I’ve gradually been breaking my own artistic rules lately.  Most of my pages (ignoring the color ones from the early days) have been essentially print-ready thus far – my word bubbles and main art have stayed within the print area of the page, I’ve used screentones for all shading, rather than actual grayscale, and I’ve drawn at double what the print resolution would be.  All of this would make it very easy to export to a printer-friendly format, which I thought important when I started this comic.

This print-ready effort has gradually broken down.  A few months ago, I started cheating the word bubbles out toward the edges to save room, even going so far as to start popping the word bubbles out of the panels entirely.  Finally, today, I decided on a whim to play around with partial transparency.  I have to say I love the results.  The text message in panel three is obvious.  I’m sure I’ve seen this done elsewhere, but somehow making the box slightly transparent makes it seem more computer-y.  Further, I couldn’t get the tones in the background to look desaturated enough, so I set the two regions to 50% (screen tone thickness), and then adjusted the layer transparency to get the actual darkness I wanted.  This worked perfectly.  The 50% screen tone lines give me the perfect texture for the background, and the lower transparency reduces the detail of the lines themselves (as well as setting the darkness itself).  It worked great, and I will definitely continue to do this.