Two weeks ago I, and a fellow comic art enthusiast, decided to try a two week long comic art challenge. We were both feeling frustrated a bit with our work for, different reasons, and thought a challenge might shake things up a bit.
For me, I just hadn't been doing any panel to panel work for quite a while. The last page work I did I was super unhappy with. I had done 8 sample pages for the Top Com talent search and I ultimately felt that the pages were super blah, stiff and overwrought.
I was thinking about my process and the manner in which I had approached those pages. It took me forever to do them and I overworked and overthought the shit out of them. Anyone who actually makes a living drawing comics can't afford to work that way. The process has to be decisive and in the moment - for the most part. Working to a deadline does not allow for too much agonizing because the work has got to get done!
So I approached these 10 pages from that standpoint. I had two weeks - and in that two weeks very little actual time to draw because of my crazy work schedule.
In the two weeks I drew these I averaged about 60 hours a week at my respective jobs.
This left little tiny packets of time in the day to draw!
I averaged about 3.5 hours a page on these which for me is crazy fast!
Looking back I really cant remember when I drew these!
So here they are and I feel that there is some fun drawing here. Some of it is pretty rough and alot of it is pretty dorky but at the end of the day I am excited that I finished the challenge and churned out this work:)
I am in the process of finishing up the last couple of pages for my Artemis IX sample work for the Top Com talent search.
I am liking these pages, generally, but as always it is hard not to be overly critical of your own work. I think that's why it is important to get your work out there-even if it is simply posting it on your own blog, as I am doing:)
Standing behind the work you do and being proud of where you are in your development as an artist or as a whatever can be hugely challenging for most of us.
I am as guilty of this as anyone, if not more so.
We tend to judge ourselves a bit harshly and unfairly compare our own work with those of others that we deem superior.
So, in my ongoing endeavor to be supportive of my own work and be my own champion here are the first three of the Artemis IX sample pages.
Not perfect, maybe not even any good, but it is what I did with what I got right now and I am standing behind it:)
So, I have begun creating the final pencil pages for my submission for the annual Top Cow Talent Search. Now that I am rolling on those I thought it would be a good time to post my tight roughs to the old blog for folks to take a look:)
These are pages 1 and 2.
As I usually do when I start a series of tight roughs, I have overdrawn these. I try not to do this because roughs are really just for figuring out perspective, storytelling and basic acting. Spending time rendering and being overly fastidious with the line work can be a waste of time.
Here are pages 3 and 4.
Again, just trying to figure out the storytelling and making sure the panels flow together.
Pages 5 and 6.
And the final two pages, 7 and 8.
I will be posting the pencilled pages as I finish them and talking briefly about the decisions I make when moving from roughs to finished work.
I have finally started moving forward with my sample pages for the Top Cow Talent Search 2016. My teaching schedule kept me from starting as early as I wanted to but I have now finally found some momentum:)
I thought I would post 4 of my my loose thumbnails from the 8 pages then post my roughs and then the tight roughs and talk about my process and why I go about pencilling pages the way that I do.
Loose thumbs Page 1
Page 1 consists of an establishing shot in panel 1 and a closer shot of Artemis IX's tower showing damage to the building in panel 2. The third panel is an interior shot depicting the work being done to the building and introducing Artemis IX, Brauron and the two female artists.
When I do these thumbs I do 8 of them on an 11 x 17 sheet of bristol. Each thumb is only about three and a half inches tall. I try to do these as quickly and as gesturally as possible referring back to the quick layouts I did when I first read the script. All I'm thinking about here is story-telling, shot selection and being mindful of creating deep space. I also have given some thought to establishing the directionality of my light source just for fun:)
Same thing here. Super quick and gestural. Mostly just stick figures. Keeping my eye on the left/right orientation of my figures and making sure everybody is staying consistent.
And same thing here...
When creating thumbnails I try very hard to keep them super loose. I keep my body upright and relaxed and keep my hand quick and gestural-drawing from the shoulder. No laboring over any drawing, here, just the simplest of sketches to tell the story.
It took me about 20 odd minutes to thumbnail all eight pages. I went back and looked them over and felt that I was ok with most of my choices. I scanned them in preparation to creating the next stage of roughs.
I'm not really one of those comic artists that can jump right into the full sheet of bristol and start creating finished pencils. I admire those that can. My process can be somewhat circuitous but I find that I get less stressed about the work and am way more relaxed and loose if I start small and simple first.
Because the thumbnails are done super fast I am uninvested in them and can just allow them to be dorky and experimental.
In my next post I will talk about the next stage in my process and the changes and choices I made in trying to improve the storytelling and look of the pages.
Taking a break from the development of my sample pages for the new Top Cow talent search, I thought I would post some images of my process for a current portrait I have been working on.
I like to show the process to my work as it gives students insight into the many steps that it can take in building a finished drawing.
Step 1. The gesture. Quickly executed 20-30 second drawing
Step 2. Refined gesture. Slight refinement of gesture and suggestion of shadow shapes.
Continued refinement of shapes and adjustment of proportions and placement.
Step 4. Here I start picking out some of the lighter values still thinking about adjustment
of proportions and designing shadow areas
Step 5. Continued exploration of values.
Step 6. I realized I had goofed up the mouth shape and also the eye placement so I lightly erased out and began to rebuild. I also began sculpting out the hair.
Step 7. Here I began to try and express the range of values in the entire portrait and unify the image.
Step 8. And now even wider expression of value.
Step 9. And even wider expression.
This is not finished but I am starting t feel that the values are looking unified and that the shapes are starting to agree. So much of what happens at this stage is subtle adjustments of value and quality of light.
Before I start thumbnailing a project I like to to get any needed concept work done and also gather any needed reference. As time as gone on I have gotten away from using reference and tend to just make up everything that I draw. However, as this story is set in an already established world I will ned to make sure that the visuals I create dovetail into this continuity.
Here is the list of needed reference/concept work I put together for myself.
Needed Reference for Artemis IX 8 page sample for Top Cow
1.Artemis’ City – check IXth Generation # 3
Vertical masculine city lots of angles.
2.Damaged building-explosion again check IXth
Generation # 3
3.Inside damaged building again check IXth
Generation pages 17-23
4.Male/Female cyborgs. Females scantily dressed.
Males are workers-construction.
5.Sculpture reference for Artemis sculpture
6.Bauron – Male Cyborg
8.Large Scale painting – Easel
9.Chione attractive medium brown hair with blonde