|Using a mechanical pencil with blue lead, I rule the borders for two strips on an ordinary 8½"x11" page of good laser/copier paper (the surface of which I find every bit as good for pencil and ink work as smooth bristol). Each panel is two inches wide by three inches high, with an eighth of an inch between them.
|With the same blue pencil, I draw and write the strip. This is when the vague ideas in my head solidify. Even the lettering is roughed in, to make sure it all reads well and fits the space.
I ink the strip using fine-tip drawing pens like the ones shown here. I extend the lines over the edges a bit, and
I enclose all areas that need to be filled with black.
|I scan my work in as line art at 300dpi. The blue pencil doesn't need erasing, because it doesn't show up in a black and white scan. I touch up errors and fill in black areas at this size. I save this file in .tif format before continuing.
|I convert the picture to full color and then resize it to 25% using Paint Shop Pro's "smart size" setting for antialiasing. Then I open my "apanels.psp" file, which constists of the panel borders with transparent interiors. I paste the picture in as a new layer and position it beneath the panel layer.
|After the layers are merged together, background shading is added. I wand-select the area to be shaded, then change the "paper texture" to "Dither 25%" before using a large soft brush. The pattern helps fades stay smooth after color reduction, and it doesn't present much hindrance to gif compression.
|The finished strip is reduced to a custom palette of 16 greys (optimized median cut, nearest color) and saved as an interlaced gif. And there you have it!