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Hooky Tutorial: The Sketch, Look, Rinse & Repeat

I sketch my story idea in scenes and try to arrange them in panels. 

I scan my papers. Let’s pretend I’ve made sketches of whole pages: after scanning, arranging and cleaning up in Photoshop, I export a png of each layout and place them in the InDesign file.

In InDesign I press Shift+W to preview the comic. 

I can flip through spreads with my arrow-keys, see where the story is lacking in action or visuals, make notes and then sketch some more. Scan some more. Photoshop some more. InDesign some more.


When my day is ending, I export a PDF. I peep at it whenever the urge strikes.

Usually I sneak a peep at it on my phone while getting dinner ready or before bed. 

I make more notes. 

I use DayOne for journaling. With it, I can easily take a screenshot of a spread and make notes about the changes I want to make. I find it handy to use a note-taking app that I know I’ll check every day.
Once I have a working dummy, I’ll print out the InDesign version larger (A4) than the format I print (A5). 

Then I clean and trace the printed layouts. 

Summary

  • Sketching thumbnails. This is good to get an overview of your story and to save paper! Also you want to keep it as simple as can be at the start. Get your idea up and running before doubling down into the details.
  • InDesign. Format your book, and figure out how big you want it. This is your book and working file- your Digital Dummy.
  • Photoshop. Scanning. 300 dpi. I just use the resolution I am going to end up printing with anyways. That way I don’t stew up later.
  • Blowing up thumbnails, setting up pages, converting to CMYK and exporting pngs for ID
  • InDesign. Importing images and checking the flow of the story (Shift W)
  • Adjust, Update.
  • Print Pages. Trace. Scan. Repeat.

You can repeat this cycle until you lose your mind, but what you have now is a working file. You can update all your sketched pages to whatever standard you like. And you can continue to edit your story until it is just right.
When you feel you are ready to print, check what your printer needs from you, adjust your file and you are good to go.

  • Export PDF and send it to your printer.
  • I use Ingram Spark – it’s a full service POD self-publishing company.

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