Saturday, August 23, 2014

Figures from imagination

August is a bit of a crazy month, too many things to do...not enough time. It's not a complaint though..rather have it this way than being bored on my ass at home.

Anyway I've started a sketchbook on August 14th doing 1 or 2 pages of some type of (anatomy)figure work from imagination (no reference). I really don't think I'm going to upload all these sketches to this blog, but maybe once and a while do a sketchdump with the best drawings.

So here's a bunch of sketches, definitely a nice way to practice drawing figures without getting too concerned about a complete pose/story/character. It's just a way to digest on my anatomy course

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Wonder Woman Sketch

I felt like doing a more fun drawing for once of wonderwoman, I've recently been caught up too much in drawing anatomy and realistic figures, I have to remind myself I'm learning to draw better so I  can animate cool stuff!

As a side note, there will be a lot less updating on this blog. I do my figure sketching from imagination in a dedicated sketchbook now and it's just too much work to scan...and I really don't think it's of any benefit to anybody... it's just about  trying to have that anatomy as muscle memory so I won't need to draw it'll be engraved into my tiny brain (well, that's the plan in theory).

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Batwoman 3.0 Final

OK, it's 2.40 am...but I finished this mammoth drawing as I said I would!

I'm pretty happy with how this looks (possibly my best drawing this year?). But I'll need to see it again with fresh eyes before I can judge's definitely dark...  I wanted to ditch this project during every step after the thumbnails, but I decided to have confidence in my own idea and hoped it would kind of all work in the end. Definitely a big difference with how I was even a year ago, but I'm committed to finish what I start nowadays, even if I hate it.

Next stop...5 comic book pages! Oh...and ..seriously, buy the book 'Batwoman: Elegy' by Greg Rucka and Williams III if you like what you see below. It's hands down my favorite book at the moment.

And here's the lineart:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Batwoman 2.2 : Final Pencils + Flats

If you followed this blog, you'll know I most of the time never really sit on one drawing too long, but for these monthly draw offs I really want to push myself. So I reworked the poses yesterday with my own critique for the pose below, and a critique for the second one, where a user "Keith" advised me to pull in the leg a bit...I think it definitely adds a bit more dynamic to the pose!

I also realised with this session that even though I'll continue to study anatomy, the way to forward is to really focus on shape design. Shape > Anatomy. Anyway..back to work on this!
EDIT: I also roughed out the background, now all I need to do is cleanup those lines and color this entire thing!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Batwoman Part 2 : Pencils + Flats

Learning by making mistakes is definitely the way forward! In which case I must be sprinting forward right now. I definitely aimed a little bit too high with my idea, especially thinking that I was going to complete it in 2 or maybe 3 evenings. I think this one is going to take up my weekend.

I penciled these 2 poses zoomed in close for detail, and as a result it really kind of falls apart as a whole, but I'm kind of hopeful that I can make it look somewhat appealing once it's fully painted. Definitely going to keep zoomed out while doing my "pencils" except maybe for details like hair and belts and stuff.

Anyway, below is the rough composition with the 2 figures, every one of these boxes leading down will include a scene from the comic. They will just be line drawings I think (maybe very soft shading), while the 2 central characters will be fully painted to steal the spotlight.

It's kind of easy at this point to just throw in the towel, but you never could still look good in the end or at least still teach me a thing or two in the process.. did I mention drawing is hard...because it is!'s also incredibly challenging and rewarding on the good days :)

Here be the line can probably tell I love drawing lines...but as always I draw too many!

PS: I saved down these drawing in pretty high res 1200 x something pixels. Definitely looks better than small as below.

And just before I finished up I realised how I could improve that last pose, I'll fix that up before the final render.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Drawing figures without reference

I just wanted to share some findings in relation to a question that had been haunting me.
Do you need to be able to draw convincing figures from any angle in any position from memory to be a good animator or comic artist?

The answer will be different depending on what you want to draw. If you draw "cartoons" then you probably really just need to focus on shape/design and gesture. But if you're like me and you want to draw stuff like "The legend of Korra", "Ghost in the shell", DC or Marvel type comic art, then the answer is YES.

Reference of course will always improve your work drastically, but from the artists I have spoken to ( people who work in the business for 10+ years), it's very clear that you need to know all the major muscle groups, and you need to be able to manipulate the figure in 3d space. Like I once heard on a podcast with a Disney animator, drawing should not be a "problem", you want to focus on the storytelling and not be limited by by your ability to draw.

I'm just sharing a couple of things here that were posting on the forum, which has been a great place for me to get critique on my work. Hopefully others can benefit from this as well.

(drawing by hadesillustration)

This is some advice by a user called hadesillustration:

"You simply need to memorize certain things in order to draw:
1. Human proportions - how long are arms, legs, torsos, heads, hands, etc
2. Muscle and bone structure - don't memorize them all, but study the big ones that will show up often (biceps, triceps, quads, abs, pecs, delts, lats, serratus magnus!!! - those are the funny rib lumps below the armpit, figure out how hands and feet work - that helps huge with how to draw forearms and calves, as well as ankles - there's plenty more but those are the ones that come to mind up front)
3. Faces - this is just another memorization of facial components - their general shape and location on the face

Once you get that junk memorized and are able to reproduce it consistently it's like getting a black belt in a martial art - you've mastered the basics. Then you move onto the real fun and that's using the basics to create dynamics, incorporating twists and shadows to create depth.

Art isn't rocket science, but it's just as complex. It's as easy as plugging new numbers into an existing formula to get the result you want. The problem is that many of the formulae take years to master. The real trick to learning art is to do it, a LOT. Keep drawing and keep posting to get crits."

Below is a crit on a couple of sketches I did by a user called Bruce Lee :P His real name is Loston and he's a really nice and helpful guy. You can check out his website here. He's an industry pro and I really appreciate the time he took to run through my sketches with some advice. It really opened my eyes that I render too much useless anatomy and should think about shape before detail. I think you can see that change in my Red Sonja drawings I posted recently.

Anyway I hope this can help other people as much as it helped me, I'm not the type of artist that keeps his "secrets". I believe there are no secrets, the secret to being a good artist is to love every moment you put a pencil to a page and to have a genuine interest in the world around you.

Now pull out that sketchbook and get drawing!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Batwoman Thumbnails

It's a new month and so a new illustration needs to be drawn for the monthly drawing battle-jams at I won my last match with my X-men drawing, and this month I get to pick the topic again! So I decided to pick "Batwoman" (drawn by J.H Williams III, probably my favorite comic artist at the moment).

Anyway, tonight I just wanted to plan out my drawing, I have the idea to do a vertical 2 page spread. In comic books you can obviously only do a spread over 2 pages (horizontally), but since this is the digital realm I'm going to a vertical spread and tell the story of Batwoman from top to bottom in panels united by 2 character poses.

Here are the thumbnails for the 2 poses I'll be using:

Below are my thumbnails to work out the layout...yeah, not amazing I know..:P

I then drew a bigger thumbnail of the one that worked best for me:

I then dropped my poses into a more 'refined' layout. I will start on the pencils tomorrow...just want to sleep over it before I commit to a final layout.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Conan Studies + Red Sonja Pose

2 little inks while watching Conan:

Some gestures from a scene in Conan:

It made me want to draw another Sonja in a more action pose...action poses are hard. It's kind of easy to draw poses from movies and whatnot..but to draw poses from your imagination is a whole other thing :P

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Red Sonja Design

I'm starting work on my Red Sonja sequential...for a 5 page sequential it's jam packed with stuff to design. 2 locations, 1 prop, 6 characters and a bunch of incidentals. Of course the main character is the most important, so here's Sonja as I imagine her:

(On a sidenote, this is a pose from memory, no reference.)

If you google Red Sonja, you'll most likely stumble on her Bikini Chainmail design...which is something I really wanted to stay clear from. Of course I want her to be sexy, but I wanted to do that in a more elegant way. I took inspiration from Valeria in Conan instead.

Linework (pretty sketchy..but when colored I think it works):

Below I did the basic skeleton and some muscles for the sake of practice: I didn't draw the skeleton first and then flesh out the character, I actually did that afterwards... I'm trying to just be aware of it when I draw poses without having to draw it out.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

STUDY: Conan Ink Sketches

These are actually pretty small drawings (1/4th of an A4 page). Done while watching Conan The Barbarian (The Schwarzenegger classic).

Friday, August 1, 2014

STUDY: Jim Lee

One thing I'd like to point out is that you need to have an OBJECTIVE when doing a study. Copying a drawing or painting is pretty pointless unless you know what information you are looking to get out of the process.

I actually remember speaking to a (really talented) guy from London at a workshop who copied work for an entire year, and when he started to do work from memory/imagination it didn't help him one bit. And I can totally relate to that myself, since I was doing my life drawing and gesture drawings for a year or more. and when I then started to draw figures from imagination again they still sucked.

The reason for this is that when you are "copying" all you are potentially really doing is training your observation skills, or maybe your rendering. Somebody who doesn't know ANY ANATOMY, can draw a photo realistic representation of a person/figure by just 'looking'.

So anyway long story short, if you are studying an artist, you shouldn't just copy what you see. You need to know what you are looking to learn from the experience (linework, composition, tone, shape & design,etc..), in my case I want to improve my figures from imagination so I want to 'understand' how the figure can be posed. Understand how muscles  work and when they are visible on the figure. This leads me to one man: Jim Lee!

His poses and his anatomy are just fantastic, I haven't really come across many artists that can match him in that. When you look at the drawings below, they probably don't look anything like Jim Lee's drawings, because I'm not interested in copying his style, I'm interested in his dynamic posing.

The picture above is a drawing I did with a brush and ink of a pose by Jim Lee in one of his books. I only started working with a brush and ink since...euhm, last week! I don't know why I never tried it, but I love it. It's almost like drawing in Photoshop...but even better. I really love the energy that can be maintained by working with a brush, so definitely going to do this more often.

Here's a page of some applied anatomy, trying to take his figure poses and locate the muscles on the body. It's a good halfway point to practice drawing anatomy from memory with a base to start from.

And finally a page with some poses, notice how I pointed out that he draws the same pose for sexy ladies a lot of the time. Weight on one leg, with the other leg relaxed. You can tell his probably drew this pose as a kid a million times. Can't blame him for having a few go-to-poses, when you need to knock out 22 pages a month you need to have some shortcuts!