Saturday, 19 November 2011

Bayou Arcana - Lettering Preview!!

Howdy all Swamp Folk!!

As you well know Bayou Arcana, "Promises" has reached completion and I owe you lot something pretty!

So I thought, as you've seen the first page develop from pencils through to being coloured, that I would let you all see that process through to the end and post up Page One in all it's lettered glory!!

Without further a-do, I give you "Promises", Page One!

But thats not all I've got for you!

As I've done before, with showing you how I draw and put a page together (click here to be reminded) and how I colour (click here), I'll now show you how I lettered "Promises"!

Step 1: First things first I set guides on the page (the light blue lines) to mark out the safe zones to place text, so nothing will be chopped off when printed.
I then type the text for each speech bubble and position it where I reckon it flows best. Using the oval Shape Layer tool I draw white circles behind the text, then with the Direct Selection tool I tweak the shape of the circles to fit the text using the bezier handles, as can be seen on the top speech bubble of this picture.

Step 2: With one shape layer selected at a time, and making sure the "Add to Shape Layer" option in the toolbar at the top is highlighted, I draw in three new Anchor Points using the Pen tool for the tail of the speech bubble. The Anchor Points I then tweak using the bezier handles with the Direct Selection tool, as seen on the last speech bubble on this picture.

Step 3: As I wanted to integrate the speech bubbles into the page and make them feel like part of the art work, I needed to somehow introduce a texture to the Shape Layers I'd created. Problems is with Shape Layers, although their vectorized and useful for making a perfectly clean and smooth bubble shapes, they cannot be selected or filled with anything other than a block colour!
So what I did was to right click on each bubble Shape Layer in the Layers palette to bring up the set of options in this picture. I selected "Rasterize Layer" which turned the Shape Layer into an ordinary customisable Layer like any other, but kept the clean vectorized qualities of the Shape Layer!

(For the B+W comics I've lettered - Dark Harvest: Resistance and Red Riding Hood, I wouldn't use Steps 3 or 4, but leave the bubbles as block white Shape Layers and proceed to Step 6!)

Step 4: I then chose a suitable texture with which to replace the currently white bubble, in this case an old paper texture, and positioned it on a layer behind.
With the white bubble now as a regular Layer, I can use the Magic Wand selection tool to select the outside of the bubble. With this selection still active I then choose the old paper texture layer in the Layers Palette on the side and then press the Delete key.

Step 5: What this has done is deleted all the extra space the texture had around the white bubble (as you saw in the previous step, it was just a square of texture behind it) making it now an old paper bubble, exactly the same size and shape!
I then get rid of the white bubble layer.

Step 6: The final touches!!
I add an outline by double clicking the bubble layer in the Layers Palette to bring up the properties window. Then tick the bottom box on the left marked "Stroke", choose a line width of 3px and click Ok. The "Stroke" effect appears as a little drop-down menu on the actual layer itself, as seen on the right in the Layers Palette of this picture!
Lastly to add a little bit of transparency to the bubbles and integrate them into the page a little more, I change the layer opacity to 80%.

Repeat that process for all 6 pages and there you have it! One lettered comic! :D

I'll update you all on any news regarding Bayou Arcana's progress to print as of when I receive it! So watch this space!! :D

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