Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Above are the pencils for page 09 of Border Crossings. There's not much to say, but I'll see what I can muster:

A few of the pages I did for Border Crossings were actually penciled digitally -- if you can figure out which ones they are, then I didn't do my job well enough. This page is actually the second iteration. The first version of it was done all on my Cintiq a while back, and while it was alright, there were underlying storytelling issues, which got compounded by my tightening of the pencils (which showed my frustration with the storytelling A LOT.)

I should mention that at this stage, I actually have a pretty good idea of what the page will look like, and not much is actually drawn on the fly. By the time I'm done with layouts and getting to this stage, the page is complete in my mind, it's just a matter of getting it onto the paper.

There were a few problems to solve though during it. A few of the things were realizing that I hadn't designed the tattoos yet for the Pnaiki and some background item designs. For the Pnaiki, I did a quick sketch to get the general tatoos down, while for the background items, I went through my morgue file to find some exposed engines and other objects with big, huge pistons, gears, etc.

My setup for drawing is probably pretty average: I have a drafting table (though I've been thinking of getting a new one - I'd like a table I can stand and draw at,) a good light source, an eraser, pencils, and of course, rulers and other drafting tools. It was drawn with a col-erase blue pencil, which I rather enjoy for penciling because it's a good mix of hard/soft lead and I can get a good line out of it. I imagine there's an equivalent for a regular graphite pencil, I just never looked hard enough.

From here, I take the pencils, scan them into Photoshop, then I move onto the inks phase!


Charlie said...

Andrew, a while back I wanted to discuss with you the reasons why you pencil in blue line over your printed cyan layout other than just the feel of the pencil that you mentioned.

The reason I ask is because I use HB graphite over my printed cyan layout so that when I scan in the finished pencils, I can remove the cyan digital layout print from underneath. Then only the pencils remain to be printed again for inking. If you have it all blue, I am guessing the page you reprint to ink still has all of the under markings of the digital layout and pencil stages. What are you thoughts on how I am approaching the penciling stage vs. how you do and the advantages/disadvantages that we can all learn from?

Again, obviously there are so many ways of making comics, and there is no right and wrong way. I just want my questions to help you, me, and the people reading your process learn.

Drew said...

Chuck, it really is because I just like the feel of the col-erase pencils. When I usually print it out, it's so light anyway that I don't think the scanner picks it up much at all. I ought to mention that the col-erases I use are not cyan at all, if anything they're closer to I think an ultra-marine color, or certainly a darker blue than those Staedtler draft pencils (I used to use these, but within the past couple of years I think they changed their formula, they feel terrible now.)I'd imagine if you were to convert your pencils over to duotone, the light cyan would hardly show up, if at all.

Really, whatever works for you in the end. I try to keep a somewhat rigid assembly line process with my comic-making, but when it comes to any other art I produce, they usually never have the same process (mostly because I'm still experimenting/learning/failing/etc...)