Monday, March 30, 2009

S'more gestures!

Some more from today's warm-up. Same as before!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Some gestures done today, 30-sec each, courtesy of

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Morning doodle

Here's a little watercolor sketch I did in Painter X. The lines were made with the scratchboard pen tool, and it's quite possibly my favorite tool in the world.

...Of course, it also proves how terrible I am at actual painting, but I'm trying, honest! I just see things very linearly instead of color and light.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Environment Building

What do you do if you have a specific set of scenery that's going to show up frequently in your pages?

That's something I ran into this past weekend as I was prepping thumbnails for more pages of Border Crossings. Throughout the (eventual) 5-issue arc, the main characters travel on a Nautilus-like submarine called The Rhizome. Before I could start penciling any pages involving the interior of the Rhizome, I had to lay out a floorplan.

If you're faced with a scene you know you're going to visit frequently, or if it's a very specific place, you need to make sure you have the floorplan of the set planned accordingly. Otherwise, you'll run into the misfortune of drawing randomly placed things in the background, which throws off the disbelief of the artwork, and eventually you'll be called out for your laziness or ineptness (Not really, but considering how some readers are, you never know.)

This isn't a new idea by a long shot. Illustrator Frank Hampson used to construct scale exterior and interior models of the spaceships seen in his strip Dan Dare, ensuring that everything was properly in its place. It also provided him with a means to see how the ship would be affected by lighting schemes, so it provided a double-use.

Modern-day comic book artists like Paolo Rivera and Lenil Yu use similar techniques, using a program called Google Sketchup. It's all the frustration of making a scale model, without the cost of materials or storage! And it makes it incredibly easy to set up your shot, save it as a jpeg, then use it for reference or lightbox drawing, depending on your workflow.

TV and movies have been doing stuff like this for YEARS. Look at the floorplans for the Millennium Falcon, or the Serenity from Firefly. These were all designed so you wouldn't have reality inconsistencies. Looking at the blueprint above of the Serenity, how weird would it be if the characters left the cargo room and immediately showed up in the bridge?

I haven't reached this stage yet with the Rhizome, but here's what I have so far. The exterior needed to be tweaked a bit in its design from its days in the promo comic (which means when it comes time to ink that splash page, I'll need to ensure that I adjust the drawing,) but you can see what I have planned out for the interior. For me, this isn't enough. I still need to make more detailed floorplans of key areas (Engine room, Bridge, Holding Bay, etc), and I also need to design the interior aesthetics. But once all that hard work is out of the way, I'll have a very concrete set I can stage all my action on, which helps the believability of the story.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Digital Pencilling

So, I recently started up work on Border Crossings. This was originally a comic that was pitched to Red5, but they decided (after a few drawn out weeks,) to not carry it. I suspect it was partly because at the time we pitched it, Diamond dropped their new (and stupid) shipping policy, and they decided to not bring on another new title. It's unfortunate, but to make up for it me and the writer Christian have started it up as a webcomic. Currently, the site only has the promo, but as time progresses (and before Heroes Con) we'll have a full site up and running with new content. You can view the current url with the promo here.

I bring this up because I'm taking a different approach to these pages than I have to comic work in the past. To help speed up stuff, I'm digitally penciling the pages first, then printing them out to ink them traditionally. So far, I've been having a blast, even though the surface of the cintiq screen is a little slippery for my tastes. That's why I hadn't bothered doing it entirely digitally, simply because I don't have nearly the same amount of control.

So here's the digital pencils from panel 1 of the first page...

And here's the inked version!

So far, I can't complain.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Painting Madness

Whoo...bit of a while since my last post. It's not that I haven't been busy, just haven't had anything worthwhile to throw up.

So here's a WIP I have of a little painting I'm doing in Painter X. I've tried out Painter in the past, but never really took for it, and this time I decided to really sit down and do a piece from start to finish.

Here's a bit of the underpainting for you all to check out, sans the refining bits on top. I feel like this thing is nowhere near the end of it, but it's done at least for the day. Approaching something like this is difficult, for me at least, since for some reason I just can't wrap my head around color forms. When I see line, I feel confident in it, but the more that disappears, the more unsure I get... I guess what I really should be doing is finding my own style of painting. In the meantime, I'll keep flailing as I try to get a footing.