Computers and Making Comics, Part 2

Picking up from where we left off last time, I’ll talk some more about computers and how they tie into making comics.

In this particular blog post, friends, I’ll discuss hardware.  Before we get started, I need to emphasize what I said the last time – technology is constantly changing.  It gets better and better year by year.  That cutting-edge, state-of-the-art latest model desktop unit you see in your friendly neighborhood computer store may become completely obsolete within as little as a year.  It is possible to get upgrades on older computers and retrofit them with increased capabilities.  

I also do not want to get into the whole PC vs. Mac discussion.  Whatever hardware and operating system you want to use is entirely up to you, based on your preferences and what you can afford.  

As for what you’ll need, it depends.  If you just aim to use the computer to retouch your artwork or format it for your publisher or printer, you won’t need as much as the individual who does everything digitally (drawing, lettering, coloring, etc).

Either a desktop or laptop can be used.  You’ll probably need a scanner in addition to scan your pages or drawings into the computer’s graphics program (software will be discussed next time).

HP Deskjet 3510 Scanner/Printer/Copier

HP Deskjet 3510 with lid open

This unit you see in the photographs happens to be an HP 3510 scanner/printer/copier.  I’ve had this since 2013 and is my workhorse.  While a simple scanner will do, a combination unit like this one is nice to have so try to spring for it if you can afford it.

As for drawing on the computer in your graphics program, it can be awkward to draw with a mouse so you’ll need a graphics tablet.

Wacom Bamboo Fun Tablet

A pen/stylus is usually included with the tablet and can allow you to draw directly on the computer when used with graphics software.  This model you see is a Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet I bought around 2007.  If you just use the computer for retouching artwork or basic editing, a low-end tablet will probably suffice.  If you’re doing EVERYTHING digitally, then you’ll probably need something higher-end.  I’m not able to recommend any particular types of high-end graphics tablets myself so I’d shop around, get opinions from others who draw digitally and research online reviews.

Any digital files of your comics will be quite big and can eat up your unit’s internal memory.  Investing in external storage media such as optical discs (DVDs, CDs, etc) or external hard drives (I have two that I use) is a must.

That’s all for now.  Next time, I’ll discuss software.  In the meantime, sign up for the Sunnyville Stories mailing list if you haven’t yet.

Also, be sure to stop over to DriveThru Comics for digital copies of Sunnyville Stories.  Copies of Sunnyville Stories Volume 1 are still for sale on Amazon, both in print and Kindle formats!  While you’re there, be sure to pick up Sunnyville Stories Volume 2 and (if you love Gothic horror) Von Herling, Vampire Hunter!  And now available is the latest installment of the saga, Sunnyville Stories Volume 3.  Get them today!

Copies of all the above titles are available to the library trade via Brodart Company and to retailers from Ingram and Baker & Taylor (via BCH Distribution).  Copies are also available direct from the publisher.  For ordering information, contact maxwestart(at)gmail(dot)com or write to:

Different Mousetrap Press LLC, 1100 19th Avenue N, #108, Unit J, Fargo ND 58102-2269 USA  

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About Max West

I am a freelance artist and the creator of Sunnyville Stories, an independent slice-of-life comics series.
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