FAQs (frequently asked questions)


Comic-making Tips

Requests:

Can I be your Neofriend?
Can my pets be in your Spooky comic?
Can your Spooky pets be in my comic?
Can you draw a picture for me?
Can we do a comic collab?
Will you join my guild?
Can my pets be friends with your pets?

My comic/pets:

How do you draw your comics?
How do I submit a comic to the Times?
Why doesn't Echo have legs? Or wings? Or a horn?
Why do your ghosts have those headbands?
How did you get a draik?
How did you get your pets painted?
Why are you in Week 1 of the Japanese Times?

Misc:

Why ghosts?
You misspelled Koumori!
Picture/Poem contest wins


HOW I DO IT ALL!

Okie dokie, artichoke-y. So many of you guys want to know how I draw my comics. I mean, from start to finish. So this is how I do it, in its complete entirety. If you want to follow the same technique, you'll need:

  • Paper
  • 2 Colored Pencils (Some light color, preferably light blue and a dark blue.)
  • Brush pen (or some other way to ink the pic, like a sharpie.)
  • Scanner
  • Photoshop (In my pics, I'm using version CS2 on a Mac, but versions as early as 5.5 also work pretty much the same way. They look just a tad different.)

Here we go:

Step 1.
Okay, first, I come up with an idea. I plan out what I want the comic to look like, either in my head, or in little sketches. I have all the dialogue worked out beforehand.

Step 2.

This is the very beginning stages of my comic. I draw out some basic shapes for my characters in a light blue pencil. I'm really loose at this point, and just want to work out body posture, composition, and where the speech bubbles go. If you plan the bubbles early, you won't be trying to cram them somewhere. I'll draw out all the panels like this, usually two or three to a sheet of paper. In this example, it's just a one panel comic thing.

Step 3.

This is the refinement stage. I draw out all the details of my charas in a blue pencil. This includes the words in the bubbles. If the words don't fit well, feel free to make the bubble bigger. I do not use mechanical pencil, because colored lines can easily be removed in Photoshop, and grey pencil lines can't.

Step 4.

This is the inking stage. I ink all the outlines of the characters, the bubbles, and the text. (I don't do panel borders at this stage, though.) I use a brush pen, which gets that nifty line weight, but feel free to use a sharpie. It works nicely, too. DO NOT erase your colored pencil lines. It's not necessary, we can fix that in Photoshop. ;)

Step 5.

This is the point where I scan the pic. I don't usually mess too much with scanner settings, but I DO change the resolution to 300 dpi. This makes the pictures really, really big, and I'll have to shrink them later, but this way I can color them easily. At this point, the pic looks pretty grubby. It's okay.

Step 6.

Now to Photoshop. The first thing I do is adjust the Layers. I go to Image-Adjust-Levels, or press Ctrl+L. The trick is to move the black triangle to the right until your lineart is nice and black, and move the white triangle to the left until the paper area is white. Don't worry about the color pencil lines yet.

Step 7.

Time to get rid of that color. Go to Image-Adjust-Hue/Saturation, or press Ctrl+U. This brings up a color control panel. Change the dropdown menu from Master to Cyan. Then change the lightness to 100. This will make your blue pencil lines disappear!! If there are still some left, change the menu to Blue, and do the same. If you drew with a green colored pencil, change the menu to Green⦠You get the picture. See, isn't that easier than trying to erase those grey pencil lines?

Step 8.
I drew a panel border around the pic. Just go to the Marquee tool (that dotted rectangle), and draw a box around your pic. Then go to Edit-Stroke, and choose the width of the box. Click okay, and there's your panel.

Step 9.
Okay, this is the most complex step, I suppose. It uses Layers! Gasp! But this is the way to set up your pic for your color. See your Layers window? If not, go to Windows-Layers. Now, click the layer that has your lineart on it. It's probably the background layer. Since the background layer is locked, we need to put our lineart on a new layer. Click the layer, go to Layer-New-Layer via Copy, or press Ctrl+J. That copies your lineart to a new layer. Now you can go to the background layer and erase that lineart. We won't need it. (Click the bg layer, press Ctrl+A, then Delete.)

Okay. Now it should look like this:

Now, see, that menu right above your layers that says Normal? Yep. We'll tweak that next. Click your lineart layer. Then click that menu. Choose Multiply from the list.

What does that do? Why, the best thing ever! It changes this layer so that layers beneath it will show through. It's kinda' like if you drew your lineart on a piece of clear plastic. Don't understand? Just watch!

Step 10.

See what happens when I click the background layer and color on it? The colors aren't affected by the lineart! No more nasty white haloes around your lineart! Glee! So you can color to your heart's content on layers under the lineart layer, and your lineart won't be affected! Wheeee!

Step 11.

Here is my final piece. All the charas are colored, and I have a background. (Notice I created a separate layer to work on my backgrounds.) We're almost done. Now to make it acceptable for the NT!

Step 12.
Okay, first make sure you're completely happy with your comic. (Save a separate version, just in case.) Now go to Layers-Flatten Image. This squishes everything to one layer.

Next, go to Image-Image Size. We're trying to shrink this puppy to 470 pixels wide. First, change the Resolution to 72. We won't need that 300 dpi anymore. It should shrink the size, but not to 470 yet. Hit Enter, then go back to Image-Image Size. Now change the width to 470 pixels. It will also change the height appropriately. Hit enter. Now your pic is the approprate dimension.

Step 13.
The final step! We need to make sure the file is under 200 kb. I find that it's easiest to do this by going to File- Save for Web. It should bring up a new -blocked- Change the settings to the ones in the picture:

If you check the bottom left, it should say what the file size is. If it's still over 200kb, you have a few choices:

  • See the number that says 256? That's the number of colors displayed in your comic. Try reducing that number until your comic is under the file size. ⦠If you used a lot of colors, this might make them really weird and pixelly. :(

  • Hit Cancel, and shrink the image down a little bit more, like maybe to 450 wide. (Make sure your text is still readable.) Then save.

  • Hit Cancel, and try File-Save as, and save it as a Jpeg. Lower the quality until it says it's under 200kb.

And then you're done! So go and submit it to the Times!

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NT tips!

One of these days, I'm gonna write up a big article about how to make comics. But for now, here are some NT comic-making tips.

  • Read these Handy Tips first. Read the whole thing. In it is a list of all the things that aren't allowed in the NT. No point working on a comic only to have it rejected because you put a car in it. ;)
  • Realize that not every Neopian plays the flash games, and not every Neopian follows the plot. So try and avoid something too specific.
  • Don't make a joke that involves a character being 'insane.' Those aren't funny.
  • Keep the dialogue as simple as possible. Try to rewrite the sentences in your script so they use the fewest words possible.
  • Don't get fancy with the layout. Keep it as clear as possible. Remember that people read from left to right, so they'll read the leftmost speech bubble before the right one. So don't mix up your speech bubbles.
  • Show your comic to a close friend and ask them if they understand it. If they don't get the joke, chances are no one will.
  • And for the love of Fyora, Don't put afternotes in your comic. Ugh. Those things are annoying as all getout to look at, and they detract from your comic. You want your reader to remember the punchline. They're not going to be able to if you put more text after the punchline! Don't do it!

Here's a good idea! Check out this petpage o' comic making tips, from the creator of the NT comic The Gallion Ranch!


F. A. Q.

Can I be your neofriend?
No, I'm not accepting any more neofriend requests. It's not that I don't want any friends, it's just that I'm not fond of those random requests out of nowhere. I'm not so good at keeping up with people, or remembering who they were, so it just takes up space in my neofriend list. I use my neofriend list mostly for the people I know in real life, like my sister or people at the TCG tournaments. ^_^

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Can my pets be in your Spooky comic?
No, sorry. I'm not going to put your pet in my comic. I get so many requests like this that if I put everyone's pet in that asked me, I wouldn't have any room for my comic characters! If I ever need extra neopets besides my Spooky cast, none of them will belong to other users.

Now, I've made a few exceptions to this. For example, I've used Coshi_dragonite's NeoPups characters in two of my comics. But that's because: 1. He's my friend. 2. He put Komo and Claw in two of his NeoPups comics a while back.

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Can your Spooky pets be in my comic?
Go right ahead. ^_^

I should also mention, don't expect everyone to know who my characters are. Don't assume that the audience knows that Komo is a scaredy-cat, or that Claw loves playing cards. I never do that with my comics. It's bad form, and can confuse a reader. You might even get the 'editor didn't get the joke' rejection letter if you rely too heavily on character backstory for your joke. Of course, this is just a general rule for a comicker. Publish your comic for thirty years, and THEN you can expect your reader to know that your cat Garfield loves lasagna. But for an NT comic, pretend that all your readers are reading their very first Neopian Times issue. Many of them are.

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Can you draw a picture for me?/Do you want to do an art trade?
Sorry, I don't take art trades or requests. I'm really quite busy.

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Can we do a comic collab? How does that work?
Collabs are kinda' spiffy. One person submits the comic, but puts the credit to the co-author in the comment box. Each person gets an NT trophy for it, if it's accepted.

As of right now, my collaborations aren't open to the public. I barely find enough time doing my own comics, what with schoolwork and all. I just can't seem to find the time for other people's comics as well.

Oh, and I don't accept any scripts that include my Spooky characters. Spooky is my comic, not my collab comic. I've made one exception, but I would really like to keep all my Spooky comics as soley my work. ^^

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Will you join my guild?
No, sorry, I already belong to one. :)

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Can my pet be friends with your pets?
Sure, I suppose. But that doesn't mean I'm going to participate in some big long neomail rp where I have to write little stories about what Komo says to your pet, and what your pet says to mine. I really don't have time to keep up such a silly game like that, and they're really rather pointless. If you want to put on your pet's lookup that he's best friends with Komo, go ahead. But don't expect me to participate or put something on Komo's lookup. (If I did that, his lookup would be HUGE! O_O)

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How do you draw your comics?/What programs do you use to draw?
Check out the tutorial at the top of this page. ^__^

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How do you enter your comic into the neopian times?
You use the Submission Form. That link is also on the bottom righthand corner of the Neopian Times front page. Also, you can type the word 'submit' into the Neopets search bar and click on the first question that comes up.

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Why doesn't Echo have any legs? Or wings? Or a horn?
Well, at the beginning when I made the comic, I figured I didn't really draw horse legs that well, so I just didn't draw them. And for his wings and horn, I just forgot to draw them in. I've since learned how to draw horse legs, but now that everyone's used to his current look, I don't want to change it.

Oh, and in case you're wondering... Echo is a male Uni. It's just that he takes on a sort of parental role for his brothers, so he has to do all the girly housework and things. A lot of people think he's a girl, but I can see how they get confused. After all, he acts really girly and he has pretty hair. ^___^

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Why do your ghosts have those little headband things? Are you copying (insert anime here)?
Well I first saw it in Yu Yu Hakusho, the manga. Then I saw those headband things again in Shaman King, and I sarted to wonder about where they came from. As it turns out, in Japanese mythology, those headbands were worn by the wandering spirits. (I read it in a book somewhere) :P So since it's mythology, I'm not copying Shaman King or Yu Yu Hakusho or Ragnarok. It's fair game. :3

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How did you get your draik?
I bought a ghost draik morphing potion back in '03, on the trading post for 180k. I thought about holding on to it, but then decided on using it instead. But that was such a long time ago, when the Snow Faerie used to give those potions out as prizes for completing her quests. She doesn't do that anymore, and therefore, the potion has increased in price dramatically. What is it, a few million now?

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How did you get your pets painted? Where did you get the pbs?
I bought those paint brushes a loooong time ago. Around '03, I think. And they were much cheaper back then. Komo's glowing pb was only 40k. The ghost pb for Echo was 200k. Tombstones' brush was the most expensive, because I bought it in '05 (If I remember correctly.). His Halloween brush was 400k.

You buy pbs from the Trading Post.

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Hey, when I look up your username in the Neopian Times search bar, it says your comic is in Week 1's issue. What gives?
Heheh, that's Week 1 of the Japanese Neopian Times. Apparently, the neo team translated my Snowager comic into Japanese to put into the Times. I assume they did that because it had very little text, so it was a lot less effort to translate than other comics. :P

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Why ghosts?
Well, KomoriChu was the name of my very very first pet, on an account named angelchaochao. He was a mutant korbat, but then my account got iced. I started this account in memory of my little korbie, hence the 'ghost' in the beginning of my username. The 'Spirit' in KomoriSpirit's name was also for that little mutant korbat. Then I found a cheap Ghost Draik Morphing Potion on the Trading Post and decided to buy it and create HauntedClaw. I saw the connection between the ghost pet and my username, and when I saw the revamped ghost Uni, I decided I wanted to make my pets ghost themed.

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Why'd you misspell Koumori?
Komori means 'bat' in Japanese. The more common spelling is Koumori. Either one is correct, because both are the attempts to phonetically spell out a Japanese word. They don't have official spellings, because their 'official' spelling is a Japanese character, not letters. :P

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Hey, you won the poem contest and the picture contest! Where can I read the poem/see the picture?
My poem was in the 458th page: Here

Art Gallery:
Peace On Neopia (p 398)
Trouble in the Treasury (p 730)
You Go, Zo! (p 764)
Eliv Thade (p 789)
Krawk Shaman Voodoo! (p 868)
Lord Darigan (p 890)
Tormund Costume (p 894)
Barallus (p 922)

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