Okay, everybody, Luke here, and here's the 'How I webcomic' page. I'll go over how the comic goes from my head to up on the site, and some general tips as to how do do a webcomic of your own.

Basic Luke-chan disclaimer:
This isn't a guide on how to create a famous webcomic. If you try to pander to people to get more readers, you'll be giving up on the reason you are probably creating your comic in the first place - to take the ideas in your head and transfer them to a media that others can appreciate along with you. Don't make a comic for anyone else but yourself. That way, every single other person who likes it is a brand new friend, and icing on the cake. Mmm, cake. Anyway. Don't be a fanboy, don't be 'cool', don't be 'leet', just be yourself - every fan will mean so much more to you when you know that they enjoy what came straight from your heart. (Boy, Iím sappy sometimes. My apologies.) ^^

So, to start: sketching the comic. I sketch the comic onto a regular old sheet of computer paper held on a clipboard, with a regular old mechanical pencil. I erase using one of those gray gummy art erasers, since I erase a lot. For music, I have an old CD player and headphones, loaded with Eurobeat. (I think that music is so important for drawing. ^^) For a ruler, I use just a piece of paper folded in half - the less material you use, the easier your stuff is to cart around with you.
I start in the lower right corner, and do a tiny (inch or two high) layout of what the comic will look like - panelling, angles, etc. That way, I can refer to it as I draw up the comic.
Now, the comic itself: with ovals for the head, chest, and hips, drop in some 'lean lines' (How are shoulders positioned? The hips?) and fill in the details.
Now, inking. To ink, I use three widths of Copic- or Sakura-brand inking pens: a 0.3, a 0.05, and a Small Brush. The only reason I use this brand over others is durability - any brand will work well on special inking paper, but the Copic will stand up on regular paper that's been erased on a hundred times. Geez, I've been known to to the comic with a thin Sharpie, or a ballpoint pen. Whatever floats your boat. For regular comics, I ink right over the pencil and then erase the pencil - easy. If you want to keep your pencils, or want to work on fresh paper, scan in your pencil drawing, turn it light blue, print it out, and ink on that; alternately, use a light box and a piece of paper over it to ink on - but that is a guide for another time.
For computer work, I use a little Canon scanner, and Adobe Photoshop. Adobe is a fair chunk of change, so either use a copy loaded onto a computer at your local school/university, or save up. There are also free photo editing programs out there (one is called 'GIMP', I believe), but this just covers Photoshop, since that is what I use. Oh, and save all the time - make backup copies, extra backups, halfway fished renamed saves, whatever. You will crash your PC, and you will lose lots of work otherwise.
Now, you have the ink-lined sheet. Scan it in at a nice big dpi - 300 is good. Once it is scanned in, get a grayscale version of it (since all paper has some color to it, and you probably don't want that), but don't just 'Desaturate' it, pick the best color layer. go into the Layers tab, and pick each layer one at a time. The one that looks the best, keep it on, and then select the whole comic (Ctrl-A), and copy it. Now, open a new picture (Ctrl-N), and copy. viola, grayscale.
Next, level the picture out. Open the levels box (Ctrl-L), and up the white and drop the black. This'll get rid of the light grey that stock around from the scan, and darken your lines to a solid black.
Next, open your comic template. Your comic template should be two or three times as big as the normal comic, and have whatever is going to be the same in each comic - for us, it is a border, logo, names / URL, and date area. (Actually, my favorite date area is this local club that has bowling, video games, a little restaurant, and a smoke-free dance club with nice lighting that'll actually play J-Pop if you ask really nice. Party!)
*ahem* Paste in that line drawing you made, and set the layer to 'Multiply'. Now, you've got this big ink drawing over top of your template. Shrink it down (Ctrl-T, then hold Shift while resizing to keep the aspects equal) until it is the right size for your comic. Shift the panels a bit so they fit the way you want.
Now, panel lines. How I do it for the web is as follows: Make a new layer for lines, pick a rectangle that'll be the width of the line, and fill it with white. Now, open the 'Stroke' dialog (under 'Edit'), and stroke a black line through the center of the selection at the width of your comic border (or whatever width you desire). Deslect, and there you go. To make more lines, re-select your line, and copy-drag it around (Hold Ctrl and Alt and drag to make a new one, use Ctrl-T to turn it, holding Shift to make sure you get a straight up-and-down line when you want it.) Worry about cleaning up the lines later.
To clean up your lines, take pieces nearby, and copy-drag them over the bad parts. For the edges, select what you don't want and delete. Now, all you have is to fix up the drawing so each panel doesn't hang over the edge of your panels - zip around it and selectively erase all the extra stuff that shouldn't be there. Once it looks good to you, flatten the comic. Congratulations, you have a base layer. SAVE.
Okay, now, coloring. If you did a good job making the base layer, coloring is a snap. First, make a bunch of Multiply layers, one for each type of color layer. I personally make Hair, Clothes, Skin, and Background layers. Whatever floats your boat.
Now, go back to the base layer, and 'fix up' all the areas. By this, I mean 'touch up the areas so they are all enclosed'. You don't have to do this, but it will save you time later. Once all the areas are simple and clean (that's a good song, by the way ^^), use the magic wand (at a tolerance of, oh, 40 or so) and select all of the areas that correspond to a specific layer type. Expand the area (Select > Modify > Expand) by one or two pixels - your goal here is to get a selection area that extends halfway into the lines of your base layer. Switch to your color layer. Pick the color you want - I personally use a little color template, with each character's colors (hair + hair shadow, skin + skin shadow, etc.), to save time. (Note - in this picture, I've blacked out the names of characters you don't know. No spoilers! ^_^) Get a nice big brush, and paint away. Deselect, and you are good to go.
Now, shading. Pick your shade color (an easy way to get a shade color is to go diagonally down and right from the base color - maybe add a little more red for skin, a little more blue for clothes), and 'Lock' the color layer. This 'preserves the opacity of the layer', which is fancy talk for 'only let color go where color already is'. paint in your shading, without having to worry about going outside of the lines. When you are shading the skin, it is a good time to color the eye area in white, since you will probably have gotten skin color into where the eyes are supposed to be white. Repeat these steps for each color layer, and soon enough, your comic will be colored. Flatten it, then pick a tiny brush, set it to darken, and fill in the little pixels you missed while putting in all of the main color areas. You now have a colored comic - yay!
Now, you need to letter your comic. Type out your text on a new layer, and then below that layer, make a bubble layer. Here's a no-hassle way of making sharp word bubbles. Pick the oval marquee selection tool (hold down a click on the normal one to have the other kinds pop up), and draw a bubble. Now, pick the Polygonal Lasso too, and while holding Shift so that you add to the oval, draw in a bubble arrow. You now have a bubble in selection form. Fill it in with white, then go to the Stroke window, and stroke a black line on the inside of the bubble, and deselect. Bubble complete.
Last is sound effects. A simple way of doing this is to take some bold text, mess around with it via the transform tool (Hold Alt to get the 'skew' effects, which work pretty well), and pick a fun color. Now, right click on the layer and pick 'rasterize'. Next, pick Stroke (this is a very helpful window for comic creating, by the way), and stroke a single pixel of black on the outside of the text. Lastly, make a drop shadow of the text. To do this, duplicate the text layer (right-click on the layer), pick the lower layer, turn the lightness all the way down (Ctrl-U), and move it a couple pixels offset from the layer above. Merge the two layers, and you have a sound effect.
Put it all together, flatten it, shrink it to the size your comic is, save it as a jpeg ('medium' quality works really well), and you now have a comic. Congratulations.



So, that is the technical way of how you make a comic. Now, I'll go into how to actually *make* a comic - story, finding the time, websites, forums, promotion, and all that good stuff. It isn't a stp-by-step process, just a bunch of things I've found out by trial and error:

- First, in my opinion, characters are the most important part of the comic. Take your characters, and detail as much as you can about them. The more backstory and information you pile into them, the easier it will be to see how they interact with other characters. You don't have to *tell* people all of this information, but keep it there so you can see how they would react to things.

- People I've met often have problems with character names. There are multiple ways to go about naming - my two favorites are to get a book on names (or go to a site that has them) and poke around, or just write up situations of them interacting, and think or say out the dialog, and pick a name that fits well in the space where their name would be.

- There are tons of places out there to learn how to write HTML. One very good way to learn it is find a page you like, and open the source code. See how they make tables, menus, etc, and learn even more.

- As for a website, I'd strongly suggest springing for some low-end domain space and a name. Both'll run you under fifteen US dollars, and are worth it in the long run. Popups and banners can really detract from the comic, and a domain name is easy for folks to remember. As your readership grows, you might outgrow your site - invest in a bigger one, or ask people for donations to pay for more website space and bandwidth. Watch out regarding donations, though - you might start subconciously doing things to make people give you more money. If you want to do this, fine, but make sure you realize it. It would really hurt to look back at your comic and go "boy, I can't believe I sold out." Write for yourself, and let everything else handle itself. For DT!, I use space off of my big anime site, which genereates a good amount of advertising revenue. I take a part of this cash each month and set it aside for the website. Sure, I'm out an anime DVD or two every month, but I am making a choice to pay for the site. Make your choices early on, so they don't cause you angst later. There are no specific places to name to tell you to go to - ask around, try one, and if you don't like it, change it.

- The hardest thing I've seen in starting a webcomic is setting yourself to a schedule. As soon as you make a schedule, you will feel constrained - you'll have people sitting on their PC's at 11:59, hitting 'Refesh' over and over waiting for the comic to come up. In my experience, it is most important to streamline your work, and do some things now (color charts, templates, sketchign each character from twenty different angles) that will speed you up later on. Don't kill yourself over your comic, though - if it stops being fun, take a break.

- This leads into another question - dealing with fan expectations. You may get to the point where you get a good amount of fan mail, sit on panels, etc etc. Generally, be in a position where lots of people give you suggestions or ask you for things. Now, don't knock what your fans have to say - if they really enjoy your comic, they have a connection with you. They might have insights that you do not, they might point out that a secondary character you have actually has a huge fan base, they might ask you for nude pictures of your characters, I don't know, riding ponies or playing badminton or something. (I'm not joking. -_-).

- When it comes to fan suggestions, I'd say pick in the beginning on whether or not you are going to take someone else's ideas. DT! is generally what Scott and I think up, and we have a couple people each we draw from and bounce questions off of. Lots of comics, however, do very well by taking ideas and letting the best ones rise to the top. DT! does take sketch day suggestions, since our fans are awesome, and come up with nifty ideas for drawing things, for example. Also, you have to learn to shake off the 'hater' mail. The internet is filled with all sorts of 'interesting' people, and some of them will invariably find your comic - don't let the negative words get to you. Stick with what you like, and you'll do fine.

- As for the naked badminton stuff, consider it a compliment to be asked - if someone likes your characters in that way, you have done a good job somewhere along the line. As for me, though, I'll have to pass on drawing Paul and Barry yaoi. (Actually, the most often asked-for item in DT! is Pink-Haired Girl hentai. Yikes. 0_o;)

- Having a webcomic will affect your life as much as you let it. Expect to lose a few nights of hanging-out with your friends, since you'll be at home coloring or sketching. I actually look forward to sitting around Saturdays and sketching, since it gives me some much-needed quiet time. Having to start coloring at 11:30PM, though, can be a major pain. A good idea is to set aside chunks of the week to work on the comic, and an 'emergency chunk' that you try not to use, but will if you have to. If you go beyond this amount of time, just let the comic be late. Don't stress too much over it. One of the great things about webcomics is that you aren't out money or a publishing contract if you are late - this is your show, enjoy it.

- Also, you may think that your writing sucks, or your art sucks. Practice, try new things, and it will become better. By 'practice' I don't mean 'draw twice a year, and angst about how your art is not improving', I mean keep trying. Read. Learn. Look at work you like, and figure out why you like it. Take classes on figure drawing, if that is your thing - look at artbooks and posefiles for poses, if that is your thing. I learned how to draw from online websites and a huge gallery of pictures I assembled to try to figure out how anime artists drew (which later turned into Anime Cubed, in fact). Look at the huge changes DT! has had over its run. You will get better. Don't get too obsessed with your art, though - the story is just as important (moreso, in my opinion). Practice in getting that great plot out of your head and onto paper. Again, read and learn - take a writing class, or do what I do - read lots and lots and lots of shoujo, and figure out what you like about it. The best part about comics, in my opinion, is the transitions between the panels, and how they use the imagination of the readers to fill it in. Unlike books, the comics give everyone the same mental images of characters, but let them fill in the motions themselves.



And now, a Q & A (Q by 'Kaede', A by myself and Scott - please note that our horrible memories, especially mine, lead to very different answers. ^^;):
When/why/how did DT! originate?
Scott:
I think it started one morning when we were sitting around and talking about how there wasn't an online comic that revolved around anime and anime clubs. I said something to the effect like "wouldn't it be cool if we made that comic" and before I could take it back Luke jumped at the idea and here we are. ^_^
Luke:
Well, Scott and I were standing in line at anime club, and looked over at a bunch of people arguing over some finer point of detail in the subbing of some fansub. Scott was having a conversation to himself for amusement, pretending to be two fanboys - "I think that this is a more apt translation!" "No, you fool, This one is better!", etc. I said to Scott, "You know, you could boil down all those kinds of fans down into two people - a short lumpy sarcastic fanboy, and a tall, creepy one." We gave each other a look, I took an anime flyer and drew the first picture in the art gallery on it, and the comic was born. We sat down and figured out all the different types of anime fan stereotypes that we've seen, and started giving them names that fit the type of fan they represented - a fancy prissy name for Brittany, a short and city-kid name for Pete, etc. The name came from a list of names we and some friends came up with - our buddy Liz actually hit upon the name. (For posterity's sake, the comic's working title was 'Fanboys', before we decided to have people other than the two fanboys you see in the comic. I think someone, maybe Liz, mentioned that it could be spelled 'Fanboyz', and with a shudder, that name was tossed right out. ^_^)

How did you two first meet?
Scott:
Well, that's a long and complex story, but I befriended him near the end of my freshmen year of college in 1999. We became quick friends and my junior year we were roommates for a short time (another long story) and during that time we started the comic.
Luke:
Honestly? I knew him a little bit through Anime Club when I was the secretary, and then when I found out he was friends with the person I liked, I spent lots of time trying to pry information from him. ^_^ (note: the friend was seeing someone else at the time. Whoops.)

What is your favorite thing about having a webcomic?
Luke:
Finding people who like it as much as I do. ^_^ When someone I meet cares for the characters and their relationships , I get all melty. ^_^ Even now, every time someone says 'Hey, I love the comic', I get all happy and thank them profusely. Last panel we did it took two hours for me to get away from it, because I wanted to talk to everyone who liked the comic. ^_^
Scott:
I enjoy the fans and reading their responses on the forums and talking with them for the most part. One of the big reasons the comic exists is to get people aware of anime clubs and to also help people find each other online and form a community. It saddens me that I don't always have the time to chat up everyone. Also I love seeing how Luke takes the initial script I send him and actually turns it into something good - it's like reading a whole new comic.

Least favorite?
Scott:
I can say that sometimes it's quite hard to get a story idea out, but it's really the amount of time the comic takes from my schedule. I live a pretty busy life but I always have to set a good number of hours aside for the comic but they are well worth it.
Luke:
Coloring at 1 AM. =_=

Are any of the characters based on real people?
Scott:
No - with qualifications. The characters were originally made to be stereotypes of anime fans. So technically they are not based off of anyone specifically though I do know some people who act a lot like some of the characters but that is only because they are highly stereotypical people. The characters of dt for the most part have risen beyond their stereotypes that they were originally created with and thus diverged from the people they were close to who are still stereotypes. Yea, that was needlessly complex of a explanation. If you would ask me which character was closest to me I'd say Paul but Paul is not based on me and definitely does things I would never do (like cheat on Autumn).
Luke:
No. Simply put, the characters are all originally based on stereotypes, and then grow into full fledged characters by their decisions. If some people we've met fit these stereotypes almost completely, that isn't our fault. (hey, Paul was having a hard day.. ^^;)

How do you come up with ideas for each comic?
Luke:
It depends. Generally (with lots of exceptions on both sides), I do the stories, Scott does the one-shots. For the anime and anime-club-related stand-alone comics, I go "Scott! I want six comic ideas by Tuesday!" and they magically appear in my email. ^_^ For most of the story arcs and the pure character-driven ones, I take the idiosyncrasies of the characters - all the little things that set them apart in their own way (like someone who hums when they walk, or yells at the TV when they watch talk shows, or writes poetry but never ever tells anyone), and mix them up against each other. The funniest and most endearing part of people is that they work so well together, for good or for ill. Detail someone's personality enough, and you never have to write a story - it'll write itself.
Scott:
Some are inspired by things I see at club meetings, cons and other places while others come from that rock over there that I squeeze. Most of the time I'm sitting there the night before the idea is due and running through idea's until I find one that works.

About how long does each comic take to complete?
Scott:
Too long. ^_^; Actually intial script writing goes pretty quick. (since Luke gets to polish it) However coloring for me takes 2 to 4 hours. I'm really slow but I'm getting better.
Luke:
Depends. Sketching: 25-45 min. Inking, another 10. Coloring depends on who is doing it - I color in about 30 minutes, Scott takes about 2 hours, but he is still learning, and is getting really good at it, so that is okay. (I've been using Photoshop to color for about eleventy billion years, so I don't count. 0_0) For the story arcs, double all these times - I obsess over every word and inflection, then.

What has kept the comic going for so long?
Luke:
'So long'? We've been going for a long time? Wow, I never thought we'd get to the point where someone would say that. ^_^ Well, anime fans are people too, so you can just chronicle how they act together. However, you can't just do topical anime jokes, because that would get stale. I think that the mix of story arcs and one-shots are what keep us going. You can do a bunch of one days, and when you think you are running out of ideas, bust out a story arc. While that's running, you pile up a bunch of one-shots, and since characters change after each story (growing, learning, falling in and out of love, beating the snot out of each other), you have a whole new base to work from.
Scott:
We still have stories and jokes to tell, plus we both love the comic a lot and it has become a part of our lifes, when it ends it will be like losing an arm or something. But without Luke that comic problem wouldn't be still going - I mean, I'm not a artist and quite frankly you can't have a comic without art I mean then it would be a fanfic. On the other hand though it's almost like once you start you are addicted you may not want to put it out some week or wonder why your doing it but you still do. It's a drug or something.

What do you think makes DT! so popular?
Scott:
We're popular? I guess we have a few fans but nothing compared to the larger comics out there. I think what holds us back from becoming mega-popular is we haven't put a lot of work in getting our name out. That's mainly because Luke and I love watching the word of mouth effect. We know if the comic is good, people will find it eventually. This probably comes from the fact that we don't make money off the comic. If we did I bet we'd be more aggressively advertising.
Luke:
Again, wow - never thought we'd be popular. ^_^ Well, word of mouth is great, and Scott is insane when it comes to getting the word out through convention flyers - in fact, the first huge jump in readership (from 500-600 readers a comic to about 4000 - that grew to 11,000 soon afterwards, and is still going up by hundreds per month, whoa) happened two years or so ago, when Scott went nuts with the flyers at Anime Central, and we had the awesomest party ever. I think people stick with it because they see their friends in the comic through the other characters, and sometimes they see a bit of themselves. I know I do. ^_^

What's the hardest part about having a webcomic? (Not to be confused with least favorite)
Scott:
Picking colors for random people and the background. Since I'm not an artist I sometimes pick the weridest colors to add to the background or to random people. Definitely picking color combinations that no person with a fashion sense would ever wear but I guess it's ok since I don't seem to have one.
Luke:
Saying "Today's comic is done". You can *always* fix up a comic a little more - fix the clothes, the hair, the shading on the cheek, the lay of the hair (that's my big one o_o). You have to learn to go "Okay, enough, this is done, time to watch Gatekeepers", or you'll bury yourself.

Is the print DT! still being worked on?
Luke:
Yes, indeed. The print DT! is my baby, and the Anime Club FAQ is Scott's. See, I'm really busy with work and the comic, and I really don't like my toning and inking skills enough to break into shoujo print just yet. Also, we were initially asked to do a 64-page graphic novella, and I don't know if that'll be enough. ^_^ I expect to be started on it by the end of summer - my goal is to get ahead by sixteen full comics, then take those two months and bang out the print work. Hopefully, the publishing company will still take us in. ^^ (If not, no worries - we never wanted a big contract or money. I'll bust out a few on a low-run pressing, and sell them at no profit through the site, so have no fear, fans - you'll get your comic. ^_^) It is a standalone comic, and goes into Paul, Pete, and Susie's first few weeks after they met, and the relationship that flared for a brief while in those early days..
Scott:
*cough* The Anime Club FAQ, you say? That will be worked on sometime this summer.

Do you two ever get into disagreements about the comic?
Scott:
Yea, but we tend to work them out, or at least bury them deep enough that they probably will resurface 20 years from now or something. They generally all resolve around miscommunication and are resolved when we figure out what happened.
Luke:
Definitely. We fight all the time over what characters would do in situation, and what is within the scope of the comic - whether or not we use video game jokes was a big point of contention. (By 'point of contention', I mean that Scott and I go at it with blunt objects - he's stronger than me, but I'm deadly with a wiffle bat, let me tell you). There are a few things that have pretty much been established, though - he is way better with fanboy and fangirl jokes than I am, and sappy stuffs and monologues are my area.

Who/what is your favorite DT! character/story arc/comic?
Scott:
I've always liked Bandai Guy. He was created by watching early Bandai trailers where the annoucer obviously hadn't watched the anime because they were getting it completely wrong (watch the cowboy bebop trailer to get the clue). After watching that we needed something for a quick filler for a week or so and that's how the Bandai Guy summaries were created and we liked him so much we kept him on board.
Story arc wise I've always loved "the Duel" which Luke pretty much did all himself while I was away from the summer the first year the comic was online. While it does put Susie and Pete together, it opens the doors for Autumn to be created and for all of them to start to become fuller characters. Plus you can't beat the dialogue
"Right then, I realized where I was wrong I shouldn't be fighting for her I never lost her. I never had her but there was a cause I never stood up for, until now, something worth fighting for. Myself. That if I tried hard enough and fought for the right reasons even I could be a hero even if only for a fleeting moment."
Just wish I had written that story. ^_^
My favorite one-shot is really tough since there's been a lot of them and there have been a bunch of really good ones but I've got to say the one I've always though as being the coolest was "Never Shake a Pokeball". We were all at the outback stake house or something like that and we were talking about new york public service announcements. (I know a werid topic) One specific public service message about shaking babies was really weird and suddenly I(who knows who really spurted it out but I'll say me) just spurted out "never shake a pokeball" which drew laughs and the rest is history.
Luke:
'Who my favorite character is' is a hard question to answer - when drawing a character, I *am* that character, I guess (stop with those 'Brittany' thoughts, you weirdos out there..), so I like them all a bunch. Which girl I like drawing best, and which guy I think is the coolest, though, is a total secret. ^_^ As for story arc, though, I'd say that I've liked each story arc more than the last - the panelling and flow has worked out better in each consecutive one. ^^

Additional Questions:
Who writes and who draws?
Luke:
Here's the comic breakdown:
- With rare exceptions (some of the Autumn stuff), Scott writes the plot / comedy for the one shots.
- With rare exceptions ('A Fool And His Dubs'), I write the plot / comedy for the story arcs.
- Up until the start of 'Kiss Me Goodbye', Scott usually did the computer coloring for the comic.
- Up until the start of 'Kiss Me Goodbye', I colored the 'key' panels of the story arcs, and a few other comics here and there.
- During 'Kiss Me Goodye' and the further arcs, Gabby colored most of the arc, except for the last four or so comics, which I (Luke) did.
- I draw everything (other than a couple of guest strips, and all the great fanart ^_^), and color the Sketch Days, Gallery, and anything that you can buy on a poster or T-Shirt or whatever.
I think that clears it up. Does it? So confusing.. 0_o;

Mario or Luigi?
Scott:
Luigi, definitely. Height advantage, plus, he is green. Mario was stupid enough to get kidnapped by a haunted mansion.
Luke:
Mario all the way. TWO princesses can't be wrong.
Scott:
Daisy's just waiting for Mario and Peach to get offed so she and Luigi can take over.
Luke:
Luigi's a whiner. Mario goes to save the Mushroom Kingdom, and Luigi sits at home and cries.
Scott:
Bring it.
Luke:
I hate you.


Is that it? I think it is, for now. Ask in the forums if you have any more questions, and remember that everyone can write a masterpiece, and everyone can draw one - it just takes time to figure out how. ^^