Coming Soon: PipelineComics.com

Stay tuned for details…

pipelinecomics.com logo in progress

That is, to put it mildly, a work in progress. Very early progress.

If you want to be alerted when the site goes live, sign up for the mailing list below! Thanks!

Subscribe to the PipelineComics.com mailing list

* indicates required

Drawing Abbey Chase for #MerMay

Former Disney animator and current podcaster, Tom Bancroft, came up with the idea of #MerMay, where you draw a mermaid/merman everyday for a month.  You can see his on his Tumblr.

While I’ve been a day or two behind the entire way, I’m doing my best to complete the mission.  I hope to be caught up just in time for the month’s end.

My drawing process is usually that I do a sketch in pencil in my sketchbook, scan that in, and then ink and color it in Clip Studio Paint.  This video (using Screenflow) shows all the digital work for the Abbey Chase mermaid I drew last night, after the scan has been loaded up.

The full video ran 20 minutes, so I sped it up to about two and a half. Here we go:

I know what you’re thinking, and I agree: That gun is awful.

All of my #MerMay drawings can be found on my Instagram page.

 

Art Versus Artist

ArtVsArtist

The hashtag challenges you to post a picture of yourself surrounded by eight of your drawings. This picture of me is probably 6 years old, but the drawings are all from the last six months or so.

Art versus Artist

Buy Clip Studio Paint for $20 This Weekend

Clip Studio Paint box art

Clip Studio Paint is the digital drawing program that’s used by, according to its maker, 1.5 million people in the world. It’s an amazing program for creating digital art, particularly comic-related art. The higher end version of the program comes complete with all sorts of functionality for creating comics, from projects with pages to export to EPUB capabilities.

A new update just hit this week, and the program’s makers are celebrating with a big sale through this weekend. CSP is as low as $20 for the next couple of days. If ever you wanted to jump in, this is your change.

Wait, What About Manga Studio?


This is Manga Studio. I’m not entirely sure I understand the whole story, but “Clip Studio Paint” is the name the developers in Japan gave it. SmithMicro renamed it “Manga Studio” when it began distributing it in North America. Now, they’re going back to the original name.

“Manga Studio” wasn’t a great name, but it worked well enough. “Clip Studio Paint” is a mouthful that is almost meaningless in the English language. But it’s just name, and so we move on. I’ll refer to it as “CSP” from here on out.

There Are Two Versions?

Yes, and here’s where the naming gets worse. The base model is named “Pro”, while the model aimed at comic book professionals is named “EX.”

No, I don’t have that backwards. Yes, really. That’s what it is.

What Do They Cost?

Here, take a look:

Clip Studio Paint Price Comparison Chart

That’s $20 for the low end and $87 for the high end this week, where they’re normally $48 and $210. It’s a great deal. SmithMicro runs deals on the software occasionally throughout the year, but this is as low as it usually gets.

What is the Difference?

Like I said before, it’s mostly that the high end version (“EX”) comes with the functionality to make comic books. The lower end (“Pro”) just lets you do images. You can assemble them yourself later.

Also, there’s some 2D and 3D modeling techniques that you’ll need to buy EX to get.

The top of the SmithMicro comparison chart summarizes most of the differences:

Clip Studio Paint Features Comparison

What’s New?

This new upgrade features the ability to do animation. Not 3D puppetry animation. (SmithMicro has another program for that.) No, this is old school, onion-skin animation. Make a drawing, flip back and forth, make the next one on top, watch it ‘move.’ I was looking for a “cheap” program to do something like this with last year and couldn’t find anything. Now, it’s built into CSP. That’s a good deal.

While this animation functionality is available in both versions, the Pro edition limits you to 24 frames, or what they assume will be 3 seconds.

Wait, What New File Format?

I didn’t mention it yet. You must be reading my mind.

Doug Hills points out the updated file format.

The long and short of it is that the new CSP uses an updated file format. It can read the old file format just fine, but previous versions of Manga Studio won’t be able to read these new CSP files. The .lip file is now going to be a .clip file. That kinda makes sense, actually. It might be the first good renaming strategy I’ve mentioned in this post.

Can My Mac Handle CSP?

Most likely. It’s guaranteed to work with the last three generations of Mac OS X. You can also download an older version if you have an older Mac OS, if you really want.

Officially, the line is 2 GB of Ram and an Intel Code Duo chip. I think your computer can handle that, if it’s less than five to seven years old.

Can My Windows PC Handle CSP?

Most likely. Windows 7 or better, 2 GB of RAM, and off you go. See all the specs here.

How Much Fun Is Drawing With A Mouse?

Very little. It can be done, but — no, just don’t. CSP supports a bunch of tablets, including all of the Wacom ones. It also works on other pen displays, like the Yiynova one I use relentlessly.

What Other Resources Do You Have?

How Do I Get Started?

Watch Doug Hills’ YouTube videos. Here’s the introductory channel, and his most recent Patreon-funded one, Manga Studio Guide.

If you do have a pen display kind of thing, be sure to bookmark this explanation for how to move CSP to your second screen.

And, of course, you can buy the software at the SmithMicro site always. But order it this weekend to get the sale price!

Middle X: Black Widow

Enter a world where the X-Men have quietly retired from their years of superheroing. It’s a world where they settled down in the suburbs and lived to ripe old ages.

We look in on them as they hit their 40s. They are, perhaps, soccer moms and dance dads and who knows what else.

Now, Black Widow is more of an Avengers character than an X-Men character. This is a complete cheat. I’m OK with that.

Middle X Black Widow, though she isn't a mutant

Middle X: Cyclops

Enter a world where the X-Men have quietly retired from their years of superheroing. It’s a world where they settled down in the suburbs and lived to ripe old ages.

We look in on them as they hit their 40s. They are, perhaps, soccer moms and dance dads and who knows what else.

Cyclops is losing his hair and adding a gut. In other words, he’s just like the rest of us (nearly)-40-somethings….

Middle X Cyclops art

Middle X: Jean Grey

Enter a world where the X-Men have quietly retired from their years of superheroing. It’s a world where they settled down in the suburbs and lived to ripe old ages.

We look in on them as they hit their 40s. They are, perhaps, soccer moms and dance dads and who knows what else.

She still thinks she’s a trendy 20 year old…

Jean Grey as a soccer mom

Middle X: Domino Paper Cut Out

I learned a lot about Manga Studio while working on the Domino drawing I posted last night.  I multiplied the “colors” to get a stronger look.  I successfully magic wanded Domino and then rotated the selection to create a mask to draw the shadow with.  And more.

I love looking at colored art without the line art. You can often see just how close to being a pure painted a colorist might get.  It’s fun to see if the drawing is clear without the black lines.

For this one, I did more.  I dropped both the black lines AND the colors of the character, leaving behind only her shape as a negative space.  It looks cool, like I created a pop-up paper doll or something.

Work In Progress of the Domino art from yesterday. She's an empty silhouette here.

Middle X: Domino

Enter a world where the X-Men have quietly retired from their years of superheroing. It’s a world where they settled down in the suburbs and lived to ripe old ages.

We look in on them as they hit their 40s. They are, perhaps, soccer moms and dance dads and who knows what else.

Number 4 is… Domino.  Some people just can’t give up the lifestyle.

 

middlex 6_domino_web

Middle X: Kitty Pryde

I don’t really have a backstory in mind for Kitty here, so I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader…

Enter a world where the X-Men have quietly retired from their years of superheroing. It’s a world where they settled down in the suburbs and lived to ripe old ages.

We look in on them as they hit their 40s. They are, perhaps, soccer moms and dance dads and who knows what else.

Number 4 is… Kitty Pryde. Shadowcat. Sprite. Ex-girlfriend to every X-Man character the current writer felt it convenient for her to date. Also, a hardware hacker, a ninja, pals with a ninja, and an awesome fighter, tactician, and thinker.

middlex_kitty_pryde_web

Middle X: Cecilia Reyes

Enter a world where the X-Men have quietly retired from their years of superheroing. It’s a world where they settled down in the suburbs and lived to ripe old ages.

We look in on them as they hit their 40s. They are, perhaps, soccer moms and dance dads and who knows what else.

Number 2 in a series. Here’s…. Dr. Cecilia Reyes. After a brief and tumultuous turn with the X-Men in the 90s, she retired from the mutant scene and returned to the medical scene. Today, she’s an administrator at a hospital back in her hometown or, er, wherever she came from. It’s a cleaner living.

Middle X: Dr. Cecilia Reyes