March 25, 2014

Agent Blarg

Did this up as a quick pencil sketch about a year ago and then tossed it in a drawer thinking I'd come right back to it. Fast forward to now, and I've just wrapped up pencil sketches enough to fill the 48 page portfolio that I bring around to cons. However I like to have a mix of penciled, inked, and colored originals, so it's time to break out the brush and get down to work. Which is both exciting (I quite enjoy inking) and nerve wracking (I spent a lot of time sketching, and it's been a while since I've inked... what if I just ruin everything I touch?). On top of that lovely bit of anxiety I've been feeling kinda rough around the edges the last few days. It usually fades once I start working, but actually starting said work is getting to be a bigger and bigger hurdle. Too many late nights with the little guy, and too many promises to myself that I'll catch up on sleep tomorrow (hence the Blarg).

So with all that in mind I pulled over this little doodle and hit it with the new Copic multiliners that I picked up last week thinking that if I really effed it up that bad, it wouldn't be that big a deal.

And hot damn if it didn't feel great to play around with the brush pen! Man do I ever love the thick to thin of an ink line. Just putting down a couple lines was enough to get the fog to dissipate, and then I really started to get into it. Once I felt pretty good with the way the brush pen was working (I picked it up on a recommendation I found on twitter, so I wasn't sure how it would turn out) I took to testing some of the technical pens and realized that the .5 that I thought I bought is really a .05. Holy crap that thing makes a friggin thin line.

Anyways, I'm happy enough with the results of my first foray into inking this year, and I'm jazzed to really dig in to the rest. Even better though, I'm turning in at 3:00 am instead of 6:00 am, so tomorrow should go even better.

March 19, 2014


Burned myself out a couple nights ago, so I've been taking it easy this week. Hopefully a good nights sleep will get me back in shape to wrap up a few more sketches tomorrow, and then it's time to start inking!

Started working on a cool Ellen Ripley piece too. Probably going to be a week or so until I get around to it again, but I think it's gonna be a ton of fun to work on. Watch for it here later in the month.

March 14, 2014

2014 Sketches

So I've been working pretty hard lately on a batch of sketches for the 2014 Calgary Expo. I'm trying to cover a variety of franchises (from Mario and Ryu to Spider-man and Capt Marvel to Red Sonja and Hellboy) but if anyone has some suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Here's a quick peek at a couple of the pieces I'm putting together. I'll have a variety of sizes (8.5x11, 11x14, and 11x17) as well as a few levels of finish (loose pencils, finished pencils, inks, and markers).

March 8, 2014

Fantastic Adventures Step by Step

Step 1: Thumbnails! I worked up a couple pages of these, but it turned out the ones I was most interested in were on page 1. Sometimes that's the way it goes, and sometimes you don't land on a good idea until page 4 or 5.

Step 2: Once I had the rough idea, I scanned it in and started throwing some ink around. Just trying to get a feel for the level of detail that I wanted. For this piece I'm hoping to lean a bit towards the great Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes) so I'm trying to keep my lines fairly open.

Step 3: Color Test: At this point I wanted to check through the brush options in CSP to make sure that I could easily accomplish the color style that I was hoping for. I used the Transparent Watercolor tool for this, and the rest of the color work. Quite happy with the feel and the speed I was able to work. Think I'll be coming back to this in the future.

Step 4: Time to explore some ideas and figure out what it is that I'm doing with the rest of the piece. I knew that I wanted to have a dragon in there somewhere, but I've been challenging myself to keep things very subtle with the RCK pieces, so I was dreaming up ways to imply dragon without actually putting a dragon in from of the Kid and his buddy.

Step 5: This is the last bit of time that I dedicated solely to linework. Connecting loose lines in the clouds, adding in a weapon for the Knight, and trying to fill out the open space in the top third of the image. I ended up coming back into this a fair bit once I stated painting, but it was always because I had a new idea that sprang from the use of color. 
Step 6: Not quite flats. With a lot of my pieces my first step with color is to go through and flat, and when I'm trying out a painterly approach I don't usually spend much time on linework, as it tends to get lost once I paint over it. This time I was working towards a painterly feel, with inks on top, and wasn't really certain of the best way to proceed. So I just threw down some color and figured I'd sort it out as I went along. At this stage I want to ensure that my main character stands out, and that the secondary focus (the dragon face) comes across as well.

Step 7: Rounding out the forms with some light and shadow, and I feel like it's starting to come together. I still feel like the top portion could use some love, as the lower two thirds are quite detail heavy, but otherwise I'm pretty happy. I've kept to a relatively simple style, pushed into some crazy perspective, played around with a new color tool, and have brought it all together a lot faster that I was able to produce the previous RCK piece.

Step 8: I removed the bleed box from the image, and started detailing the background, laying in patches of farmland, and some green spaces. I also added in the upper clouds in an attempt to build a path from the top left corner down into the Kid. And since I was nearing the end of the piece I thought it best to slap in my sig, as I've managed to forget it from time to time. 

Step 9: Last up, I saturated the colors, did a round of cleaning up lines and other small details (like the tangent between the sword and the cloud) and added in the shadow from the Kid. All in all I think it's looking good, though staring at it now all I can see are the changes I woulda/shoulda/coulda, but such is life.

2014 Calgary Expo Artbook Submission - Done!

Here it is! Fingers crossed that I'll be selected once more. Lots of fun with this one, testing out the water color brushes in Clip Studio Paint. Highly recommend that program if you're into digital art, it's a great piece of software.

Anyways, good times were had here, and it got me back into art making, so you should see a dramatic increase in posts over the next month or two (not that it would be tough to beat what I've been doing lately...).

More to come!