convenient literary device. I have the rest of the story loosely lined out and write in whenever I feel like - which is why I write so far ahead, because I get distracted easily.
When it comes time to actually draw the comic, I first draw a very rough outline for composition. This usually takes about sixteen seconds. I time myself. Mainly it takes such a short amount of time because I get lazy. I don't always have as much time as I'd like to draw these comics, and I wish I did, because I could get better compositions rather than lame ones. It really depends on if I'm in a hurry or not.
I tend to leave the backgrounds blank at this spot unless it's necessary, easier, or otherwise prudent, such as in the final panel pictured here. I do this mostly to give me more flexibility when reevaluating things like the composition for each page, and to make sure the backgrounds actually work with the much-more-important foreground.
Coming up in part two: Pencilling Like An Idiot
You know what you might find mildly interesting? A character design I've been working on.
This is Pickles. He is a being of great power. You'll get that joke if you look again. Pickles is on the right, I haven't named his pet yet.
Also here's something that I won't deny: The Super Mario type influence. It wasn't intentional until I saw it, then I ran with it.
I made some changes to about 40 old pages on here, actually. Mostly just very minor cosmetic things, things I messed up - like forgetting to color in Ratboy's nose and things like that.
But I did correct some continuity errors and fix a few fonts to make the storyline a bit more cohesive. Yes, there is a plot outside of character development. Page 102 Should tell you that!
About Time, Right?
It looks like, at least in the immediate future, I'll have plenty more time to work on comics! I'm not going to promise a regular update schedule, just yet - but here's a new comic for today, and there should be at least one more this week!
A Quick Note On Updates
Hello! Life's been busy lately. Hasn't it? For me it has, and you have to live with it. Things are going just fine, but updates will slow to two a week - Sundays and Wednesdays. How's that sound? Totally awesome, I bet! For me. Not if you actually enjoy this comic.
Things will still be updating, just two comics a week instead of three. Not that big of a deal, right? Please don't mob me on the streets.
Super Exciting Contest Challenge!
So, here's the deal. Let's see if we can get Ratboy's Facebook Page up to 100 likes by the time I am planning on posting the 100th comic - March 12th, 2012.
If everyone manages to do it, I'll post a super awesome piece of art both here and on my DeviantArt page of an upcoming major character in Ratboy. If we don't have 100 likes when I post the 100th page, then you all will never know what it might be, because I'll never post it for everyone to see. I'm a vindictive asshole like that.
No, seriously. I'll probably make people pay to see it or something, like through the Donation Area Am I a jerk? No, I'm helping you for helping me! Win, win, really.
Helpful tip: A good way to accomplish this feat is telling other people to like the page!
Digital Vs. Handdrawn Art
So, yes, I realize the past couple of updates haven't had the same standards of art that I'm usually used to adhering to. Not that my artwork is particularly mind-blowing, I realize, but I'd like to think it's at least comptently done most of the time, and certainly isn't another bad anime fan comic drawn in No. 2 pencil.
I don't know exactly how many people read webcomics for the art alone (though, I would hope it's at least a deciding factor in some sense), as I've noticed a lot of people read, say gag-a-day comics or gaming comics or steampunk comics or something along those lines mostly. I don't think a lot of people specifically go looking for strechy-squishy cartoon fantasy gaming parodies all that often. So, ideally the style of art, at least, or the subject matter is a draw. Or even, more than that, people actually laugh occasionally.
But back to the art the past couple of days - you see, I got this new Wacom tablet for Christmas. I was crazy excited about it and jumped right in and started drawing - not realizing that it actually was a lot different than drawing with mechanical pencil and Micron pens. A lot different. It took some real getting used to, as a matter of fact, and I also posted some inferior artwork on my Deviant Art page (which, I have since removed said piece of art). So I spent the week practicing with this thing, and I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. Starting to... I did manage to finish this Princess Daisy/Nyan Cat picture, which I'm fairly pleased with.
So you'll probably see more and more leanings towards entirely digital art as the comic continues to progress. But if you have some huge preference of me doing handdrawn vs. entirely digital art, please feel free to email me your opinion, as I'm way too lazybusy to write a comment section for these blogs.
Looking Forward to Not Looking Back
It's been a while since I've blogged here, I know! I feels good. Like coming back to an old friend. And by that, I mean whatever, shut up.
I think one of my resolutions this year will not to be so abusive and cranky in these blogs. Good thing for me it's tradition to give up your new year's resolution in preparation for February starting.
So, I added this nifty Handy RPG Status Window under the comic on the front page and on each individual comic page. It really serves no purpose unless you don't pay attention or don't care, but it's cool, it makes the comic even more like an RPG. Just like mother nature intended a comic to be like. Ask Josh Whedon, it's what he wanted to do with Firefly. Anyway, it won't update all the time, but it will help you from having to read each character sheet every update in case something changes - it'll let you know what changes. I should probably have included links but too late. Or I could retro fit it, since I did retro fit it to all the comics already. Maybe I'll do that.
Maybe. No time to look back, 2012 is almost here. At least, it's a handy excuse right now! Har har.
Updates to the Cast Page
As a side note, I'd like to point out that as the story changes, I will be occasionally updating all the character sheets on the cast page, in addition to adding characters as they're introduced to the story.
The changes might be meaningless or obvious, such as the fact Ratboy's HP Currently says 0 because he is dead, but characters may level up, gain certain attacks or other little things might happen.
I'm teasing you!
So, I came across some old Ratboy comics I did in high school. Honestly, I don't really know precisely why I'm writing about this right now - I currently have zero intention of posting them, but it's curious to see how much things have evolved over 15 years. Which really means that it was pretty darn crappy. That's not a joke, seriously - this comic used to look like it was drawn by a 15 year old. Oh, wait, it was.
I'm sure all six of my loyal readers are actually a little curious to see these comics - like I said, I have no intention of posting them. Honestly, I did think about it, but this comic- this version of it- is still in its infancy more or less and really, that would be at best premature. What I'll like do it is save this - hold onto it for a while longer (provided my cat doesn't eat this too) and perhaps offer it as some sort of incentive; perhaps something along the lines of an exciting donation prize instead of the wallpaper I currently offer (which is awesome, by the way.)
So I guess keep checking in their, and don't get too mad that I spent an entire blog post teasing you.
He Had So Much To Live For
So, yes, Ratboy finally dies. There you go. I hope you're all happy, he's deader than a deity in Nietzsche's eyes.
As such, I commemorate this occasion by adding Death to the cast page. Aren't you happy about that? Of course you are.
So I guess it's either going to get a little more interesting from this point out, or I'm just toying with all of you. See you next update!
I Really Want More Attention So Look At Me Now Hey Look At Me Look Look Look
Oh, hi. Didn't notice you there. How are you? Don't answer that, it'll make you weird.
Anyway, so I finally broke down and put those vote-for-me-on-this-list-of-web-comics things on my site. They're all to the left on the main page, totally check them out, guys. Please? By the way, not to put too fine a point on it - Ink Outbreak is a really good one that you guys should not only follow me on, but totally check out tons of other really awesome webcomics on. There's a treasure trove of them there.
So, that's it. New comic Monday. I got several compliments on the the current comic posted which is really awesome of you guys. Good to know when I do something right!
As for now, I have a party to get to, where I'm totally rocking a black mage costume I made. It's probably not a very well done costume, but it'll do.
Now with a prize inside!
Hey! Check it out exciting readers of my exciting comic that like me and I like them:
I totally think you should know that anybody who donates any amount greater than zero receives a a nifty prize!. It's a wallpaper. Ubiquitous, I know, but it's neat and it'll class up any desktop it's on. Or laptop, or whatever you want to put it on. There's a variety of resolutions and you'll like it a lot. Yessir.
Of course, if you want something else, you can advertise. Drive traffic to your sites! Ads are possibly there already! I'm not resposible for their content. Especially of the sites they go to. Neat.
Maybe I Should Blog About My Cat
Okay, seriously, guys - anybody else's cat eat their stuff? Either discriminately or indiscriminately?
I have two cats. They're really awesome cats. They really mean a lot to me and I wouldn't trade them or anything about them for the world. But one of them eats my comics, all the time. It's pretty common for cats to develop pica and I realize that, but my cat... well, he's really particular in what he eats that doesn't have much if any nutritional value for him. While, conversely, he's pretty much okay with eating any sort of cat food all the time and doesn't seem discriminate about that at all.
You see - he only eats paper. And paper that has my comics on it. It's... I guess I just don't know what to make of it. Usually he waits until they're scanned in, and today I found he had actually gotten ahold of a comic I did in high school, which was like a millions years ago or something (or like just over a decade or something MATH IS HARD SHUT UP) and was eating the cover sheet on it. Which isn't a huge deal, but, man, this has to stop, really. I mean, paper can't be all that great for him and he mostly spits it back out... but, come on, cat.
It's The Small Things
Sometimes, such as in Yesterday's comic, I wonder if I get a little too whimsical or go too far in the gaming satire. Or maybe by that, I mean, too stupid, like with Pikachoochoo. Still, an electric mouse train thing would be kind of cool. And I actually like Pokemon quite a bit. Though I wish they'd release the last three so I can finally catch them all.
Other than that, I've made some tiny changes around the site. For those of you that use the archive, I put the comic name in the title of the A tag, so you can see that when you hover over it and not have to guess. You are welcome.
I say things because I am interesting.
I know I haven't really blogged here in a bit, but I've had a lot going on and not much to really talk about. Plus it probably doesn't matter because ideally you're here to read the comic and not these inane dribblings below it. But I have a lot to talk about right now, so go away if your attention span is low.
I'm sure you also noticed some new stuff below that and also near the bottom of the page. The reason for that is because Ink Outbreak is actually a pretty cool place where you can find a lot of web comics that would otherwise just be lost in the aether of the internet (not to be confused with ethernet) and I am on the site. Which is really prestigious because I put myself on there after I signed up. But you can follow me there, too - along with a whole slew of other great webcomics.
Also I don't think I'll be posting many Satuday updates anymore. I'm not sure but my works schedule might change soon - yes, I have a day job OMG SHOCK - and I want to be able to keep up with this. It's important to you, both of my fans. I'll make it up to you guys and give you, oh, a bonus comic tomorrow. Happy now?
Short and uninteresting.
You may not know this, but what is interesting is that once in a while I will add a character to the cast page. Pretty much, these will be recurring characters - like Ratboy's Mom or something, maybe like a certain mystery assailant or something. You should check it out.
And you know, there's probably a new comic with a lame Star Wars joke or something going on, too. It can only get better from here.
The Things I Do For You People!
Oh, hey! I didn't see you there. Probably because this is the internet and if I saw you there, it would be really creepy.
So, I finally bit the bullet, and I added ALT text to all the comic pages. I don't really know why I didn't do this before, since pretty much every web comic online ever does it and it's pretty much overdone but some comics do it well so I am also doing it. You can find them in easy to read text format.
I think I also probably added the title to the actual comic pages, for easy to read convenience for you, the viewer.
Going to stop talking like that now, too. Bye!
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Ratboy Is Dead by Adam Bitting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
This means you're welcome to distribute and adapt the work if you attribute it to me, but you're never welcome to use it for a commercial purpose.
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