“World Domination sounds great until you realize you have to get up from your bed and work for it. Honestly we were too lazy and uninterested in that till some guys decided to blow up our homes.”—Astrals from Curse Of Astral (Webtoon, TBR.)
Ever heard of webtoons? If yes, then hello my fellow webtoon readers and well, if not then let me give a quick explanation to ‘What is a webtoon?’ Webtoons are a type of digital comic that originated in South Korea usually meant to be read on computers and smart-phones. There was a time when webtoons were mostly unknown outside of South Korea even though the concept of it was fairly known by many.
Previously as we know manga/manhwa/manhua; all these forms of comics were mostly enjoyed in the form of paperback reading (print publication). However, recently there has been a surge in popularity internationally thanks to the fact that most of these comics are being released as webcomics a.k.a. webtoons and this has led to decrease in print publication of comics because everything is available on the internet worldwide.
Nowadays webtoons can be created from any part of the world, and not necessarily has be generated from South Korea. This scenario came into picture when South Korean company NAVER launched an app called Webtoon (English, Taiwanese, Thai Versions) in the year 2014 along with Webtoon Originals and CANVAS which helped readers and writers from any part of the world to read or create their own webtoons. Webtoon has its own Ad-Revenue and Creator’s Monetary Funding programs which even pays the artists for their work if they hit a certain benchmark in terms of readers, likes and subscribes.
Now, most people find it amusing to read webtoons but many turn away from knowing all the processes involved behind the creation of one. So here I am, as an illustrator and member of team Chrysalis (the creators) of the webtoon Curse Of Astral (C.O.A.), to give everyone insights on how a webtoon is created.
Now, to create a webtoon you need not be an artist, though it is preferable if you have some basic knowledge of art which will help you understand colouring, lighting and perspective techniques. Even if someone isn’t knowledgeable in art or digital art it is okay because lots of digital art softwares provide 3-D software models to help people sketch their characters or scenes. Sometimes these softwares even provide pre-drawn scenes where you can do slight modifications according to your choices and then use them in your webtoon. However our team prefers doing everything from scratch without usually using anything pre-drawn.
(Reference: Cover Art and Character Designs from the webtoon Curse Of Astral)
Before talking about the software, let me explain digital art. Digital art is an artistic work or practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process. Unlike traditional art or contemporary art where the medium involves paper, clothe, metal, wood or any hard surface as the canvas for painting and pencils, charcoals, colours or dyes are the painting substances, digital art needs a digital sketch-pad or a tablet, a pressure-sensitive pen stylus for digital brush strokes or sketching and sometimes a smart-phone or laptop as your canvas to see your artwork. These are the prerequisites of making digital art.
There might be a question that why do we need digital sketchpads or pens to create digital art or webtoons, when we can use our computer and a mouse instead? Yes, technically that is the cheapest way to go about and get your work done but the end results won’t be as desired. When one is drawing, painting or retouching photos on a computer, a mouse is only going to get them that much and so far. Using a touch-screen might be better but only if equipped with a high-end stylus. That’s why most digital artists and creatives reach first for a graphics tablet. Not only does a graphics tablet mimic traditional ways of working but it also allows you to work with a speed and precision that you’ll struggle to match in any other way.
So, how to choose the best graphics tablet for yourself? While there are some technical differences, most graphics tablets work in the same way. The drawing area of the tablet creates a magnetic field, and the pen draws on this to produce its own magnetic field, which is tracked by the sensors in the tablet. Through this, the tablet knows where the pen is, the velocity of its movement and how hard the tip is being pressed against the board. It can even detect the angle at which the pen is being held.
Best graphics tablet at a glance:
Best budget graphics tablet: Huion H420
Best value graphics tablet: XP-Pen Deco 01 v2
Best wireless graphics tablet: Wacom Intuos M Bluetooth
Best graphics tablet for pros: Wacom Intuos Pro S
Best-value pen display: XP-Pen Artist 12
Now another important point that people often miss out is that one must use a proper pen. Lightweight pens often feel comfortable, easy to use for that is if you only work for an hour or so. They are harder to use over long periods of time and continuous, rigorous work. A heavier, chunkier pen, is really good for daily and prolonged work period because you can easily adjust your hand into how much pressure you should be using on the pen.
Next we move into the softwares that one needs to create digital art. Now, there are multiple softwares available in the online market to create webtoons. Some of the well known softwares include Clip Studio Paint Pro, Ibis Paint X, MediBang Pro, Adobe Illustrator, Corel Painter, Procreate, Krita, GIMP2, Paintstorm Studio and lots more. Clip Studio Paint is a versatile software that supports a wide range of specialties, including illustration, comics, and animation. It comes with a plethora of digital art tools, so you can start drawing with it right out of the box. Clip Studio Paint is suited for those who want to create various kinds of works, including illustration. There is also a version available on the iPad/iPhone/Galaxy/Android/Chromebook. It is indeed one of the best software to create high quality and fine webtoons provided you aren’t broke, because this is a paid software. The free alternatives for CSP includes MediBang, Krita, Ibis Paint X.
While creating a webtoon or any digital art in general, one must keep in mind what style they are going for and accordingly choose a software. Though nowadays that isn’t really a concern anymore because almost all of the softwares have loads of brushes, texture designs, stamps, colour hexes/gradients, blend modes and unrealistic, semi-realistic and realistic effects which helps to create whatever we want. Having multiple textures or brushed are very important if not anything else because every part of section of a webtoon may require different brushes. Like for example,
to sketch hair a certain kind of brush is used (my preference is an ink pen) whereas to sketch clothes one my use a normal brush pen. However one can also use one single type of pen consistently throughout the entire line art if they want.
Moving on to sketching, for beginners who are not experienced in terms of art can use prototypes or 3-D models to create a draft sketch and then move along with the line art. Line art or line drawing is an image that consists of distinct straight lines or curves placed against a usually plain background without gradations in lighting or
hue to represent two-dimensional or three-dimensional objects. Line art can use lines of different colors, although line art is usually monochromatic. Line art emphasizes form and drawings, of several or few constant widths as in case of technical illustrations, or of freely varying widths as in case of brush work or engraving. Line art may tend towards realism, or it may be a caricature, cartoon, ideograph, or glyph. For draft sketches, one can even use free reference sketches available on the internet and those who are experience may directly draw the draft sketches from scratch without any prototypes and then move with line. Line art is followed by base fill colour, then light-shades and highlights, adding extra details and line art colouring.
In order to create a webtoon, art isn’t the only important aspect of it. You need a story or a plotline followed by a script, dialogue framing and screen division. Thereafter you need to do the story boarding and panel sorting and then comes the art. Once all of this is done, all you need to do is create an account on the Webtoon website without you work email, log in, fill out the details about your webtoon, upload your series and then hit on publish button. Your work is up!
So this was all about webtoons from a creator’s perspective!