Shop Talk: Yon Koma/4 Panel Comic Photoshop Template

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As mentioned on my Tumblr yesterday, Roy and a few others had been asking me to do more slice of life comics. A Japanese yon koma (or 4 panel) comic might be the perfect format for such a thing! Simple and to the point. Anyway, I have a problem where if I’m about to do something more than once, I either try to a.) automate it or b.) create a template/system for it. I don’t like wasting time and energy re-inventing the wheel. So I created this downloadable Photoshop template to share with others!

Download Here

How to Use the Template
It should be self-explanatory, but just in case here is some step-by-step stuff to show how I personally use this template. Obviously you can tailor it to your own creative process, but this would be a good starting point for those suffering from decision-making paralysis (what size? what res? how do I format it for the web? etc).

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If you open up the template in Photoshop, this is what you’ll see. Borders are in a separate folder which you should be able to ignore. It also contains the editable text at the bottom for your URL/name etc. I wrote mine by hand.

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Click on the little eye icons to hide the arrow and red layer. At this point you can just start creating new layers in the content folder. Don’t worry about going outside of the lines – I set up a mask so it won’t matter. This will keep the borders clean.

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Once you’re done with your comic, you should resize it to a web-friendly resolution. It’s originally at 300dpi in case you want to print it (not to mention lines look cleaner when you work at a bigger size!)

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I try to make sure my images are at 72 dpi if I’m putting them on the web. I also resize the entire image to 50% percent.

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If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me complain about Tumblr’s weird formatting when it comes to posting comics. I’ve seen other artists separate panels to get around this, and it works great! So I included a guide in the middle that you can crop to when exporting the pictures. Is it overkill??? Maybe, but I want to spend as little time thinking about dimensions and cropping and similarly tedious things so I can put more brain power towards actual content.

Hope some of you find this useful!

Out & About: Day Trip To Mitsuwa, NJ

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Day Trip!

On Friday Roy and I took a loooong overdue day trip to Edgewater, NJ to visit the 4-day Gourmet Fair that was taking place in the Mitsuwa shopping plaza. Yes, my idea of a day off includes grocery shopping! I don’t even care because the food was so damn good.

Ramen!

We arrived pretty hungry after being stuck in NY traffic, so we beelined for the ramen since it’s not an easy thing to come by where we live. The booth was run by Kamome Teishoku, which was offering its special Kesennuma Shio (Salt) Ramen. It might be weird to think that salt can be its own flavor, but it worked really well and somehow made the broth taste lighter instead of heavy and fatty, which is what I’m used to in ramen places in New York.

fun times at CostCo

After we finished eating and played some Animal Crossing to unwind, we hit up the Sanseido bookstore. I forgot what this magazine was called but I had to flip through it since it was entirely about how awesome CostCo is. The headliner was something like “Let’s enjoy the theme park-like CostCo!” Look at those women eyeing that pizza. You know they’re getting a good fuckin deal

consumption!

Here is some random merch that caught my eye. Roy really wanted to get the Sayaka soul gem, but couldn’t justify the crazy price compared to the quality of the pendant. It’s too bad, because something like that would be a great subtle nerdy accessory. I would love a good quality soul gem or grief seed pendant for my bag!

Other stuff in the picture is a white cream soda I had and some Moomin cookie packaging I thought was cute (full of calcium, of course!). The soda was “yogurt style”, which sounds gross but was actually pretty good. It more or less tasted like fizzy Calpis/Calpico.

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Back to the fair! Here is a crazy booth set up with tsukemono, or pickled stuff that you have with rice and so on. Look at the mound of fish eggs! What!

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Mitsuwa’s meat department always seems to be neatly arranged. This is their kobe beef section with the little wine decoration on top (complete with fake meat for good measure!). I’m not exactly a meat lover, but I appreciated the thought and care that went into their packaging.

We ended the trip by taking advantage of the Kukuru takoyaki booth set up inside the store. Takoyaki is especially hard for us to come by, and this crew came straight from Doutonbori in Osaka. Their flagship store is right next to the famous Glico man. Here is a little video Roy took of the guys in action:



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We split a box and it was just as good as I remember in Osaka. The octopus was really tender and all the toppings were just amazing together. Here is a bonus video of the bonito flakes doing their little dance:



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That’s it for this adventure! Hope you enjoyed my little recap of our trip to Mitsuwa. It’s not as great as say, CostCo, but I’ll take it ヾ(ゝω・`)

Jambox: MINMI – SAKURA feat. ASSASSIN

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Happy Friday! Here’s a clip from MINMI’s Sakura single that came out earlier this year. MINMI’s name might sound familiar to those who’ve seen Samurai Champloo. She has also collaborated with artists such as m-flo and Shonannokaze, the latter of which is actually featured on the Japanese version of this song. Sadly this English version with ASSASSIN is all we’re allowed to view in the West, which is too bad because the original is so much better! (For those in other countries, you can listen to the full original version here)

If you like what you hear then you can get the single on YesAsia.

Have a great weekend!

Stuff! Bitter Oranges by Hope Larson

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Hope Larson directed this short film about a success-driven flapper mixed in the bootlegging business. It’s really cool to see a comic artist’s eyes translated to the big screen.

Stuff! Designing Clothes in Animal Crossing New Leaf

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I should probably not have left my socks on

I should probably not have left my socks on

I made this dress for my Animal Crossing New Leaf character, Farrah. I had just signed up for Shop It To Me (more on that soon) and I was overwhelmed with the desire to buy shiny new clothes. The thing is, I don’t really NEED clothes (I’m more apt to spend money on books) so I came up with the idea to recreate stuff I liked in Animal Crossing. This is a pro design using a sleeveless dress modeled after the Free People Textured Georgia dress.

Drawing the dress was a little weird because it looks really strange when working on the pattern up close. But I was happy to see the little pixelated highlights translate into something that looks like dress folds. I even found a color that mimicked my character’s skin tone for the back, creating the exposed back illusion.

What do you think? Have you tried making your own clothes? I would love to revisit an old season of Project Runway and recreate the winning designs. Blathers could be my Tim Gunn.

Shop Talk: Using Dashes in Japanese Text

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Left: Monster Hunter Portable 3rd; Right: Monster Hunter feature in a western magazine

Left: Monster Hunter Portable 3rd; Right: Monster Hunter feature in a western magazine

Once in a while I’ll see an illustration or graphic that has some Japanese in it that looks a bit…off. Why? The dashes. When you write vertically, the dashes need to be vertical as well. Just a head’s up for those incorporating Japanese into their work.