The Making of Geeks In Love: A Little Help from Technology

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While I decided to draw Geeks in Love in the analog realm, on paper, with a brush and ink, it wasn’t out of some purist attitude. It just feels better than to draw with a graphics tablet, and the result is « warmer » for lack of a better expression.

Still, I wasn’t going to deprive myself of a little technological help.

Tag cloud is an obvious example.

So is On the clock. I drew just one image…

…without hands on the clock, copy and pasted it without shame or mercy, drew in the clock hands in a vector program (Fireworks), and then erased the characters in the noon image, which I reused in the 3pm image. The perfect copies reinforced the « gag », so why not? I might have done the same thing with a photocopier if computers weren’t an option.

But let me give you a less obvious example.

When I started, I didn’t know whether I wanted to hand paint the boxes or draw them with a ruler. I didn’t know what tool I would use to do the bubbles and lettering either. So on episode 1, I didn’t ink the boxes or bubbles or text, and scanned the image without them.

Using a makeshift light table, I then hand painted the boxes and bubbles and text on a separate sheet, and scanned it in. I then composited the strip image and the box & bubble image in Photoshop and decided that was the look I wanted.

Notice that I made a typo in the first bubble, which I fixed in Photoshop using the H that was already there.

So for subsequent episodes, I just hand painted the boxes and bubbles and text directly on the strip.

I’ve done « worse » though. I drew two versions of episode 1. Both versions were quite different except for the third image, which was nearly identical. I preferred the second version of the strip by far, except that I messed up the third image a bit. So there again, I composited the best parts of both versions of that third image in Photoshop.

version 1 / version 2 / version 1+2

Why not? I had all I needed to get the result I wanted, and the techy solution was faster than to draw a third version.

Here’s a final example. This is what I originally drew in Tag Cloud.

While I like the eye, the style strays too far from the general look of the strip. So I redid it in Photoshop, by copying a hand-painted eye from another drawing, flipping it, stretching it, etc. until I had a satisfactory result (and while I was at it, I made the hairline recede a little more).

All in all, it’s very liberating to know that small mistakes can be fixed and small adjustments made in the digital realm, especially since real-life brushes can have a mind of their own, which introduces a certain amount of randomness and unpredictability at the inking stage, for better or worse.

The technology helps me get closer to my goal, with less hassle. Who could ask for anything more?

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