Wednesday, February 6, 2008


This is going to be a big process post. It's not to show off at all, though. It's for me. First, so I can look at my work objectively (for some reason, when I post it, I can look at it differently than I can on the wall, or even in Photoshop). Secondly, maybe someone will stop by and say, "oh, you do that? Oh, try this instead, you'll get better results in the end". Or something.

This is the splash page for the comic that Andre Zero and I are creating: the adventures of Mr. Twilight.

This page started, ultimately with the script. But, you don't get to see that. Here's the initial thumbnail I made in the sketchbook when I was at work. Given that I had no time, it was just a basic reminder of the idea:

Then, while waiting for a code build at work, I took a minute or two to flesh it out a bit more:

then, one more time, a little bit bigger. These are all about actual size btw:

Then I did some figure studies. I felt I could base Mr. Twilight off of an older image, but the others needed to be worked on. You don't need to see all of the thumbnails and stick figures, so here are the ones that I had on the board when sketching out the final. Looking At Watch Guy was first:

Then came Fat Guy Talking To Conductor:

Then the hard one The Happy Couple. It's only been this past year that I've really done drawings of people interacting and this was extra hard. Doubly so because they were walking. STANDING is easy. I'm still not entirely happy with her feet, so I pulled a rare cop-out in the final piece and hid them behind a suitcase. You'll notice her lack of hair. This is because I did this at lunch and didn't want to be at my computer looking at Google images for research into 1930's hairstyles. It was easy enough to wait until I could hit my tearsheet file at home. I thought of giving her a hat, but changed my mind:

Then, the big sketch. First on greenbar paper (I actually found a big box of it in a closet at my dad's house. He was a programmer from way back and would bring home tons of the stuff. Great for a kid who likes to draw!) then traced onto comic board and refined in pencil. I am out of blue leads, so it was in 2H. This is full-size, about 9.25" x 13.75":

Then inked. I had already started on this when Swinebread suggested working with thicker lines, so it's thin lines. I am going to experiment with thicker linework this weekend.

Then color was added, type was placed and a piece of 40 year old (no kidding) newsprint from an old drawing set was scanned in and put in the background. AndreZero thought it would be cool if it looked old and distressed like a comic we'd found in a basement. The finished product:

Oh, Swinebread. If you've got some ideas, hit my design portfolio for some contact info that works. Cheap as free, man.

Listening to while posting: "Triangle Man (acoustic)" by TMBG


Swinebread said...

This is both a fun and enjoyable post. Looking at your work, I’ve concluded that you’d also make a great storyboard artist for a film and video.

In regards to this story, the layout is wonderful. I love the fact that there’s impending drama about the scene and yet nothing is really happening. It all comes down the placement of the characters and objects in the scene. That’s one of the things you do best!

I like the color palette but I’m just wondering what it would look like with bolder colors. I’m thinking a Technicolor look. Just an Idea… Plus, there’s also shading the scene with huge of the various colors you use and that might be interesting too, but of course that wouldn’t make it look like vintage comic anymore.

I’m having fun looking at your work on your pro site too.

When I get some stuff together I’ll send you off some of my crappy doodles and descriptions of stuff that might be fun for you to work up.


Arkonbey said...

Hey, thanks, man.

It's only been the past year or so that I've been working on multiple person scenes. Very hard.

So, when you say 'Technicolor' are you thinking Dick Tracy-style CMYK?

As far as the shading I may do two versions, the flat-color vintage comic feel and a more shaded version. I really need to work on my shading (the BBWW is my best so far), so I think that not doing a shaded version would be a cop out.

And can't wait to see your stuff!

Doctor Smoke said...

My thoughts:

Apart from my furious envy of you being able to draw backgrounds in scale so darn well...a n envy that makes me want to stick a pencil in my leg...

your work is great.
truly great.
The whole shading 'problem' thing... don't mind about that anymore. The broad colours, the thin and detailed inking, the stark contrast of black and seppia-toned vintage comic book colours... it's all part of your style, and just like those evil clowns that work at McDonalds, I'm lovin' it!
I would most definately buy that in a comic-book store...
and I don't usually buy comic books... so it's a pretty big deal if I say that!

keep up teh fantastic work.
This post really cheered me up, so thanks for that, too.


Swinebread said...

I think when I say Technicolor, as I’m not an artist, I think I’m talking about the way the first colored movies looked in 30s such as the Wizard of OZ. CMYK, I think, can give you this but it’s more of what color you choose, something bright like Dick Tracy might be worth exploring… but it’s only a suggestion. Again shading wouldn’t give you that retro look but used it with a nice retro pallet, it could give it a interesting hybrid look.