Doodles, scribbles and misc art stuff from Frazer Irving, International Comicbook Rockstar.

Some of these pages are a bit dark. This was one of the things I learned the hard way during my early days doing digital art. Because of the variable brightness of different computer screens, married with the difference between what one sees on the screen and how it prints on paper, the tonal values and even hues of many of my early works were often mismatched.

Before computers gave us doodlers the power to control all aspects of the art, the final look of the stuff was conrolled by whoever was working in the production department of the publishers we worked for. Once we gained power tho it made everything a bit trickier. Publishers would have to set up colour settings for those of us who used potatoshop and ensure that we all had the right info at the right time. Some of them would only list stuff like “total ink” and “dot gain” and expect us to understand it. Later they became more efficient and actually allowed us to have their colour settings files so we could just drop them into the right folder and select them in the menu.

However this didn’t change the fact that many of us had our monitors either too bright or too dark, and no colour settings would fix that. By the time I was drawing Frankie I thought I had it nailed: I’d been doing B/W digitally painted art for 2000AD for a while, and that printed just fine so I assumed it’d be ok for this. What I didn’t realise was that the paper they were printing this book on soaked up ink like a sponge, so the pages lost a lot of detail. And looking at the pages now, on my current setup, I see that they were too dark anyway. Maybe 2000AD just had better printing, but what I can see here now is that my old powerbook screen was set waaaay too bright, which caused me to paint everything dark.

I later fixed this issue by calibrating a printed cover with the digital file side by side. I lowered the brightness until they matched almost exactly, and left it at that. The brightness on my monitor was set at the lowest possible setting, which says a lot for the difference between print and screen.

Since then I’ve taken to using my iPad as a guide to what sort of brightness I need. If it looks ok on the pad, then it’ll be fine in print. It’s still never perfect, but it’s close enough so that the difference is minimal. One day soon I expect all my work will exist only in the digital world, so I’ll not have to worry about any of this at all, and I can focus on making the most of the opportunities offered up by the amazing retina screens.

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