Work faster when creating webtoons and comics!

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The video ↓

I hope you like the video! I've transcribed the bulk of it here for easy access, including a couple additional notes ( ˙꒳​˙ )

#0: Intro + advice

Hi! My name is Paulina Márquez, I’m a webtoon and comics author and I will be showing you some of the Clip Studio Paint tools I used to work faster while creating my Spanish WEBTOON Original series “Rosa, Girasol” (Rose & Sunflower).

Before we begin, my first advice is: *analyze how you work!*

All of our workflows are different, so please look at your own processes and adapt the information I will show you here to your own needs. This video is meant to be a starting point for you to change it as you please. There is no “correct” answer here, just take what works best for you and change what doesn’t!

Our end goal here is to click stuff around as little as possible. Imagine you're drawing on a desk but the pencil you need to draw is on a different room, so every time you want to draw a line you have to get up and go get it. Doesn't sound too practical, does it? So let's apply this logic to the digital realm and use Clip Studio Paint to keep our webtoon organized and easy to work with, with these simple tricks!

#1: Workspace

In the video I show you how I customize and save a workspace specifically made for working on webtoons. By clicking the small Menu icon on the upper left and clicking on "Hide ___ palette", I hid all the palettes I *never* use, like Brush size, Timeline, Animation cels, Information, Item bank, Color Set, Color Mixing, etc.

I also moved the palettes around to where they felt most comfortable to work with. To do it, I just clicked on the name and dragged them to their new place.

Here’s where the knowing your workflow part comes in! Think about what tools you use the most, which ones you use the least, and don’t be afraid to shake things up immediately if there’s something that doesn’t feel completely right to you.

Once you’re satisfied with your arrangement, you can click on the Window menu, and at the bottom, in Palette dock, you can lock the position, width and height of the palettes, if you wish.

Then, you can save your workspace by going to Workspace > Register workspace… I’ll save mine as Paulina’s Workspace.

If something gets moved around or closed by mistake, you can just go back to this menu and Reload your workspace!

I’ve made my workspace available as a free ASSET. It includes the palette arrangement, and some shortcuts I adapted from that one other digital drawing software, since I was too used to it. Check it out in the link below!

#2: The SubView palette

One of the most useful tools Clip Studio has, and which I feel doesn't get enough love and attention as it deserves, is the SubView palette.

When creating webtoons, I know some artists have the color palette of their characters setup on the Swatches or Set color panels, and I know some others like to have a file with their color palette open on a separate tab or window and they will go back and forth between files.

My problem with these is… they’re SO TIME CONSUMING!

I tried the swatches method for a webtoon I made years ago and I was always struggling to remember which colors went where. My webtoon’s colors were all over the place because of this.

And the problem with having the file open on a separate tab is… that’s sooooo much clicking! Those clicks might be fractions of a second, but if you add them all up, it ends up being a lot of wasted time. Also, you need to open the file every single time you open the program, and that’s just… annoying.

Here's where the Subview palette comes in.

The subview palette is essentially a visualizer for reference images. To use it, we click on the Open icon (7) and select an image or a Clip file. I have some color reference images I made while working on my webtoon and I used them in the video as example. This will open the image.

Using the controls below the image we can zoom out and zoom in (1), rotate the image (2+3), flip it (5) and reset the rotation (4) and size (11).

But the true magic of the subview palette is the little eyedrop icon (10).

If you hover on top of the image window with the eyedropper icon unselected, you'll see your mouse changes automatically to the Hand tool, which you can use to move around the image. However, with the eyedropper icon on, the cursor automatically changes to an eyedropper when you hover on top of the image. With this, you can select colors from your reference images to work with.

No additional clicks needed! This is super useful if you’re coloring a comic or webtoon with recurring characters and/or colors.

If you need multiple images, you can add them! Just click again on the Open icon and select the one(s) you need. You can browse through them with the two arrows (6). If you don’t need an image anymore, just click on the trash icon (9) to clear it.

Other useful way to use it is adding here any image files you open frequently. For example, I added here one of the tattoos my character had, then clicked on the Edit button (8) to open the file. This way, I can open the files I use regularly without having to look for them in my file explorer.

While working on my webtoon I created a ton of images to put in here, some for eyedropping colors, others just for visual reference, and they helped me not to waste time looking for them or opening other bigger files. They don't have to be fancy or anything, just whatever makes your work easier!

#3: Auto actions and shortcuts for small tasks

If you make webtoons on Clip Studio, you probably use or at least have heard of automatic actions, and while they can be great for complex things, they can also be reaaaally simple and save us tons of time! This is one of my favorite webtoon organization tricks.

One of the most common things I did while working on my webtoon was creating a lineart folder, creating a layer for each character, double clicking on them, and writing the character’s name. It was a necessity because a messy webtoon file is a terrible waste of time (and there is never enough time), but doing that so many times each week was soooo boring!

The following is the solution I found.

For this part I will use episode 38 of my webtoon as example.

First thing we'll do is go to the Auto Action palette and create a new set of actions. We can do so by clicking the icon next to the set name, or by clicking on the small menu icon on the upper left and selecting “Create new set”.

I’ve named mine “Character layers”, and I will name my first action “Luisa”, like my main character.

To record the actions, I’ll click on the red button.

Now let’s go to the Layer panel and create a new vector layer. As you can see, the action gets recorded. Next, let’s double click on it to rename it and then, stop the recording. That’s it! The action recorded the name I assigned to the layer.

I’ll create a couple more actions using the same method, this time with different layer names.

Now that I have my actions ready, I’ll go to the Clip Studio Paint menu and click on Shortcut Settings. There, I’ll open the Category drop down menu and select Auto Actions. In Clip Studio you can assign *any* keystroke to any command, including Auto actions.

The easiest way for me to remember them is to use the initial of their names.

And since Shift has no assigned combinations, I’ll use Shift + name initial. Now I’ll click on edit shortcut and assign Shift+L to Luisa, Shift+J to Jaz, Shift+G to the glasses layer, and Shift+D to Dalia. I will also assign the shortcut Cmd+Alt+L to an action I previously made, which creates my Lineart folder.

Next, I will organize my file! I select my first panel, hit Ctrl+Alt+L, and Shift+L. Second panel, Ctrl+Alt+L, Shift+J. Third panel, the same thing, and finally, the fourth panel. Done!

Now my layers are named, my file is organized, it took me only a few seconds, and it wasn’t a hassle or difficult to remember!

This is a very powerful and simple tool to work with recurring characters, layers or folders. You can take this concept and apply it to tons of different things!

#4: Quick Access palette

But what if you don’t have a keyboard, for example, if you’re working on a tablet, or if the keyboard isn’t easy to reach? In that case, the Quick Access Palette is a great way to access actions or commands that otherwise would have to be accessed with a keyboard, or a bunch of clicks. Let's set it up.

The Quick Access palette is visible on my workspace, but if you don’t see it on your screen, just go to the Window menu, and select Quick Access.

The Quick Access palette works with sets of buttons. By default we already have a Set 1 with some of the most often used commands while drawing, like Undo, Delete, Cut, Copy and Paste, etc. I like this set, so I’ll leave it as-is and go to Set 2 to edit it, since it's empty.

Clicking on the Quick Access Settings button (1) will bring up a window where we can select any command or tool to show up in our set. As an example, I'll click on the category drop-down and choose Auto actions.

There, I will choose one of my actions (4) and click on Add (5) so that it now appears in Set 2.

I added a couple more actions, but now all the icons are the same and it could be confusing while working. So what we’re going to do is right-click our button and then select the “Icon settings” option (6). We can select an image file to replace the current icon (7).

Another customizing option is adding a color background to our icon by checking the Background color of icon square and selecting a color (8).

There are a lot of icons available online for free, but here I'm using my favorite ones by Deviantart user acidscratch:

To rearrange the buttons you can just click and drag them, and to delete them, just right-click on them and select Delete.

Now our commands are easier to recognize and tell apart! And the best part is, we don't need a keyboard to access them.

To create a brand new set, just click on the small menu icon and select New set.

I named mine Character names, and added to it the actions I made earlier. These sets will also show up if you’re using the Companion mode on mobile.

#5: the remote controls

It seems like not a lot of people know that Clip Studio has, in fact, two remote control options! There’s the Clip Studio TABMATE, a dedicated remote control, and the Companion mode for smartphones.

#5.1 Clip Studio Tabmate

Let’s look at the Clip Studio TABMATE first.

Tabmate is a Bluetooth remote control that works only with Clip Studio on desktop, both Windows and Mac.

My TABMATE controller, it’s pretty worn and I had to fix it with tape because I broke it it's actually pretty resistant and I cannot live without it anymore. It works great!

It’s ergonomic, it’s light, and all of its buttons can be customized to whatever you can imagine. It has four modes, and each mode can have completely different settings from the rest.

In the video I show how I use it, but here I'll only list a couple of my settings.

Most of my buttons are set to tools, like a rotation of specific brushes; or commands such as Undo, Flip horizontal, Save, etc.

The most "exotic" configuration I have is the Left button, which is set to the "repeated taps" setting. One tap is Transform and second tap is Show/Hide ruler, which are two completely different and unrelated commands. I only have two taps, but the setting accepts up to four.

Other possible settings include Modifier keys, Pop-up palettes (these can be set to only showing up while you are holding the button down), changing tools momentarily, playing an Auto action, etc. You can set virtually anything, in any order, and there's a whole four modes you can make use of.

To me, the TABMATE is an extremely useful tool, since it makes my workflow faster and takes care of the strain in my hand at the same time. The hand you don’t use to draw can also get injured if you’re not careful!

I’ll leave the link to the Clip Studio TABMATE minisite below. You can buy it on the Amazon link there.

#5.2 Companion mode

Now, if you don’t feel the need to invest in the Clip Studio TABMATE, but would like to have a remote control to work with, good news is, you can use your phone!

The Companion mode is a mode on Clip Studio Paint for mobiles where you can use it to control and access some commands while you work on your computer or a tablet.

I will focus more on the features I find most useful for webtoon creation, and I’ll leave a link below to an Official Clip Studio tutorial where all the functions are explained in detail.

To connect my phone, I will open my app and click on Get Started (the 1 hour limit doesn't apply to Companion mode, don't worry!). Then I'll click on the Companion mode icon on the upper right of the screen. It will ask me to scan a QR code to link my device. On my main device, I’ll click on the CLIP STUDIO PAINT menu, and then on Connect to smartphone…

The QR code will show up for me to scan it.

The first thing we’ll see is the Quick Access palette, with the sets I currently have on my computer. We can switch between sets, but we cannot edit them. Any changes must be done directly on the computer or tablet.

Next we have the color wheel, where we can choose any color, as well as modify the opacity and size of our selected brush.

There’s the gesture pad, where we can move our canvas around, and even tap with two or three fingers to undo and redo.

Next is the SubView palette. Unfortunately, it won’t let us eyedrop a color directly from the image, but it will take out most of them and place them below the image as swatches.

It does support having several images open, and just as in desktop, we can browse through them using the arrows, and delete them with the trash icon.

Next is the mixing palette, where we can paint, blend and select the colors we create.

And, finally, we have my absolute favorite, which is the Preview screen.

Here we can preview the work we are editing on Clip Studio Paint as it’ll look on a smartphone. This is incredibly useful when making webtoons and I wish this feature had been available back when I was publishing mine, because it would have saved me a lot of headaches.

You can use this to figure out the pacing of your work, how the colors look, if your text is the right size, etc.

The alternative before this was exporting a PDF file (or, if you're feeling sacrilegious, a bunch of JPGs), send them to a smartphone and opening them there. With Companion mode now it's possible to see our work and apply changes in real time! I love this feature SO MUCH!

Conclusions

And that’s it!

The video ended up being quite long, but I hope you found something new to apply to your workflow to spend less time clicking things and more time actually drawing (or sleeping!)

If you liked this tutorial, let me know in the comments, and if you’re curious about my work, you can check it out on my website.

Thank you so much for reading!
Have a nice day!

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