Mostly curious since I've been doing a lot myself recently.
Do you mostly look up certain artistic references? Guides? Artistic techniques? Writing tips? Historical, culture, or scientific research?
Recently, I've been reading a ton of police transcripts, trying to get a feel for typical communications and events between officers, dispatchers, and civilians. Also been reading/studying on creating effective panel layouts.
Art wise, I'm constantly referring to my favorite anime/manga for ideas on how to draw certain things, be they elements of outfits, facial expressions, stuff like that.
writing wise, I'm running a comic about a restaurant, so I've gotta have some kind of idea of how a restaurant works, what roles characters have to fill, stuff like that (even if I do have some leeway with it being a fantasy setting). Fortunately, my dad worked in the food industry for a while, so he's always a good source of information.
For Fatebound, I mostly research art styles in various cultures and periods to develop the look of future chapters, and sometimes reference images. However, I have another project that isn't public yet, and for that I have a whole shelf of books on mythology, folklore, and magical traditions (modern druids, wicca, etc) that I'm working through as reference.
documents/shows/movies about killers and manipulators. i sometimes make little collages of certain outfits, styles or characters for reference. and i've taken pictures/panorama pics of just places and things when i stroll about.
of course stuff like "what makes a good film/scene/character" and "how to this and that with drawing better" kinds of videos on yt.
all the irl fucked up things i hear about and have seen
Art-wise: How the heck do you draw horses, and then I cranked it up a level and started learning about tack. (Artemis's bridle is a flower hackamore--Conan prefers bitless bridles. The more you knooooooooow.) I also poke around some art streams to glean knowledge off people.
Writing-wise, from what I can remember:
SO MUCH STUFF ABOUT HORSES *screams*
Tidally-locked planets, particularly Gliese 581g.
...And then a lot of math to figure out the habitable area on the planet (It's like 1% of dry land.)
Early 19th century...
...populations of the world, and then specifically London and Paris
...Burn treatments in the early 19th century (Funny story! It just so happens that the silver nitrate from the above works here! Was a pleasant coincidence.)
...Wind and steam-powered merchant ships
What near-drowning is like and side effects after being rescued
First aid for the above
What the heck do kings actually do?
...especially when they've got no effective power in their country?
...And the forms of address for various ranks of royalty
How long a person can survive in an airtight room of x*y*z volume.
...Okay now add fire-based light-sources to the above
The language of flowers
My comic is fantasy, so thankfully I can sort of wing it on some stuff. But even then, I want to make things realistic to the world it exists in. So I look towards other fantasy writers and artists for inspiration. I try to think logically about the things I've placed in my comic :)
Art wise, I am constantly looking for tutorials, watching videos, and reading books. I'm always trying to push myself with techniques and ways to create comics more effectively!
Story wise,I'm still learning about how to write. I've read a few things on writing compelling stories and when I watch something good on TV or at the movies, I take a mental note of why or how something worked well.
Another thing I do is keep a Pinterest board with reference images, ideas for outfits, hair styles, accessories, architecture, etc. I have a general idea of what I want my world to look like, but I find that reference images help immensely and inspire me tons!
Man, let's see. My comic is basically the religious Book Of Tobit AND a Slavic Pagan tale that lines up enough with it, told as a Russian mafia story, haha.
To learn more about what people wore and what cars were common and otherwise get the day to day grind down for the character designs and background art, I watched live action movies that were filmed in Moscow in the 90s and took notes.
I remember at one point I went fake apartment hunting online, looking at the Soviet apartment floorplans to get an idea of use of space, and I saved this priceless photoset called Moscow By Michau. I read Russian travel guides to America and compared them to American travel guides to Russia and figure out the differences between the cultural attitudes.
I spent ages looking up Orthodox iconography and went to the Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco several times to see this sort of thing in person.
I am putting double layers of symbolism in my story that I don't expect anybody to key in on but I enjoy it, because there's a phenomenon in Russian faith and superstition called "dvoeverie" or dual faith. So I went through a stint of Russian fairy tales and Slavic Pagan tales, studied the interpretations and symbolism in The Book Of Tobit, in order to pull this off.
There was a number of crazy events in Moscow so getting information on how the average person reacted things like the various financial crises, I read news articles. I read Russian blog entries online where people reminisce or explain how things were done and when I lived in the bay area I asked a few Expats some questions. When I was in college working on a preliminary version I learned from three of my college professors, one for history and the other two for writing and illustrations.
To learn more about the way organized crime worked I read books like Comrade Criminal and Violent Entrepreneurs. I scraped through the Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedia.
If I don't know it I look it up. I've researched Egyptian styles, horses, volcanoes, airships (for a strip still in planning), figures in various poses and hands, lots of hands. Also since realizing how retro my style has become, I've played it up, studying older comics via Digital Comics Museum.
Most recently town hall buildings. Werewolves and werewolf legends/mythos, of course. Monorail trains, buidings, raccoons...I pretty much look up anything I need to know about better. When I'm writing novels, there's always research - an insane amount. At least for me. Varies from project to project. But research has always been one of my favorite parts of writing/drawing stories.
I think most of mine involves how to draw ships and bits of ships, along with fighting and injuries, and things like skeletons and various objects. I also look up how people in that sort of time period would do things, and what kind of stuff existed back then. I also look up clothes references, and I've tried to give each country it's own kind of look. Basically, if I don't know something, i look it up. It's been quite a lot.
I've actively researched a zillion things for this first arc alone, including:
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Artemis (legends and images)
Canes for the blind
Horses (how to draw)
New York City maps
Police radios + radio codes
Rolls Royce Silver Ghosts
Writing (I could not have written the bloody thing without Robert McKee's Story)
I use dictionaries and thesauruses, search up history books, art history, medicine, science, fictional books as well, books on social care (for Sena's work in the comic) books on PTSD/other trauma disorders, mental health, and whatever else seems related to the themes/context of the comic. It gives me a base to work with to tweak as I please, so that people can identify with it as well as see a different take on a concept :)
I try to make sure everything is period in my comic since it takes place in 1925. Car types, weapons, events, currency, slang, clothes - admittedly I've bent a thing here or there but I haven't put anything in that's been flagrantly anachronistic... as far as I know :D
Oddly enough one of the harder things to research was the kind of swears people used! Back then it wasn't okay to print curse words or put them in film/radio, so there's almost no record of expletives from that time, it feels like. As a point of reference, the line at the end of Gone with the Wind, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." was a HUGE deal, even though films around that time had used the word Damn and Goddamn - but only just then were they starting to.
i did a lot of really in-depth research into Mortuary Science, coronary processes, and funerals. sort of shadowing, so i could learn how actual morticians are in terms of mood regarding their work and why they love their work so much. on kind of a similar note, i tried to find out how to perform surgery with household tools, ie trying to remove a bullet.
also researched decomposition and archaic butchering, what parts of the body are most flavorful and nutritious, and what sorts of wounds are most lethal. this is for obvious reasons, i write a bunch of cave-dwelling carnivores.
i also studied bears. like, how bears eat, how many bear attacks are recorded each year, how they fight/hunt. same thing with bats, except for their sort of little special quirks like echolocation, colonies, how they roost, bat saliva's anti-clotting properties, etc. studying bat skeletons also helped provide some of the framework for my monsters.
more miscellaneous things, i spent a lot of time in cities and looking at pictures of cities and taking pictures of my own. i read up on the history of Pennsylvania and tried to learn some very basic Dutch and Italian. also studied a lot of Latin phrasing and words for dumb reasons i never ended up using.