Friday, April 26, 2013

The Amplifier- U is for United


    This is my latest illustration for The Amplifier. I'm actually not sure if the edition in which it dwells is out yet or not. If it isn't, it will be soon! Just keep your eyes open if you are in the Knoxville,TN area. :)

    We wanted this illustration to emphasize how together, as a community of unique individuals, everyone (and anyone) can join together to make a difference. This idea also applies to helping those impacted by or experiencing homelessness. The Amplifier is already doing a lot to address this particular issue and others that are connected to it. 

These sketches, as well as the final illustration, were done entirely in Photoshop.
Click image to see it larger!
    Above are the thumbnail sketches I sent to Leslie Judson of The Amp to get her feedback and help us determine which approach best conveyed the idea we were hoping to communicate to the readers. We went with a variation of number six.

    I hope you all get a chance to pick up the issue and help out your nearest vendor! Thanks for stopping to take a look. God bless!

P.S. This illustration is also in over on my Behance Portfolio page, along with many others!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Adventure Time Comic- Wrapping Jake

Click Images to see them bigger! 

   Hello! I just recently finished coloring this Adventure Time comic I made a little while back. It's not an "official comic" to be published or anything. I just needed to do more sample pages for my portfolio and was also itching to draw some Adventure Time characters! I love that show. Pendleton Ward and his crew are making a very creative and funny series. I may or may not have gotten the first season on dvd (Pssst, I did! My rad girlfriend gave it to me for Christmas!) And now kaboom! is publishing Adventure Time comic books by very talented folks such as Ryan North! Exciting times, guys. I was inspired.

    I thought I would show you all a quick look at how I did this comic. In the fuzzy picture above is my desk. On it you may be able to see that on the far right I have broken the lil story down into thumbnails and dialogue a few times. The page on the far left is one of my pages of character sketches and studies. I also worked out expressions and poses. In the center (sorry it is hard to see,) is the actual page that I drew the comic on. I printed out a sheet with nine panels printed in a light blue that I made using cartoonist extraordinaire, Dustin Harbin's panel grid template. This helped as a guideline while drawing out the comic. When the comic is completed, the scanner doesn't pick up the bluelines, so everything is cool.
Let's take a closer look!

  Here you can see the pencils lightly drawn in the blue guide panels. Well, you can kind of see them if you look really hard. They aren't drawn in very dark which makes them a bit tricky to photograph.

    Here is a close-up of one of the teeny-tiny panels I thumbnailed of Jake and BMO. At this point, getting the story, idea, personalities, and composition was much more important than drawing them well or "on model."

    Above, you can see one of the little drawings I did on the "character study" sheet. I was trying to get a better idea of what Jake would look like in the panel, what his expression would be, and make it actually look like him. Some people do the whole page together like this and call the drawings "roughs." I do that to sometimes, but on this occasion I just drew them out whereever and whenever I thought of them in the process.

    Here, you can see where the last step pays off as I drew the characters and their environment lightly on the actually page. This was done after loosley sketching in their shapes and the dialogue and word balloons in order to get everything spaced out correctly in the compostion.

    And here we have that panel inked (smudges and all!) I used my new Hunt's 102 nib to ink the comic on Bristol board paper. All that was left to do was to ink the panel boarders, erase the pencils, scan, and clean things up in Photoshop. Then what we have is:

After all of that, I began the coloring process in Photoshop. I think it took me even longer to do that than all of the above steps (coloring can be a lot of tricky work!) I hope you all like it and enjoyed a quick run through the process. It was a blast to make. When you read it, it helps to think of John Dimaggio's distinct chuckle when you get to the "haha" in the last panel. :)

This comic is now on my new Behance Portfolio along with more of my comics, if you would like to take a look. Thanks again for taking a look at the stuff here on my website! Have a great rest of the day, pals! God bless!

(Characters were created and are owned by Pen Ward.)

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Racing of the Hares- Part Two

   The time has come my friends to talk of finer things, of gnomes and hares and watercolors and using sticky things! :) OK, gang! I will now continue to show you how I painted The Racing of the HaresThis post has lots of process photos, so I hope you all for give the fact that it is a bit longer than usual!

Images can be clicked to be seen larger.

    Last time, we took a look at the brainstorming, sketching, and planning process. We looked at how I loosely sketched in where each hare was going to go and then tightened up the drawings to include details. I had then practiced drawing the gnomes riding and added them to the image as well.

   After all of that, I used masking fluid to cover the areas I didn't want to be painted yet. Masking fluid is some weird and cool stuff. You can apply it with an old or disposable brush, using a regular brush and washing VERY quickly after with soap, or by using a masking fluid brush. I use some little old dinky disposable brushes and occasionally my color shaper.

   Using the masking fluid, I could paint in the background colors without worrying about needing to paint around the hares and gnomes. It is a big help! I was able to focus on getting those clouds and colors right and trying to show the light just how I wanted it.

    I also worked in the "base colors" for the grass as well. some of the grass would be in front of the legs of the hares so it was better to finish the grass after the masking fluid was removed and the hares had been painted.

   Once the paint had dried for a bit, it was time to peel away the masking fluid. This part is a little bit gross and a lot of fun. I've posted what it all looks like before here.

    It is quite a satisfying feeling to see the "untouched" area against the painted area. Of course, sometimes that crisp line between the painted and non painted areas is not as smooth as you may want or is a bit off so you may have to go back and touch it up like I did.

    It should be noted that peeling up the masking fluid may pick up some of your pencil lines with it in the same way a kneaded eraser would if you were rubbing it on graphite to make it lighter.

   I then worked in a tad more distinction in the blades of grass and painted in the base colors of the hares' bodies and their patches of dark and light fur. I was important to do this in order to get the form and anatomy to a "Three dimensional" or "believable" place.

    Here is a better look at the difference between the hares when the only the light base colors are put down and when more detail and contrast is being built up (the hare on the left.)

    I carefully painted the eyes next. The eyes and noses were probably the first times I started to use watercolor pencils along with smaller brushes to get the painting more precise in the small areas. I may have used them a bit on the ears as well for boldness, but I can't recall.

    Stage by stage, I added more detail and variety to the fur with watercolor pencils and smaller watercolor brushes. Some of the watercolor pencil marks were barely made wet at all. I think I may have left some as dry pencil marks when doing the dark spots and whiskers.

    I also painted in the gnome hats by laying in some base color and watercolor pencil shading and then punching up the values and shape over top. A very light base color for the gnomes' faces was also added.

    I used a similar process to paint the gnome clothing and their beards and hair. You've got to be careful when painting a gnome's beard or hat. That's important stuff!

Click to Enlarge!

   In the painting's final steps, I darkened parts of the gnomes while tweaking their colors and adding some more details. I also overworked the the grass and spent way to long on it. The more I did, the worse and further from what I wanted it got. I was finally able to get it back to an "acceptable" place. haha! And not a moment to soon. If I had kept it up, I may have worn out the paper completely! It is always good to know when to stop and leave your work alone mistakes and all!

   You can see more details and colors have been added to the grass in the field to give it some more depth and variety, while it still has an overall brownish purple color to it. This helps it still stay one "mass" when viewed with the figures. I tried to do this because I wanted to make sure that the hares and gnomes were still the focus, despite the hares' similarity in color with the blades of grass.

    I also dabbed the ears of some of the hares with a wet paper towel to carefully lighten them up a bit. They were so dark they didn't look natural in relation to the rest of the painting.

    I also added some rosiness to the faces of the gnomes and darkened some parts of the beards.

    Though I have plenty more photos, I don't have many that show the details, final colors, and tones much better than the last few above and the ones below. I did a lot more little touch ups before it was all over.

Click to enlarge!

    I wanted to have some space between the painting and the glass when it was in the frame, but the old frame I was using was very shallow. One way to address such a problem is to cut slits of wood sized for the back of your frame and attach them to it with wood glue and/or brads. Above is a picture I took with my cell phone as I modified the frame.

 Viola! It was ready to hang on the gallery wall for all to enjoy! This painting and many other gnome paintings can be seen on my Behance Portfolio as well as under the "gnomes" label here on the site. Thanks for visiting this site. I hope you enjoyed a look into the process for this painting and maybe found some of it helpful too! God bless you all! :)

(The Racing of the Hares- Part One)