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Are these sketches simply drawn by hand with a lot of effort or is there a trick to them?

enter image description here

Credit: Naruto, Vol. 1: Uzumaki Naruto (9781569319000)

(Version with higher resolution)

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One way I think is common among comic artists is through instancing*: after having drawn a few of the figures in different positions, you can copy instances of these individual figures unto the panel using either

  • a lightbox or light table, when working with traditional tools, or

  • image editing software (e.g. Photoshop or Clip Studio Paint), when taking a digital approach.

  • Alternatively, some specialized software allows for importing 3D models that can be positioned, after which a render can be made that looks like a drawing.

However, at close inspection, this particular image doesn't show obvious signs of instancing, so I think this was all drawn by hand by Kishimoto.
That, or the instances were edited afterward (using any of the approaches mentioned).


* I'm not sure 'instancing' is the term used in the comic world, though: I know it from 3D editing software and game engines, where it is common.

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  • Perhaps it would worth addressing the medium too, like, if not done digitally, then probably done by applying ink with some sort of device, like a technical pen or marker? Also, mentioning that perhaps a pencil pre/under-drawing was employed?
    – Levente
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 4:32
  • @Levente Do you mean to describe in more detail the processes required?
    – Joachim
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 7:01
  • Well, to be honest I focused too much on the title and the image, and I missed the nuance in the line right above the image. So you are right, the things I suggested are not the info OP was after. (However, pre-drawing with a pencil makes the task way less intimidating than the final piece may make it appear, so it could be counted as part of a "trick".)
    – Levente
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 12:34

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