Tag Archives: Tips

5 Great Books for Learning Anatomy

5 Great Book For Learning Anatomy

Figure Study by Brian Shearer

Learning anatomy is an ongoing process. The body is complex and subtle in how it carries weight, balances, shifts, and expresses emotion. And yet all those subtle nuances are based on large, simple forms.

I was slow to get a grasp on anatomy. I’m still grasping and probably always will be. A lot of books I found hard to understand in the beginning, which was probably a personal learning style issue. One thing I’ve learned during my ongoing struggle to work on anatomy is that you’ve got to find the book that resonates with you and how you learn.

Here are five great books for learning anatomy. They differ a bit in how they approach the basics, but I found each one helpful in different areas. There’s probably not going to be the ONE book that you buy and does the trick. You’ll have to spend a little time mining for the information that helps you learn. Maybe this list will help you narrow the options a bit.

 

 

1) Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth – By Andrew Loomis

This book has resurfaced in recent years (it used to be out of print) and for good reason, it’s a classic. Andrew Loomis goes in to detailed explanations in an understandable way. This is the book that taught me to put multiple figures in perspective in an image.

 

2) Drawing the Head and Figure– By Jack Hamm

This was my most-used resourced for learning anatomy. The way things were broken down just seemed to resonate with me.

 

3) Drawing the Head and Hands – By Andrew Loomis

Any figure drawing book list without two Loomis suggestions is an incomplete list.

 

4) How to Draw: Heroic Anatomy (The Best of Wizard Basic Training)

Wizard Magazine used to have a “Basic Training” Section where professional comic book artists would draw out tutorials. They were pretty great. Eventually they were collected into various volumes. They can run a little expensive on Amazon and I’m not entirely sure they’re still in print. If you’re at a comic convention maybe you can find one fairly cheap…but I don’t know for sure.

 

5) The Figure: The Classic Approach to Drawing & Construction – by Walt Reed

This was the first anatomy book I bought and there’s lots of good information. It may help you, though at the time I found things hard to grasp. I don’t think it was the book’s problem, I think I was having to unlearn bad habits. It’s also fairly inexpensive. I’d say give it a look.

Art Resource Roundup (Jan 14)

Here are some of my useful finds while mining the internet.

Blambot – Lots of free and paid fonts here. I have used fonts from here for years and the site is definitely worth perusing.

Dick Blick items on clearance – I never remember to check this. But I should. Blick has great prices to begin with, and when they put things on clearance you can get a good deal.

10 Rules for Drawing Comics – Okay, this site hasn’t updated since 2013, but what’s still up there is worth reading. Comic pros give their 10 rules for drawing comics.

Photoshop Animation Tutorial – I didn’t know you could animate in Photoshop, but now I want to try.

Expressions Reference Project – This Deviant Art user has started a project where people submit their facial expressions (based on a chart that they download.) The result is a massive amount of facial expressions on various people.

Practicing Simplicity in Drawing

“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” – Blaise Pascal

SIMPLE-SQUIRREL

“Simplify, simplify, simplify, throughout!” – Alex Toth

Generally speaking, if I can’t communicate the general idea with a few lines, I probably don’t really understand the object I’m trying to draw. Break things down. Then break them down more. Once I’m able to make an object recognizable to a reader with just a few lines, then I’m beginning to grasp what makes that thing look the way it does.

Excess is easy. Simplification is hard.

squirrels_simplified

I’m still not there. But I think I’m getting better.

squirrels_simplified2

Practice simplicity in drawing. When it’s time for detail you’ll know when to stop. You’ll know the life of the object isn’t in the excess.

Why Drawing With Crayons Isn’t Just For Kids

Watching Christmas Movies and Drawing with Crayons

Click to Enlarge

Why are crayons associated with kid’s drawings? They’re sticks of color that can be put down on a page. What has that got to do with youth and immature skill?

Marketing, that’s what. Too bad, because they’re really good for anyone who wants to experiment with color and color relationships. If I ever open a restaurant, every customer will be seated at a table covered in white paper and given three crayons. Fill up the whole table with drawings and get a percentage off your bill. Until then (which is really until never, because I’m never opening a restaurant) I’ll have to settle for swiping a crayon from my son and pilfering a kid’s menu to draw on.

Let me tell you why drawing with crayons isn’t just for kids. If you want to get better at seeing how colors work together give yourself one rule and a pack of crayons.

The rule is: Never use just one color in an area.

Why?

Single colors are boring. Two or three colors are interesting. Are you coloring red hair? Throw in a touch of orange. Presto! It’s alive! Sure, rules are meant to be broken, but there’s something about crayons that adults do that kids don’t. Kids are all over the map when drawing with crayons–they disregard borders and overlap their efforts into muddy-colored chaos. Adults tend to segment everything into it’s proper place. Blue here. Red here. Yellow inside this area. What predicable bores we are.

The sweet spot is in the middle. Get used to using two colors per area or blending one color into another and that’s when it gets exciting. The rule is actually liberating: it forces you to experiment.

There are two more reasons to use crayons in your sketches.

Crayons are cheap to replace. If you’re sketching and practicing, burn through them. Move! Move! Move! Buy some more to experiment with. The marketing demographic of crayons being children has an upside: They’re inexpensive.

What you learn about color can be applied to other mediums. Every medium has it’s own learning curve, sure. But there are rules of color that apply with paint that you can learn drawing with crayons. If you’re struggling with color, try to get handle on it inexpensively before dropping a wad of cash on a medium that has it’s own learning curve.

Now go draw!

4 Tips To Help You Draw More Often

4tiptohelpdraw

 

It’s easy to think you don’t have enough time to get better at drawing. The demands on your time with work, kids, church, or other commitments definitely fill up your life pretty quickly. But, I’ll bet there’s more time in your life than you realize to get in some drawing practice.

Read interviews with professional comic book artists and a common theme usually emerges. Not enough time to ‘sketch for fun.’ Even for professional illustrators it’s hard to find time to practice and experiment. Here are 4 tips to help you draw more often. I’ve found they work for me really well.

1) Buy a sketchbook you will carry

Those large sketchbooks are nice to have around. But they’re not going with you when you head out the door to run errands with the family. Keep a small, pocket-sized sketchbook next to your keys. It’s much easier to shove that in your pocket on the fly than it is to think, “Oh, right, I need to go to the other room to get my…” but you don’t finish the sentence because it’s time to go and people are waiting on you.

2) Buy a pen/pencil that puts down lines you like

Don’t think you have to have first-rate tools to sketch. Use a cheap ball point pen (their lines have a charm all their own) a felt tip marker, a crayon (Crayola Twistables fit nicely in your pocket,) or a inexpensive brush pen. Mix and match. Get something that can make thin and thick lines if you want. Personally, I like something that flows well such as a soft lead pencil or a felt tip pen, but find something that works for you and fits in your pocket.

lamp_sketch

 

3) Fill in the potholes of your day with sketching

Your day has potholes of time. Those moments in your schedule when suddenly you find yourself whipping out your phone? You’ve just hit a pothole and filled it with social media or email. That stuff can wait (really, it can.) Take out your pocket-sized sketchbook and cheap pen or pencil and draw a face. Or a hand. Or that plant over in the corner of your doctor’s waiting area that you’re pretty sure is fake. You’re surrounded by things that have hidden charms. Start drawing and you’ll discover them.

4) The “One Thing” Rule

You’re not trying to make a masterpiece in your sketchbook. You’re trying to learn. Did you draw a face with that one eye too high? If you realized you did, congratulations, you’re developing an accurate perception of your work — that means you’re on the verge of getting better. And besides, that nose you drew? It’s looks great.

If you find the perfectionist in yourself stepping into the process, give yourself the “one thing” rule. For every sketch, for every drawing, or for every page you’re just trying to learn or practice one thing. And if you can’t decide what that one thing is, look at your recent drawings to see what you think you should work on. Even realizing that is one thing worth doing.

Over time I think you’ll find more improvement than you expected.

 

 

 

HOW TO COLOR A COMIC IN PHOTOSHOP – Pt. 4 COLOR AND TEXTURE OVERLAYS

Color_tutorial_pt4_header

HOW TO COLOR A COMIC IN PHOTOSHOP – COLOR AND TEXTURE OVERLAYS

 

WHAT IS AN OVERLAY?

 

An overlay in Photoshop can help add a little extra to your colors.  Two ways to achieve this are through either a texture or color overlay that can help unify the page. You don’t have to do this.  I just include it here because it’s what I do and it works for me. I started doing it mainly by experimenting. At the very least, if you’re new to Photoshop it will help you get a feel for what layers are capable of.

As with the other layers we created for each step of coloring, we’ll need a new layer with a new Mode.

Let’s start with a texture overlay. I don’t always use a texture overlay, but I have been with my webcomic, William the Last. I find it adds a little to the page, so I’ve stuck with it. But first we need to find a texture.

 

Some ways to get a texture include:

  • Scan in a piece of paper/cardboard/wood/fabric or some other textured material.
  • Create a texture yourself in Photoshop
  • Find a texture online. Deviantart.com is a good resource, just be sure to read the what the creator of the texture stipulates for it’s use.

 

The texture I use for William the Last is the Blue Grunge Texture I downloaded from http://solstock.deviantart.com/ The stock there is free to use anywhere, but I sent a note out of courtesy, which is always a good idea. (For the record, The original file is blue. I converted it to grayscale so the color of the texture wouldn’t affect my colors. But you can do what you like.) Here’s the raw texture:

Blue_grunge_texture_by_SolStock

 

 

 

HOW TO USE A TEXTURE

 

In Photoshop, you should have 2 files open — the comic you’re working on and the texture you want to use.

 

  1. Select the entire texture image (CTRL-A) and copy it (CTRL-C).
  2. Go to the comic and click on the topmost layer.
  3. Paste the texture you’ve just copied (CTRL-V).
  4. You see nothing but the texture, so let’s change the mode of the texture layer to MULTIPLY.

 

Now you see the texture and the comic, but it’s really dark.

 

texture_mulitply

So let’s adjust the opacity of the texture.

Set the opacity to something low, like 20%. Just play with it until it looks good to you.

texture_final

That’s all there is to it. Play with different textures until you get something you like! I like the effect of the texture to be subtle. You may not know it’s there until it’s missing. But it all depends on what your purpose is.

 

HOW TO USE A COLOR OVERLAY

Now let’s move on to a color overlay. I usually do this after I’ve finished all the flats and the texture and saved the file as a .tif.

 

Note: A .tif file is a high resolution format. Usually when uploading files for print, it’ll be a .tif format. And the file size usually isn’t too high.

 

Save your file as a .tif version. And then open up that file in Photoshop. What you’ll have is an image with just one layer. The .psd file is your master file for any further changes to the individual layers. The .tif file is a flattened image that you can do other things with like lettering or doing a color overlay. So let’s do that.

 

1) Add a new layer. Set the MODE to HUE and the Opacity to 25%

 

MODE_HUE

 

2) Select a color to use. You’ll have to experiment here too. I’ve been using a pinkish hue on William the Last, so let’s do that. Here’s the image before the hue:

 

no_hue

3) Use the paint bucket to fill in the color on your new layer.

hue_25

That’s all there is to it. The goal with this for me is to unify the colors under a slight hue. From here you can adjust the opacity, or select a new color and fill in that layer to see how it affects the overall image.

Also play with other MODE settings like Color, Overlay (yes, there’s an overlay mode, but I don’t usually use it to, well, overlay. But you can.) or any of the other options. Find out what works for you. Experiment! Play!

Well, that wraps up this series on how to color a comic in Photoshop. I hope it helps!

 

PART 1: HOW TO COLOR A COMIC IN PHOTOSHOP – SCANNING AN IMAGE AND SETTING UP LAYERS

PART 2: HOW TO COLOR A COMIC IN PHOTOSHOP – FLATTING COLORS

PART 3: HOW TO COLOR A COMIC IN PHOTOSHOP – SHADOWS AND HIGHLIGHTS

READ MY WEBCOMIC: WILLIAM THE LAST!

HOW TO COLOR A COMIC IN PHOTOSHOP – Pt.3 SHADOWS AND HIGHLIGHTS

Color_tutorial_pt3_header

HOW TO COLOR A COMIC IN PHOTOSHOP – SHADOWS AND HIGHLIGHTS

Last time I went over how to color your comic with flat colors. This time I’ll go over some more fun stuff: rendering shadows and highlights.

So far you should have two layers — one for the lineart and one for the flat colors. Now we’re going to add two more layers. To be honest, I’m not sure how most people do this, but this is how I learned to do it and it’s worked for me. You can use this as a starting point and if you find a more efficient way that works for you, that’s great.

Before we go on, lock the flat color layer so you don’t accidentally color over the flats.

 

1) SETTING UP LAYERS

For this part, it’s important here that the flat color layer is highlighted. Just click on it once, then go up to the little button you used to create a new layer last time. Except now check the box that says “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask.”

Set the Mode to Multiply and then for good measure, rename the layer “shadows.” It should look like this:

MULTIPLY_LAYER_SETTINGS

Now we’re going to repeat all that again. With two differences. Highlight the layer you just created by clicking on it and then create a new layer. Once again check the “clipping mask” option and this time set the Mode to Screen. Rename this layer, “highlights.”

SCREEN_LAYER_SETTINGS

That’s all there is to setting things up.

 

2) TWO METHODS OF RENDERING

There are probably more than two ways of doing this, but here are two very common ones. First…

 

CUTS

In this method you use the lasso tool that you used to flat in last time. But now you’re going to use it to select areas to apply the darker or lighter colors.

Once you’ve decided which direction the light is coming from (in this case, our left) you want select the areas in shadow (or highlights) and slowly build up the levels of intensity. So here’s our first cut on the side of her face (out of context that sounds…weird.)

The multiply layer will be used for shadows, the screen layer will be used for highlights. Right now, let’s focus on the mulitply layer. Using the gradient tool (Click and hold the paint bucket tool to see the option for the gradient) set to a low opacity (say 20%, but it’s up to you) select a color (and this you’ll have to play with) to use for shadows. Even if you set your color to the same one you used for flats, the mulitply layer will make it darker.

TIP: When you select a tool on the toolbar, the options for that tool appear in the menu bar. For example below I’ve selected the pencil tool, but it works for the gradient tool, paint bucket tool, etc . The options I usually tweak are:

1: The Mode: Just like layers you can change what the brush does. Though I usually leave it on Normal.

2: The opacity of the brush. How much color will it lay down is determined here.

3: If you have a pressure sensitive tablet, this option makes the strokes respond to the pressure you put down with the stylus. The harder you press, the more opaque the color.

4: Like #3 above, this option responds to the tablet pressure, but instead makes the lines thinner or thicker depending on the pressure.

brush-options

 

For any tool, this is where you can play with the options.

 

Once you have a color, you can click and drag the gradient tool in the direction you want and you get the section filled with shadow.

GRADIENT-CUT

 

You can then re-select an area within that to layer a deeper shadows inside. Below I’ve made some quick cuts over the eyes, around the lips and on the shadow side of the nose.

 

GRADIENT-CUT2

 

 

From here you can decide how to lay out the shadows as they fall across the forms.

 

FREEHAND

Another way to do it is to select an area, either with the lasso tool, or the select the area of color in the flat layer with the magic wand (W on the keyboard) and use a pencil or brush set to a low opacity and build up colors. This is easier with some form of tablet in my experience. This is how I do my colors most of the time.

This method is a little more like coloring with traditional tools, at least that’s how I feel. You can also play with the opacity of a layer for more basic shading. You can also opt to do a simpler shadow/highlight method by just setting your opacity to 100% and using one solid color as a shadow with no gradient. I do this sometimes too, just depends on the project or scene. This is how a lot of animation is shaded these days.

For highlights, the technique is the same. Select the area and build up values, or do a flat highlight. Play with is and see what works.

You can also add more layers like you added the highlight and shadow layers…use as many as you need. And play with color dodge and color burn and see how they affect the flat colors. There are more ways to achieve your ends than I’ve presented here, but if you’re starting from scratch, the way I’ve outlined will get you familiar with how things work in Photoshop.

 

A good resource for understanding color and light and how they play out in different settings is James Gurney’s aptly titled book: Color and Light. Available on Amazon:
 

 

That’s all for now. Next time: Color and Texture overlays.

 

PART 1: HOW TO COLOR A COMIC IN PHOTOSHOP – SCANNING AN IMAGE AND SETTING UP LAYERS

 

PART 2: HOW TO COLOR A COMIC IN PHOTOSHOP – FLATTING COLORS

HOW TO COLOR A COMIC IN PHOTOSHOP -Pt. 2 FLATTING COLORS

Color_tutorial_pt2_header

HOW TO COLOR A COMIC IN PHOTOSHOP – FLATTING COLORS

Last time I showed how I scan in artwork and get the layers set up in Photoshop for coloring. This time we’re going to go over flatting-in colors.

Your layers should look like this (Note: You can rename your layers by double-clicking on the current name. For example, changing “layer 0″ to “lineart.”)

MENU_layerssetup

Now that we’re set up, let’s move on to actually coloring.

1) SETTING UP THE BASE COLOR FILL

Instead of coloring in bits and pieces on a blank white background, select an overall fill color to begin with. Is your scene at night? Maybe use a darker bluish hue. Forest? Lay down a green or greenish-yellow. Maybe a brown. It just depends on the mood and atmosphere you’re going for. Here I used a green for the base color since they’re around a lot of trees and plants.

Just use the paint bucket tool and the whole page should fill up with your color.

From here I like delete the color that’s in the gutters (the area between panels) Use the MAGIC WAND tool and make sure to click the box marked CONTIGUOUS.

SCREENCAP_wand-contiguous

Contiguous will only select the area of color you click on — stopping wherever that color stops. This will be important later when we start looking at shadows and highlights. To select the gutters, click on the layer that has your line art and click on an area anywhere in the gutter. Then click back on the coloring layer.

Hit DELETE to delete the color in the gutters.

So at this point your page looks something like this:

Flats-white-gutters

2) SELECTING AREAS AND FILLING

Now to start separating everything that needs to be a color other than the background hue you just laid down. Meet your friend, Mr. Polygonal Lasso.

LASSO-TOOL

There are three different lasso options.  This is the one that I’d recommend for right now. But, of course, experiment to see what works for you. This will let you select the areas, like faces and clothes, that need to be separate from each other.

TIP: Click and hold the icon to display the variations of any tool in the Photoshop toolbar.

Let’s start with Ella’s face here.

ellasface

Just follow the outline of her face (where you want the skin tone to stop.) Every time you click, a new anchor point is laid down and you can change directions. Just don’t click too fast between points, or it’ll close the selection before you’re ready.

Once you’ve come all the way around, just click the place you started and boom! You have an area ready to be filled in.

Just the Keyboard shortcuts L (for Lasso) and G (for, uh, Paint Bucket) to quickly go back and forth selecting areas and filling them in.

FILL_FACE

I usually choose a mid-tone for my flat colors. That way I have someplace to go with shadows and someplace to go for highlights. But honestly at this point the main thing is separating the different areas. You could separate them all in crazy colors and go back later and decide what everything needs to be. Whatever you feel like doing.

Note: A good resource on coloring is the DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering. Even if you’re not doing superhero books, there are good principles laid out there.*


A good thing to keep in mind is where everything sits in terms of foreground, middle ground, and background. That’s probably a subject for another blog since I’m just covering the basic mechanics of how to color in Photoshop, but thinking through where everything sits will give your image more depth.

For example, if something is right up front in the panel, but the focal point is mid-ground, you could (and I often do) make it a blue shadowy hue–or whatever color you choose, just make sure the color itself doesn’t distract from the main subject. Red probably isn’t good. In fact, I’d recommend a cool color like blue or green. But I’ll save that for later.

Once you’ve gone all through each panel separating the elements, you’ll have something that should look like this:

flatted-page

Note: I’ve started doing a lot of background stuff with the shadow and highlight layers, sometimes “painting” in the bg elements. You can flat as much as you need to for your style. You get the idea.

Depending on the lineart, you may even want to stop here. I just depends on what you’re going for. My style on this particular page needs more I think, so next time we’ll get in to shadows and highlights. See you then!

KEY POINTS

  • USE THE LASSO TOOL TO SELECT (L)
  • USE THE PAINTBUCKET TOOL TO FILL (G)
  • ESTABLISH A OVERALL MOOD/SCENE/LOCATION COLOR FIRST
  • SEPARATE ANY AREA/ELEMENT THAT NEEDS IT’S OWN COLOR.
  • TRY TO STICK TO MID TONES

Part 1 – How to Color a Comic in Photoshop – Scanning an image and Setting up Layers
You can read my webcomic, William the Last, here!

 

*Full disclosure: I’m an Amazon Affiliate, so I get a small commission if you buy from this link. 

HOW TO COLOR A COMIC IN PHOTOSHOP – Pt. 1 SCANNING AN IMAGE AND SETTING UP LAYERS

Color_tutorial_pt1_header

HOW TO COLOR A COMIC IN PHOTOSHOP-SCANNING AND SETTING UP LAYERS

There are probably a bunch of ways to color in Photoshop, and other comic books artists might have methods that differ from mine. But this way gives you a good result and is a good starting point for understanding the basics.

You don’t have to be a Photoshop guru to get good results either. I’m probably only utilizing .00001% of what PS can do, and I’ve been using it for a over a decade. I just use it to do what I need to get done. It’s a tool.

1) SCAN IN YOUR DRAWING.

First, get your linework in Photoshop. Scan it in at 400dpi for grayscale, or 600dpi for Black and White (your scanner software may say “Lineart”.) It depends on how well your scanner handles the art. If you scanned it in grayscale, then go to Image>Adjustments>Threshold and play with the numbers until you get some nice black lines. I usually set it around 163, but it varies either higher or lower depending on how fine your lines are.

MENU_threshold

If you scanned at 600dpi B&W, go to Image>Mode and select CMYK. (Note: You’ll have to select grayscale first to get it out of Bitmap mode. Then click Image>Mode again to select CMYK. I don’t know why we don’t have the technology to go straight from Bitmap to CMYK. Way to fail, science.)

MENU_colormode

 

CMYK is for print, and even though I do a webcomic, I ultimately want to go to print with it. If you’re doing an image that’s for web only you can select RGB.

At this point you should have some lineart that’s all ready to color:

 

Color_tutorial_LINEART

NOTE: At this point go to Image>Image Size and change the resolution to 300 dpi. This will save you some computer processing time and 300dpi is good for color printing.

MENU_imagesize

 

2) SET UP YOUR LAYERS.

I use layers as the backbone of my coloring process. Some people use channels, I think, but I never quite got the hang of that. Think of layers as transparent sheets of paper that you, well, layer over your art. That’s the simplest way to think of them. You can change what these transparent sheets do to the layers underneath. They might make everything underneath darker, or lighter, or give it a hue, etc. Here’s the bare bones of coloring a comic with flat colors.

I always want the line art to be the top layer set to multiply. Right now your lineart is your background layer. Right-click on that layer and select “LAYER FROM BACKGROUND”

 

MENU_layerfrombackground

 

This will let you move that layer to the top. In order to have the stuff you’re about to do underneath it be visible, set that layer’s blending mode to MULTIPLY. The drop-down menu just above the layers should say NORMAL right now. Click it to see the options.

 

MENU_layer-multiply

 

 

 

At this point go ahead and lock the lineart layer. (It’s the padlock icon right above it.) This will keep you from accidentally coloring on that layer.

One more thing to do and you’ll be all ready to start coloring. It’s time to create the layer you’ll be doing your flat colors on. Go to the layer menu and create a new layer.

 

MENU_layer-new

 

Once you do this, that layer will be on top, probably labeled “Layer 1″. Just click and drag it so it’s underneath the lineart layer.

Once that’s done your layers should look like this:

 

MENU_layerssetup

 

 

From here you’re all ready to start coloring. Next time — coloring!

PART 2: HOW TO COLOR A COMIC IN PHOTOSHOP – FLATTING COLORS

 

Comic Book Artists: Lettering Is Not An Afterthought

File this one under: Notes to Myself.  I posted this with one of my webcomic updates (which, if you’re not reading, feel free) and thought I would include it here as well.

It’s easy as a comic book artist, especially early on in a career, to forget to give enough room to lettering.

We get caught up in making that beautiful background, getting in all those dynamic poses, or we simply acquiesce to the desire to fill up the panel. It’s open space right? And open space is begging to be drawn in.  Even when we leave space for the image to breathe and to give our eye a place to rest (for an example of something that DOESN’T give the eye somewhere to rest, look at Michael Bay’s Transformers designs) we sometimes forget that the dialog balloons are just as much a part of comic art as the fancy pants rendering.

I was slow to learn this.

One of the things I’ve done in the past, and I did with this page, is lay out the dialog in the panels before I thumbnail.

ch3pg11_process1

Here I can work out the flow of the dialog as the readers eye moves across the page. The above image is what I settled on after a few iterations. Incidentally, one of the benefits of Manga Studio is that I can easily rearrange the dialog and thumbnails to see what works.

ch3pg11pencils

From here I can go into the pencils (my thumbnails are in blue, I pencil over those in MS) and can make sure the dialog is taken into account as a part of the over all image and pacing.

I’m not a comics Jedi or anything, but I’ve found it pays off to think of the page as a whole (image + words) instead of cramming any part of it in as an afterthought.