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Comic Making with Affinity Publisher and Procreate

I began making a tutorial about how I make Hooky with a pencil and Adobe Creative Cloud—which you can still read here and here, and will probably finish at some point,just to get it done—a while ago. It was such a while ago. Before Covid-19 and everything changed.

One thing has also changed about that tutorial business: I quit renting Adobe and bought myself some software from Affinity.

Because of Covid, and Affinity’s affinity for freelancers, they offered a huge discount on all their software in the spring of 2021. I noticed they recently had a sale again, this Spring. I spent a few weeks investigating their apps, especially because they had Photoshop and Illustrator-like apps for the iPad as well as the Mac, and an alternative to InDesign: Publisher just for the Mac.

Affinity Photo

InDesign->Publisher

I downloaded the free trials, exported files from InDesign to Publisher and found only a few differences, mostly having to do with texts, and the fonts that were now missing. The fonts were included in my Adobe CC subscription:/ So, I bought the ones I needed from MyFonts.com. Some linked images were also unlinked and the way you get photos into Publisher is a bit different than InDesign. But the difference is minimal and manageable. I can’t even remember what the deal was.

Affinity Designer

Photoshop->Photo; Illustrator->Designer

Photo works much the same as how I used Photoshop (like a kid) and Illustrator (also, like a kid, but with some skill) has a doppelganger as well, called Designer. It does what I need it to, but I have yet to get the hang of their layers, etc.

I really like Affinity’s underdog challenge to Adobe.
I am happy to give them cash for their wares—once, instead of paying Adobe in perpetuity.

They do help in a pinch, and I am getting more and more comfortable with Publisher. It does what I need it to, and if it doesn’t—it seems easy to figure out how to do it their way.

Time, Paper and Hand Saviour Tool

It doesn’t really matter to me if the Affinity apps are full equals to their Adobe counterparts. They are basically safety nets for doing anything I can’t do in Procreate.

What can’t I do, you ask?

  • Be sure my colours stay the way I made them when exporting CMYK files to industry standard PSDs
  • Resize PNGs easily, with a preview of file size, etc
  • Vector art? I don’t really know. I’ve only really needed it once in the last year, and it was not a treat, which is probably why I still avoid taking on vector work. Hand killer!
  • Spend a fortune on software I don’t use every month.

That said, this is how I have figured out to make comics in the past:

Comic Making with Adobe CC

  • Pencilling Panel Thumbnails
  • Scanning sketches
  • Correcting and Enlarging in Photoshop
  • Placing panels in InDesign
  • Correcting panels in Photoshop, updating in InDesign.
  • Printing Pages, Tracing with Ink
  • Scanning Inked pages
  • Fixing in Photoshop, updating in InDesign
  • Colouring in Photoshop
  • Updating in InDesign
  • Preview in Preview
  • Adjust in Photoshop
  • Update InDesign
  • Export PDF and Send it off to print

And how I make comics now:

Comic Making with Procreate & Affinity

  • Procreate Sketching, Inking, Colouring
  • Import Layouts in Publisher, Preview in Preview
  • Export PDF and Send it off to print

Dilemma: Procreate Ink, or IIRL*

I am of two minds about my process. Part of me wants to decide whether or not I should *Ink In Real Life.
I really enjoy sketching and inking, but I know it is hard on my hands and joints. I am thinking I may print the final Procreate comic and trace the panels, just to see if there is a noticeable difference. I’d have done all the hard work on the iPad anyways- that should take the motherload off my joints, right? And sketching… well I do that anyways, but I don’t think I need to print out and trace a sketch to make it better! That’s just nuts, eh?

All in all, I am happy to be rid of Adobe. Especially now when I can’t get to the studio and actually use those tools: at least I’m not paying to not use them.

Affinity Apps

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