Hello! I thought it would be fun to have a look at how these comics are made behind the scenes – there’s a lot of work that goes into each comic!
For Rose Loves Chickens, I started by breaking down the main story beats into a Google Doc.
I knew that I wanted the story to be about Young Rose and Bernadette playing in Ber’s chicken coop and Rose getting stuck in there, and I figured that four pages would be enough to cover it.
As you can see there’s not a lot of tight scripting here. If I have a specific phrase or a panel concept (such as the ECU on Rose’s terrified eyes) I’ll not it down, but I usually just put a rough outline down here and tighten up the specifics as I get closer to the final comic.
Then I open up Clip Studio Paint, select the coloured pencil tool and rough out some pencils:
Panels that I have a really clear idea of what I want tend to be the ones that have the heaviest / darkest pencils 🙂
I didn’t have a clear idea on what I wanted the chicken coop to look like so it was this vague box thing at this stage. However doing the pencils let me pace out the story beat-for-beat so I knew where each of the girls were in each panel.
The next stage is the inking, again in Clip Studio Paint, using the standard pen that I really should change at some point, there is so much to learn about using Clip Studio Paint guys for real:
I usually ink the characters on one layer, the backgrounds on another layer and the panel borders on another layer on top of all that. Clip Studio Paint apparently has a way of setting up panel borders really easily, but I haven’t wrapped my head around that part yet so I do that step in Photoshop where I can just hold down the Shift key and draw a line with the pen.
I still wasn’t 100% sure how the chicken coop would actually work at this stage – I had a feeling that having a fence would be a difficult thing to draw because its small enough to be lightweight but full of tons of little lines all over the place. And how would the door stay there?
OK – now it’s onto the colouring in! I always enjoy this step:
A change you might notice here is that I changed the angle of the background in the first panel to make it feel less flat – this was done by transforming the background layer in Photoshop before bringing the image back into Clip Studio Paint for colouring. I also tilted the panel on page four to give it a bit more life.
Picking colours for the background is always tricky – I like to have everything maintaining some kind of consistency, but seeing the same colours panel after panel gets boring so every now and then I just have a splash of a random colour instead of a background. I also had to give the chicken coop some solid walls and a roof so it makes more sense that there’s a door that Rose is trying to open instead of climbing a fence. Having a door means I didn’t have to draw the chickens attacking poor little Rose either, and your imagination fills in what’s happening better than I could, I think.
The final steps are to add shadows (I make a new layer on top of everything else and colour in the shadows using a dark brown pencil, then set the opacity of that layer to 25% so the shadows are nice and soft), text (done in Photoshop because Clip Studio Paint’s text tools are basically a trash fire) and speech bubbles (I draw my speech bubbles by hand, I know there are tools in Clip Studio Paint for this but I like the more organic feel of a hand-drawn speech bubble), check it out:
I also add a new layer for effects, such as the sound effects from the door and the lines on the panel with the close up.
There you go! I hope you liked this look behind the scenes! If you’d like to read the complete version of Rose Loves Chickens, just click here. If you have any questions drop me a line! And if you’d like to see more of this kind of stuff, I am always posting behind-the-scenes footage at my Patreon page – please consider supporting me there, it really helps!