While I was happy with the 'Alex Toth' lettering font, and balloon style, the letters seemed a bit too close together (possibly to do with the default settings on Manga Studio 5) and the tutor had suggested some further work on getting the spacing right.
I increased the line spacing from 0 to 1.5 (although it's upper case, the hand-written aesthetic means that some letters are slightly raised or lower, and in particular the 'M's have long tails that were a bit too close to the row below. I increased the character spacing from 0 to 1. I quickly resized the balloons to accommodate the more widely space text, but this means some of the balloon tails need adjusted.
This same page, with the lettering in it's previous state, can be seen, for comparison, below on the 'Page 7' post from 19/7/2017.
I also applied the same lettering settings to a page which has a different style of balloons. Looking at this now, the above style looks better. I think it's perhaps to do with the more rigid edges on the balloons below clashing with the looser lettering style, and in particular it's variation of vertical position.
Below I changed the balloons to the type I preferred on page 6, as posted previously. This generally works better, though I think I can still finesse th pacing and edges of some of the balloons.
There were still a couple of methodological issues though. In panel five the double balloon is Uccello speaking, which hopefully the rider can be clear about because his wife's balloon has a tail pointing toward her - it was hard to find a place where a tail could end, because going to the edge of the panel to the right, meant it was going towards the figure o his wife in panel 6. I tried running it along the lower part of panel 6, up to Uccello, but that didn't look right either. Also, the text 'into this?' continues Uccello's unspoken thought from the previous page, and this doesn't work as well as version one (top) where it is clearly a thought bubble, distinct from the word balloons. I'll need some more wrought/work on that.
The borderless balloons and tails do tend to look better where they are on a flat colour, as in panels 3, 4 and 6, above, and less well when they are over drawn details.
I've posted previously about how upgrading to Manga Studio 5 seemed to slow down my graphics table to the point of unusuability, and I eventually got round this with an app that let me use my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil in lieu of a graphics tablet. This does have an additional advantage that I can also do this on my home Mac, which I'd been doing, due to a few days of not feeling well (and then just being on a roll). When I did go back to my studio, I found I'd left my Apple Pencil at home. I was able to work without this to copy/paste/amend backgrounds, and compose the picture with 3D models (see post immediately below), however I had to hold fire on the inking.
The other problem I'd had at my studio, was slow, interrupted, and eventually kaput internet. This was particularly a nuisance in terms of saving work to Dropbox to access at home. The internet is working now, but often my latest versions of pages are not saved. For example, on page 20 (see post immediately below) I had completed the background and posed 3D models, which have obviously not updated to Dropbox. I had hoped to work from home today (still not feeling 100%, and it's a bit of variety), but it occurs to me that anything I do on that page might cause problems in that I'll have two versions each with changes I will want to keep. I guess I could get round it my saving aa a new page outside of Clip Studio's page management, and then copying over panels, etc - but it's still a nuisance, and there could be unforeseen issues.
This is the only two page spread in the story. More correctly, it's a panel that is the full width of the two pages: this aspect ratio reflecting the paintings the story is about.
After Uccello being stuck at the studies stage, and then released by Rocco's intervention (putting him into the armour, and -figuratively - into the battle), he finally pulls his work together into a single scene.
The photo of Uccello's painting won't actually be in the scene, though elements of it (as seen on earlier pages) will be at various stages of drawing. I pasted it in here to get the dimensions right, and to help me compose the figures sensitively, in relation to it. I spend some time on arranging the figures, to get some variety in the poses and composition, without obscuring key details of the painting. I managed to place the centre right figure tidily between horse coming from each direction - it looks as he if is organising the battle, or conducting an orchestra. Putting him at the centre of the battle like this demonstrates his change - Rocco's intervention has moved him from a cautious distance to being (figuratively and compositionally) in the centre of the battle.
I'll recreate Uccello's picture as a drawing at different stages. I plan to use part pencil and part ink effects, and have thew drawings more developed towards the right - so it reads, and seems to develop with time, left to right in comic tradition.
The bottom panel on the left hand page will use the same shot, with the patron entering the door, and Uccello sleeping on the floor. There are a few reasons for this choice: it means the figures are not obscuring the (now largely complete) painting; the comic probably needs the closure of seeing the finished composition; and also we get to see the patron's shock at the sleeping Uccello, before he sees the completed drawing.
I haven't fully worked out the panel (s) on the right yet, but making it a single panel would create a pleasingly symmetrical page design. It will show Uccello waking up, as the patron Salimbini looks at the painting, and Rocco gives Uccello a conspiratorial wink or tip of the hat (Rocco's gamble has paid off).
Page 7, one of the earliest pages I drew, and needing some reworking, before it was ready to colour.
Thewrestrong aspects to the page, I wanted to keep though. In panels 1, 3 - 4, Uccello is asking for help from colleagues, and I deliberately put barriers between them. I did something similar between Uccello and his wife, with the door frame and the open doors creating a gap or void - I have literally put his (lack of) work between them. Panel 5 reprises this shot, but the wife, (excited by the rewards of this commission moves forward) , as he (further daunted by the challenge) moves back. I carefully composed them in relation to the door-frame to emphasise this. The next panel provides a further literal and metaphorical intrusion into Uccello's space, as the patron pops into the room, with the effect of ratcheting up the stakes.
I redrew the figure of Donatello in panel 1, the original had too much line stablisation to work at the bigger size, and I also ensured it matched the drawing of him on page 11. I also redrew the backgrounds for the two panels of Uccello and his wife. Panel 4 had been partly pasted and enlarged from panel 3: it mostly worked, but the lines for the tiles were a bit thick, so I reduced the width of them. I also redrew some of the Uccello faces, to be consistent with later drawings. For panel 6, it's only the face of Rocco (right) that is unchanged. I liked the ladder and the perspective lines on the upper panel visually, butI I had drawn it on the basis that he would be working directly onto the upper walls, but I subsequently decided that him being up a ladder would be visually cumbersome, and distract from the interaction of the characters, so I changed this panel.
Having made these changes, I was able to do flats. I was noticeable how much quicker it was to flat the more recently drawn panels. I have tended to use the approach of drawing a white layer underneath figures, etc, and would often deliberately leave a white halo around the figure - I sure paid the price for that in the extra time it took me to flat the tiles in the middle row!
This page is fairly unusual in containing the full six panels, and also unusual in featuring four different locations. I tried to give them all distinctively coloured walls. I tried to do the same with the floors, though it was difficult. The colour schemes in panel 2/5, and 6 are already set: with hindsight, I would have been better to colour them first on this page to help me keep the new scene (middle row) I tried to do that, but's it's not so effective moving back across pages. Despite the amount of work it was (as noted above) to do the tiles in those panels, I think it may be better to remove them: they are quite busy panels, with a lot on the tiled areas. It may be possible to take down the tiles on a tone layer, though.
I may have to redo the balloons, as I going to work on the character and line spacing of the lettering, though i may be able to just enlarge the balloons.
On checking the page this morning, I went back and made some minor changes: redrew Rocco's face (panel 6, right) to make it look less vectored); fixed the line spacing on panel 4 balloon 1; added some ink lines for the wife's clothing in panel 5, added colour on pupils (panel 2), etc.
It occurs to me now that I've drawn the woman with a hat in other scenes - am torn between being consistent, and liking these panels as they are...
I had proposed to make this almost a cutaway view of room, but wonder if it's better just to focus on him drawing on wall what will be the first painting. This will also give me an image I can use adapt for the cover and end-papers.
My web platform Weebly is doing some really annoying things! On the post below all the images are full width on the edit version, but then it publishes with some of them really small. That's particularly useless for this post where it's about texture overlays, that are invisible at that size! I've tried 'fixing' it and reposting, but whenever I refresh the public page of the blog it has the same problem. I don't know if it doesn't like me having so many bits of text between the pictures.
It's very frustrating! it's taken me about 90 mins for this post (and I had all the textures already in the pages). The textures must be really large files - it was freezing my (brand new) iMac for up to ten minutes just to import a page from Manga Studio!
I'll have one more try just now, and then I'll leave it and try and fix tomorrow.
I've put horizontal dividers between the pictures and blocks of text, and that seems to have fixed it.
I think I've said elsewhere that i was trying to stay fairly close to flay colour, in keeping with the work of my subject. I had discussed with the tutor applying and aged or distressed overlay to the pages, and I've begun experimenting with this.
First of all I searched online for free to use textures. I found this plaster effect, which I thought would work because of the number of interior scenes with relatively blank space.
In the page below I tried two different things: the top panel has the plaster texture over the rear wall in straight greyscale. I would need to choose between approaches here - either make it the texture of the wall, and so remove it from the figures, or just use it as a texture over everything. I've done the latter on the lower two panels, where I also changed the plaster image to a brown colour. This works fairly well over everything - it's quite subtle, and adds a bit of visual variety. The brown works here as a contrast to the green of the background, it might not works so well on the (majority of) scenes with brownish walls. I could probably change the colour of the plaster texture for individual scenes, without it being noticeable to the average reader. In each case the plaster texture is at 30% opacity
The next question this raise is - should the texture be over the gutters and page borders? If so would it need a subtle flat colour over all the white areas?
I then tried a 'distressed' texture, as seen below. This, in contrast to the subtle tones of the plaster texture, was more high contrast black and white.
I converted this into an ochre colour, and overlaid it on the page below at about 10% opacity. Here I extended it over the white border and gutters. This scene is a the bedroom of a very rich man with a new young wife, so it won't make sense if it looks like the room is shabby - it needs to be clear it's the picture.
Here's a further version, which adds a high contrast version of the plaster image, and a cream/paper colour underneath the colour flats layer. I think the cream improves the effect on the 'white' areas, and the extra texture softemns the overall effect
I also worked with the distressed image, using the magic wand an fill tools, to add a cream/ochre overly, that omitted areas, leaving some useful whites, as below.
I the overlaid this on a page, as shown below.
I'm undecided about the one above: the texture layer on it's own looks aesthetic, but overlaid on a page the distressed marks are perhaps too noticeable in places and too subtle in others. It looks like marble though - which would make it work well on the tiled floors.
I had already decided on the 'Alex Toth' hand-lettering font, and as I work through the pages preparing them for flatting, I have been changing the lettering as I go along.
The eagle eyed tutor had spotted in my pages (with the original typeset style font) that some text blocks, even on a single page, had different letter spacing. This is s strange effect of having imported some text to Manga Studio 5, from version 4. This effect remained, when I changed the font to Alex Toth. I previously reduced the font size to 7. partly because it reduced the line weight, which I felt was a bit heavy for my drawn lines, however I wondered if that was getting a bit small. It may be that the wider spacing makes it easier to read. I couldn't find a way in the settings to change the letter spacing, is I had to copy then paste a block of text with the wider spacing, and then change the text - a bit laborious, but worth trying on a couple of pages to see if it looks better.
On page 6 (see post immediately below) the first version shows MS5's regular spacing, and the second and third post the wider spacing.
I had originally in my short version of the story created my own type of balloons, which aimed to look medieval - almost like the scrolls and banners sometimes used in art as photo word balloons. I'd thought os using a different type for each character. I wonder now though if what might have been charming over four pages would become tiring over twenty two pages...?
I have been leaving the balloons to the end, as I find it easier to do such things all in one go. However, just to make the text readable on my flatted draft versions I roughly marked underneath the text (where required) with a 150 sized marker, and added some ballon tails - I actually like the look. I have made the wide approx70% opaque so it takes some of the colour below. It works on the examples, but experience suggests that it gets complicated riding this over visually busy areas. If opting for this particular style. I'm sure I could finesse it better.
There is a further example of these ad hoc balloons in the post immediately below.
This page was originally contained drawings pasted from my original version, though I previously redrew the two faces in panel 1, and the figures in panel 2. I'm wondering if I could get away with the figures in panel 3 - although noticeably less good that where I have used MS5's 3D models (e.g. panel 2) - they are pretty tiny, so I might get away with them, or a quick re-ink without posing models.
The drawing of the rider reflects my use of high 'stabilisation' at first, and so looks slightly incongruous, however, it is Salimbini's imagined image (one could fairly say 'fantasy image'), there is a logic that it is more stylised, as with Uccello's (un-named) wife's differently imagined version of Uccello's painting on the previous page.
Below is the page ready for colouring. In panel 1 I redrew the male face, the horse, the plinth and the arch. I redrew panel 3 entirely.
And below is the flat coloured version. It looks a lot more coherent that what I started with. some of the adjacent colours are too tonally similar, but i hope I can fix that at the toning stage. There is a lot of single flat colour on this page, but I'm hoping that adding distressing/texture will address that.
I'm thinking now that for panel 1, which is already an imaginary scene, I could add as perhaps a translucent overlay of an imagined landscape - perhaps san Roman as seen in Uccello's paintings that are the subject of the story.
This was one the earliest pages and drawn in MS4 with relatively high 'stabilisation' on the lines. I think it generally works in itself, but does look a bit incongruous with later pages ( and indeed panel 1 of this page, which was drawn later in MS5).
I'll alsoI redrew the background for panel 2, which was originally smaller (as one of 12 panels on an A4 page) and now looks less well resolved than the same view in later pages. I removed the ladder and perspective grid from the upper wall section (this is thought to be where the paintings were originally located, but I'm not going to show him painting up there).
I need to apply some 'satisficing' (it's a conflation of satisfying and sacrificing), because I have some time pressure for my course work, and in the longer term, I do want to be able to work faster and more productively. On that basis, I decided to redraw (or rather - re-ink) the Uccello faces (on the left here) with low stabilisation, for consistency, but leave the Rocco ones (on the right), as he is drawn nearer that style, and there are no other close-ups of him that will look different. Later drawings of armoured figures are more fully realised, but that works here as these are imagine images, and so imperfect.
Having so fixed panel 2, I did the same to panels 3 and 5, but for the background, simply pasting it from the improved version in panel 2. I redrew (or rather - re-inked) Uccello in each panel, and in particular, made his hat consistent with how it is drawn elsewhere. I had previously redrawn the witness from panels 4 and 6, which had been even more in need of it. I also hid any colours or toned layers, in order to create my bitmap for colouring. This involved having to draw outlines for the wooden beams in the background, and I'm not sure that will actually look better. I' may omit from the bitmap layer, which will allow me to either fill or hide them later. I'll also omit the 'pencil drawn' style imaginary battle scenes from the bitmap 'inks' layer. The next step is colour.
Below is the colour flatted version.