Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Technical Side of Things.

I'm trying to ramp up for VisionCon in Springfield, MO next Saturday, which mostly means that I've got about 25 projects about 50% complete and will now have a series of daily panic attacks until I get at least SOMETHING done and sitting in the trunk of my car.

The Wicked Witch of the West is one such 50% complete project (along with Dorothy and Glinda). I scanned in all the drawings for her tonight (they took up five 12" x 18" sheets of paper for all the pieces) and got them sized and even a black and white proof made up.
I'm going to try and show more of the technical behind-the-scenes stuff in this blog since maybe some of you out there want to make paper dolls yourself and are wisely looking around first to see what mistakes other people have made.

My general process is that I draw the doll out on a large scale, using the light table to overlap parts and pieces so I can trace them to the correct dimensions.

Once the pieces are scanned into the computer (300dpi setting), I put each doll part into its own layer and delete the background carefully so that I can overlap my doll parts. I am able to set the "center point" of each layer and put that pivot point at the joint. In this way, I can rotate each doll part on the computer screen to make sure the doll is jointed smoothly and looks good in any pose.

I will then do one document (as a giant layout) but grid off my 8-1/2 x 11 sheets. This allows me to see how the final doll parts will be placed on the page, but will keep it all in one document so that when I add the color I can work on the whole doll at once to ensure consistency. Logo, copyright info, piece labeling, etc. will all be added after I color the doll.

Wicked Witch of the West Paper Doll: I will print out a black and white proof on cheap copy paper just so I can piece the doll together and make sure it's easy enough to cut out. Several times I've drawn something that later proved impossible to manage with scissors... so I'll make final adjustments at this point and adjust jointing if necessary.

Wicked Witch of the West Paper Doll: This also lets me try out different poses and props to make sure everything works right. Here for instance, I had to reshape one of the skirt pieces to hide the legs properly when the knees were raised.

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