As a graphic designer, I have been using InDesign professionally for the past 5 years. I find it to be a great tool to flow text for advertisements, brochures, annual reports and various other publications. While I don’t recommend designing exclusively in the program, it is a great complementary tool for executing most of the workload in my day to day job.
InDesign is an Adobe product which they describe it as a “professional page layout software for print and digital publishing”. And that is exactly what I am using it for when I make my weekly comic, Night Ninja and the Thirty Feats of Fear.
When I first started researching how people were creating their own comics, I found that many people were using Adobe Photoshop for the lettering and outputting of their work. While Adobe Photoshop is a great option if that is the only software you have available, it wasn’t necessarily designed for that purpose. I know from experience that layers in Photoshop files can get out of hand very quickly, especially when you are coloring complex artwork. But adding in 15 more layers for word bubbles and another 15 for the dialogue can drive you crazy.
So for that fact alone, Photoshop wasn’t going to be an option for anything other than touching up and coloring my original art.
I also saw that some people were recommending Adobe Illustrator for placing the artwork and lettering on a separate layer. This works well because Illustrator is the perfect tool for vector-drawing. Vector drawings are able to scaled without any distortion. So you can create a word balloon and make it bigger or smaller for the amount of text needed without any of the blurry, pixel issues from Photoshop.
Using Illustrator is actually what I did for the first 5 weeks of Night Ninja, but after files and folders began to pile up I thought about the end goal. What is it that I want to do with these pages in the long run?
Publish a comic or graphic novel.
If I am going to publish a comic after 20 pages or a graphic novel after 120, why would I want to work with 20 or 120 files? Why not work in a book format to begin with and use a tool that is designed specifically for flowing pages and making books?
Adobe InDesign is what I should have been using from the start. Over the next few articles I plan on highlighting some of the features I think people should be using for making comics. While I do not make comics professionally, I do think my points are valid and many people might find it useful.
Next Friday: Setting up your book and master pages