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Comic Con 2010: Dave Gibbons on the changing world of artists

(Editor’s note: Author Jeff Siedlik is a designer at Variety who
attended last week’s Comic Con. He submitted this piece to Technotainment.)

Dave Gibbons is the penciller and inker of the most
celebrated graphic novel in comics’ history, but he’s hardly one to stick with
tradition. The man whose style steered “The Watchmen”  – along with a slew of other comic works – no longer uses pencils
or ink to do his work.

DaveGibbons“I do everything digitally (now),” says Gibbons. “I don’t
even scan in roughs anymore. From page layouts to preliminary sketches to the
finished art, all the work is done on the computer.” 

Gibbons says he uses Smith Micro’s Manga Studio Pro, which
combines the comics-related aspects of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator with 3-D
capabilities. It’s not a photography program that’s applied to comics, it’s
software specifically developed with comics in mind.

“For a long time, the tech guys had no artistic vision,
while the art guys couldn’t grasp the tech,” says Gibbons. “With Manga Studio, the
developers and artists worked very closely to put out something specifically
for comics.” 

Laying out panels, a process considered tedious by many
artists, can be done in seconds. Brush strokes can be nudged and tweaked to
precision. And complex 3D objects such as cars can be imported, rotated and
re-used from one panel to the next.

And in a world where many professional pencillers complete
one page per day, Gibbons says he’s now able to pencil, ink and letter six
pages per week. – assuming he doesn’t keep re-tweaking the work

“The best thing
about the computer is that you can keep changing your mind,” he says. “And the worst thing
about the computer is that… you can keep changing your mind!” 

 

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