Making Digital Comics with KOffice Krita

As you have obviously found out by now, you can choose from a wide variety of graphics software for any task you want to complete. Krita has set itself apart from other graphic software by not worrying so much about image manipulation or photo editing, and focusing entirely on excelling at digital painting application.

With that distinction in mind, we will show you how to make your own digital comics using Krita. Be forewarned: to take full advantage of Krita’s interface, it works best with a pressure sensitive tablet, rather than the classic mouse setup.

  • Open a new document in Krita, and turn on the Grid by selecting View > Show Grid. This allows you to use the grid as guidelines to make sure your boxes are uniformly spaced. You can adjust the grid spacing by going to Settings > Configure Krita and choosing Grid from the left hand menu.

  • Create your frames. Using the square shape tool from the toolbar at the left hand side, you can set up your squares, using the grid as a guideline. Generally speaking, especially starting out, it’s advisable to do no more than three or four frames per page. Set the opacity to 1.00 and select the line weight of the frame in the Size section of the toolbar just above your canvas.

  • Once your frames are set, create a new layer for your sketch by pressing the Insert key, or by selecting Layer > New > Paint Layer. We suggest starting with the freehand painting tool, which looks like a squiggly line in the lefthand side toolbar.

  • If you right click anywhere on your canvas, you will see a circle pop up which includes a miniature color palette, a sample wheel which shows your most recently used colors for easy switching, and in the outer ring, quicklinks to the ten most popular brush options. This makes switching colors and textures much quicker. Select a brush and color from this handy tool and start your sketching.

  • Once you are happy with your sketch, it is time to commit your art to a more definitive “inked” look. Start by lowering the opacity on your sketch layer, so it is not as dark or prominent. Then create a new paint layer, making sure it above your sketch layer in hierarchy. Add your line work in this layer drawing in solid colors right over your sketch layer.

  • With your solid line work in place, you can create new layers to add different levels of shading. You can choose all kinds of hatching or stippling options from the pattern menu, or just choose the hatch brush from your brush options. This is also the step where you can add lettering if you need it. You can either hand-letter your comic, or use the text tool to add your lettering.

  • Once you have solid line work and shading completed, it is time to add color! Either right click to bring up your quick-select palette, or use the color selector in the right hand dock, choose your colors and get down to it. There are two schools of thought for adding color: one is to do all colors on a single layer so that the relationship between colors is always the same, whereas the counterargument is that you have more control over colors if you add them each on their own layer. Since you have already done the shading ahead of time, coloring should be a somewhat easier to handle task.

  • Once you are happy with your document you can save or export it in a number of file formats. You can save it as a simple JPEG if you want to share it, save as a PSD if you want to do any last-minute touch ups in Photoshop, or export as a TIFF if you want to use a program like Scribus to compile your comic into a multi-page book.

    Naturally, there are advanced settings options, brush treatments, and more, but this tutorial should at least get you up and running for a first attempt at drawing your own comic with Krita.