In this Design Cuts Live session, we were joined by Graphic Artist, Michael Tran, also known as the Rising Kirin. Michael is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is awesome at comic style art. He very kindly joined us today to show us his process for creating comic art in Affinity and demonstrated a variety of products he hand picked from the Design Cuts marketplace.

Create a New Document

Create a new document by adding two layers. One for sketch line art and one for flattening. Draw a circle with Jeff Brown's brush set. Choose the number two pencil and loosely sketch the portrait of a comic figure. 

Draw details of the face such as the eyes, nose and ears. You can draw outlines for the same. This will help in forming the foundation of the sketch.

Pro tip: To place the features in proportions of the head, take half the distance from the top of the head and the bottom of the jaw. Between the eyes and the bottom of the jaw is where the bottom of the nose lies. Half the distance between the bottom of the nose and the bottom of the jaw is the mouth area. This is a quick way to draw the outlines.

Inking Stage

Pick the Rough Anchor Brush from the Invincible Inker Brush Pack and outline the artwork. 

Pro tip: Affinity Photo is best used for raster graphics. You can change the contrast, brightness and add filters in Affinity Photo as opposed to Affinity Designer. 

Once the line art is complete, turn off the sketch. 

Add Lines

Understand foreground, midground and background. Add more weight to the lines that are closer to you and less weight on the ones that are farthest from you. 

This will help exaggerate the area, making it pop. For example, the tip of the nose and the volume of the hair. Whatever you feel fits right and protrudes should have more weight than the other. 

The Process of Flats

Flats are select shapes that are filled with solid colors. This is used in the comic industry to pass it onto the colorist to add shadows, highlights and textures. 

Choose vibrant colors and add them to the composition. When coloring, select the shape, expand it and add color. Make sure the edges are also colored. 

Color the Composition

Once the process of flats and color filling is complete, start coloring the composition. The colorist would use the flats layers to make selections using the magic wand tool.

Select the skin layer and add a new layer on top. Pick a skin color and select the multiply blending mode. For the armor and the tiara, select a shade of golden. Add purple and blue colors to the clothes. Select a light brown color for the hair and a light blue color for the background. Make sure to add color on all different layers, although you can change them later. 

Add Highlights and Shadows

Choose the Ultimate Brush Tool Box. Pick a brush and add shadows on the cheeks and eyelids. Use the navigator panel for assistance. Check areas which require more highlights and shadows and adjust accordingly. 

Pro tip: The Flats Layer has all the different parts isolated for the purpose of coloring. All the other layers are only dealing with one particular area. 

Add gloss to the hair from the Ultimate Brush Tool Box

Add Background

Duplicate the layer and pick a halftone. Choose a soft light and lower the opacity to 50%. 

Congratulations, you’ve successfully created a comic art composition in Affinity.