Hope this is the right section
Besides the stuff i do for myself, i haven't done artwork for a real project aside from birthday gifts and that school place.
Around October last year a friend of mine talked to me about fanzines people do at anime festivals and so on and i thought i'd give it a try. I got a storyboard done within 3 weeks but then assignments started raining down heavy and i couldn't get to the actual doing of it. Now that i'm done with the school year i sat down and got to work but, needless to say, ran into a ton of snags. This one snag in particular has always been bugging me in some form or another but, now that i'm actually supposed to deliver, it's becomening more than a nuisance.
I'm using photoshop and painter to do it. Lineart comes out ok, shading is decent but the real problem is with the surfaces. Most manga artists i read (Hiroaki Samura, Tsutomu Nihei, Kastuhiro Otomo, etc) are able to always give some kind of texture to their masses of shade that sort of reflects the material or mood they're trying to transmit. Not just that, but very often the borders between two distinct tones of shade have some kind of accent as well. Now i've observed into it as far as i could, trying to figure things out. I've compared real printed pages to scans to see to what degree the paper texture is responsible for this, and it does add some character but there seems to be more to it than that.
I've come to grasp that these tings very often look better on paper but all i have for print tests is a regular old inkjet, which is nothing like the printers (or paper) they use for actual production.
Obviously i understand a lot of this comes from each artist's individual experience, which in this area i have little, but right now, 9 out 10 shots i do flat out scream software.
Painter seems to be better in that department than photoshop but it always seems to take it too far from over-smooth to just messy and confusing, so i usualy end up with either a dead shade or gradient, or a grainy mess even i can't discern.
I don't know if it's just my inexperience and i can't find the balance, or there's something i'm missing altogether. Anyway, if anyone could point me out some way to tackle this thing, i'd really appreciate it.