Happy birthday, Shawna!
April?! I can’t believe it’s been since April since I’ve last posted something on here. Ugh…
Well, there’s good news-reasons for that. I’ve had non-stop commissions through the spring and summer. The bad news is that these pieces belong to the people that paid for them, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to share the work without their permission. I’ll see if they’d like some exposure. So, check back for some of that soon.
In the meantime, it’s my love’s birthday! Happy birthday, Reverend Deacon Shawna. Thank you for making my life so wonderful.
How do we do it?!
Cody Hagman and I are working on a new project. You’ve seen a few things I’ve been working on for it, but I thought folks might enjoy seeing the steps it takes for us working together.
Under the dome
I was recently told by someone that they are tired of spacesuits with domed, or bubble-helmets. For some reason, those have always appealed to me. I want to say it’s because you can see the expression of the person inside, or maybe I always thought that mask-like helmets are better suited for combat armor or robots. It’s also possible that I add them to my spacesuits so often because they’re easier to draw…
Whatever the reason, I’m trying something different.
I used Copic pens on tracing paper, taped over my sketchbook for this lil’ guy or gal.
Getting ready… for action!
Like a bolt out of the blue, the desire to create and produce new artwork just comes back. I've been wanting to draw for some time, but wanting to and feeling compelled to are different things. Life gets busy, priorities can change, and time becomes a thief. However, when that itch finds its way under your skin, there's nothing for it except to start scratching…
Shades of gray.
Throughout the 80’s, Hayao Miyazaki created a comic called Nausicaä. I didn’t discover the series until about 10 years ago, but I was blown away by the style it was done in. There was a lot of hashing instead of solid blacks (for shading) and everything was done in a kind of loose, organic line work. It created such a unique feel for everything, and really even created a mood for the whole world. I feel like these 3-value drawings of Father Robot I’ve done in the past couple of days remind me of how Nausicaä made me feel back when I first read it. Not that it’s in the same style or anywhere near as well-rendered, but I do like how this has come out.
Again, this was done with Copic technical pens and sketch markers. I got a little more variation in value by blending the markers together when I could.
How I learned to love a robot.
Someone asked me at the last comic convention my process for creating drawings. At the time I was working on commissions I had received at that event, which could be anything from superheroes to caricatures of the attendee, but normally they were good ol’ robots. This is what happened when both your table banners feature giant robots. At the table, I work a lot faster than I do in my studio and erase all my pencil lines, but I thought I’d share my ideal process, when I have more time and all my gear, here for you all. So, let’s start at the end. Then, scroll down and I’ll lay out the process a little but more. Here’s the end-product, a hand-drawn bust of Father Robot with value (shading):
To get to this, I first lay down a bunch of wild sketches with light blue (non-photo) pencils. Because I am an extremely messy sketcher, I prefer a very light pencil that erases completely. Some brands are very greasy and, even if used lightly, don’t erase very easily. This is important if you plan to “color” directly on the original drawing later. This pencil lines need to be able to be removed, or maybe I just want to be able to correct the shape with an eraser. I prefer Prismacolor Col-Erase pencils. It ends up being very vague and light:
Then I come back with either a soft, dark lead either in normal gray/black graphite or a drake color of blue. I like art pencils, but any ol’ pencil will do, preferably (for me) 2B or harder. While traveling, I carry mechanical pencils with me, with a variety of leads preloaded. With the right tool in-hand, I render a clearer drawing that’s going to be pretty close to the product I want to end up with:
After that, I can draw right over the top on the pencil lines with ink. Sometimes the paper won’t take the ink if the pencil was to greasy or too much drawing was done. So, I can just lay a piece of tracing paper, vellum, or, in this case, marker paper over the sketch and draw clean, inked, line work. This process is also good if I want to make multiple drawings from one sketch or I know there’s something I want to fix in the composition. Here’s the result with Copic technical pens on some Bienfang Graphics 360 marker paper:
As you can see, I wanted to turn the eyes a bit and feel free to sketch some more details of the neck and the body around the head, but for the most part it retains the point of the original sketch. Then I get out my Copic markers and just have fun. When I’m at conventions, I try to bring at least a dozen different values with me to do commissions, but on this, non-con, trip I’m on currently, I only carried three values, or shades, with me. I can compensate for this lack of variety by working fast and laying down, then blending, two values together with the pigment is still wet. I think I got a pretty good result! Here it is again:
That’s about it. If I work fast, I can get a piece like this done in a little over half an hour. I spent more time on that for this one because no one was waiting for it. Hope you enjoy a little peak into my work process!
If this suit looks familiar, it’s because it was an early design for the suit Cody Hagman and I are using to do out Garman Hagland project, which, in case you were wondering, has many more awesome images to come soon.
I’ve been in a bit of a dry spell lately due to melodramatic changes in my life. However, things are beginning to stabilize, thanks to friends like Cody, and I’m promising more unbelievably soon.
Until then, enjoy more sketches, unused designs, and just random stuff like this.
I wanted to make a suit that was decidedly feminine in shape, but still somewhat realistic. To that end , I originally put more padding on this concept. Ultimately, I trimmed it down more (too much?) in order to show off her curves more, but I still think this one has its charms.
This was done with more technical pens from my favorite brand, Copic.
Light it up.
I almost never draw superheroes. It’s usually robots, spacesuits, starships… or robots in spacesuits on starships. Well, recently I had a good reason to draw Superman, and while I can’t share that one, this drawing of Green Lantern came out of the process of getting the pose for that drawing down.
I used some good ol’ Copic multiliners (technical pens) to lay down some nice, clean lines, and then I use some Adobe apps to clean things up and smooth the rough edges.
I’d like to color it this week if I have time. So, maybe look forward to that!
Twice as nice.
Back to ol’ Thunderbird again. I rarely draw superheroes, but I’ve got a need for a good understanding of this discarded mutant. So, I end trying out different versions of him time and again. The problem is, it’s hard to find good reference for this guy. Even within one book, there’s a rather large variation of what his details are. This problem is only increased by his ability to morph into a radically different version when angered. Anyway, I did my best, but I know I forgot the little gauntlets he’s supposed to have popping off his meaty forearms.
I had lots of fun drawing Thunderbird. Because of his powers and variable appearance, I felt it was a good excuse to exaggerate proportions and just enjoy myself. Then, I went after him with Copic markers, and there’s nothing more fun than coloring a solid drawing with those! The only thing I’m not completely satisfied with is the red tones. It looks like my scanner couldn’t pick up the variation of that color, as I had actually used a darker value in many places. Oh well, maybe I’ll go over the piece again with some warm gray in those areas…
One of my favorite things about Copics is the flexibility they have to be blended. here’s a revision of the first post after I went back and added some darker value to spots. I just took some warm and neutral grays to the areas where there was already flat (or at least lacking enough variation of) color, and now I think it looks much better.