While working on thumbnails for my next graphic novel The Time Museum, (to be published by First Second Books), I had the idea for a nice pinup slash practice piece and this time I decided to document the process. I've always been fascinated by how other artists do their thing, so I hope you enjoy this.
First off, I begin with an idea and a sketch. This one comes from a scene where the main character Delia is being lead into the Time Museum for the first time by her new friend Michiko. After noodling with their body positions for a while I come up with the composition sketch (right). Then it's time to do the drawing. for color illustrations I find it much easier in the long run to draw the characters sepperate from the backgrounds, that way I can manipulate them independently. On the left we have our duo.
And here they are inked. I use a Winsor & Newton sable brush and W&N Black Indian Ink. I generally like to ink right after my pencils, that's why I haven't gone to the backgrounds yet.
This is the inked background. I forgot to take a pic of the pencils but it was a little looser than the characters as is the inking. I try to make backgrounds more realistic so as to ground the relatively cartoony characters in their world. It's a technique used in comics and animation often.
I have now scanned both pieces into the computer and combined them in Photoshop where I will be doing all the coloring. As you can see I've changed the background line art to a dark brown as a way of visually pushing it back from the foreground characters. This is where drawing them separately comes in very handy. I'm also able to manipulate the sizes to how I want it. The floor and ceiling are also on separate layers.
Now that the pieces are together we start coloring beginning with the flat colors. It's pretty simple to do but it is the foundation that all the fancy rendering is based on.
Once the flats are down I then add the shadow layer. For speed I actually hand draw the shadows using tracing paper over the original art. I then scan it, line it up in Photoshop, then using the magic wand tool I make the shadow layer. I then rendered the characters color, adding highlights, darkening the shadows, and generally pumping up the colors.
Now comes the tedious part, rendering the background. It's tricky because I want to give it that solid, realistic foundation, but it can get muddy easily, so I'm trying to learn to have a lighter touch these days.
And now the finished product! Once the backgrounds were done, I did the floor, than added the atmospherics such as highlights, some textures, and some color tinting to unify everything. I also do lots more tweaking of the rendering and even the flat colors.
And that's that! I hope you found this interesting. Maybe I'll do more of this in the future.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
The Adventures of Thunderclaw!
Thunderclaw is a young cougar who's tribe has been attacked by the fierce Velosaraptors. Knocked unconscious and washed downstream Thunderclaw must find his way through unknown lands meeting strange new creatures while trying to find his way back home.
The Adventures of Thunderclaw is a story created and written by both Brian Stone and myself and is the first time I've collaborated this way on a story. The art is all beautifully done by Brian and is full of rich illustrations and amazing color. It has been so fun and rewarding working with Brian on this and seeing our ideas interpreted by another talented artist.
The Adventures of Thunderclaw will be an ongoing, appropriate for all ages, web-comic. We start off with a ten page kickoff which will be updated every Tuesday till the end of time! (or when the story ends)
Be sure to check it out and share this with your friends!
Adventures of Thunderclaw Facebook page
Thunderclaw Twitter feed
at 2:37 PM
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Recently, a book I wrote seven years ago caused a stir in the Enfield Connecticut school system, resulting in its removal from a list of suggested Summer reading for incoming high school freshmen due to language and sexual references. Not only did this happen in my home state of CT but it was also covered by the local Connecticut broadcast news, twice. I wanted to elaborate on this since it's not every day your book gets banned, then reported on, so here goes. On one hand, I was surprised to hear that Sidescrollers was on a high school's suggested Summer reading list since it is a bit on the racy side. Not as inappropriate as Channel 3 spun it, but certainly not high literature. Sidescrollers is a fun slacker romp with some crass humor, and swearing (god forbid) but an overall positive, anti-bullying, message. Whether it belonged on a school reading list in the first place isn't for me to decide. I AM bothered by the Enfield Board of Education's knee-jerk reaction to yank it from their list and disallow the individual schools the ability to decide on titles all because of a single parent's complaint who's child apparently did not even attend this school. Schools are so frequently bullied by outside influences that they become overly sensitive to the slightest hint of controversy, resulting in a sterile and uninteresting curriculum. This neglects student development and could even forever stunt their interest in education. But when it boils down to it, the schools of Enfield have the right to do what they will and I respect their decision, however cowardly it may be. But never forget, kids aren't stupid. They deserve the freedom to explore new ideas for themselves even if some don't agree with them. I truly believe that kids, especially of high school age, should be free to read ANYTHING they want.
Author of Sidescrollers and the Salt Water Taffy series.
PS. Here's a few more links to coverage and responses to the books banning. I greatly appreciate every ones interest and support (especially the CBLDF and their affiliates), you are all amazing.
Robot 6 article
School Library Journal discussion
CBLDF's Charles Brownstein letter
CBLDF challenges the ban
at 12:59 PM
Friday, July 13, 2012
Another practice illustration for the Time Museum, this time it's the future. Lots of detail like the jungle pic, but I used much more reference and it took longer. All in all I like how it came out.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
So I caved to modern science and added bits of feathers to these punky Dromaeosaurus' for this color study. I think it works because these guys are not supposed to be particularly formidable, more of a nuisance and slight comic relief. Once book 1 of the Time Museum is done (probably over a year from now) I really want to do a short comic to promote it starting these guys in a sort of Dan the Wolf style slapstick comedy of pain and misfortune.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Delia in the Jungle, an illustration from The Time Museum. This is sort of a pre-production piece so I can practice my approach on the color and surroundings in the actual comic. I'm also trying to figure out the best way to color backgrounds so they look rich and textured but don't take too much time to do. I think I've made some steps forward and I'm really looking forward to jumping on some pages hopefully real soon.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
First Second Books. It's gonna be a while before it's out but I will be posting bits of progress art to wet the appetite!