With less than a month to go, final production is hectic for completing The Lost Girl. But it's easily the most satisfying stage.
The ugliest business is layouts and pencils. I seldom do straight black and white artwork; there's usually some polishing up with grayscale tones or colors once the lines are done. So I think subconsciously I leave out elements that would help b&w lineart stand out on its own, like crosshatching or even flat blacks. With Lost Girl i've tried to overcome those shortcomings, even just a little bit. But it remains that a great deal of the visuals are resting on my coloring skills, so I'm a little nervous as to how bright this'll all shine in the end.
After Johnny Bunko I was really seduced by working digitally with a tablet and photoshop. Lines are cleaner and the workspace is far more malleable. But I'm a slow worker to begin with, and being able to tinker endlessly at an intensely zoomed-in scale was pretty crippling to my production time. And no matter how good I was feeling at using a stylus, I lost a lot of sense of proportion and gesture-quality to sketches. After about 2 years of pounding the tablet, I went back to pencil and paper for the lineart, and it's worked pretty well. Whatever cleanliness and minute detailing I've lost is balanced by a better sense of the page, movement, and my own drawing comfort.
Still, a little digital spit and polish goes a long way. It feels good to see lettered, colored pages after looking at half-finished line art for months. And we're getting close to having a finished book!