Carl Grimes Fan Art – ‘Drawing with Ink’

This week I carried on working on my bigger project and also worked on some comic fanart for a friend’s son (an older teenager).  He’s really into the comic version of ‘The Walking Dead’ by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore (with later art by Charlie Adlard).

He asked for a fan art picture of Carl Grimes when he gets shot in the eye.  It’s based on Charlie Ablard’s original art.

It’s not really the kind of subject I usually draw – I’m not really into horror – it’s too scary – but I do really enjoy making pictures for other people so I had a go.

Here’s the sketch…

It was done on Bristol Board with my graphgear mechanical pencil.

Then I inked it.

I began inking in the normal way but then, about half way through I saw a really inspirational video.  It’s by a comic artist called Todd Nauck who works for Marvel and has his own series with Image comics too.

Here’s the video…

It’s a great video because it’s in real time so you can really get a feel for his line work.  What I really noticed about his technique was that he’s not outlining or inking the pencils, he’s drawing with ink.  He’s using the pencils as a guide but he’s still drawing.  Maybe it’s a subtle distinction, but for me it was a powerful learning point.  So I continued the rest of the inks for this Walking Dead fa art piece concentrating on drawing with ink rather than ‘going over the pencils’ or ‘outlining’.

Finally I added some tones with a waterbrush.  I had a mixture of ink and water in that to give me some nice greys.  And then I added some strong red watercolour for the blood.

So here’s the final picture…

 

An Easy Digital Colouring Process

This week I worked on a number of smaller images in my sketchbook and started a bigger project.  The smaller images were in ink and pencil…

 

[Pencil on paper]

 

 

[Ink on paper]

 

[Ink on paper]

(NB:  The Drawing is my own but the character ‘Strontium Dog’  (aka Johnny Alpha) belongs to 2000AD (Rebellion) and the art style I used was my own version of Carlos Ezquerra’s brilliant work.)

Then I coloured them digitally.  I thought it would be fun to go through the basic colouring process I use with the gecko picture as an example.

(1) I start by scanning in the art work and cleaning any scanning artifacts (I always get one which is irritating).  I also do a general clean up of the image and adjust the curves and levels if it’s needed.  I usually do this bit in photoshop.

(2) Then I save the cleaned image and open it in Manga Studio 5.

(3) My next big job is to put in the ‘flat colour’.  Basically this process involves colouring every pixel of the drawing in flat solid colour with no anti-aliasing, shading or anything else – just flat blobs of colour right up next to each other.  I tend to use colours similar to those I want to use in the final product but you don’t have to.

So here, I’m putting in the flat colour for the first few leaves…

To combine the colour with the line art like this I put the line art in the top layer and set that layer to ‘multiply’.  Then I paint my flat colour in the layer below.

Here’s a bit more flatting done…

(Here you can see I’ve accidentally painted the flower properly with final colours in the flatting layer.  I could have wiped it all out and made it white but I knew there wasn’t much I wanted to do with that part of the picture so I left it.)

Generally I paint the flats using the polygon selector with anti-aliasing off so I get a clear division of one colour or the other with nothing in between.  Once I’ve selected my area I just fill it with solid colour.

Finally when all the flat colour is done it looks like this (without the linework on top of it)…

 

So with the linework we’ve now got to this…

 

I really love flatting images, I find it repetative but nice and it makes me feel relaxed.

(4) Next I complete the detailed colour and shading for each flat area.  This is where the real digital painting starts and I find in a lot of ways I can paint in my PC just like I paint on a canvas.  I can’t always get the same effects digitally but I do have the advantage of the back button which will undo my last few changes – I wish I had that on paper sometimes!

Here’s the painting done for the leaves but not yet the gecko…

And here’s the desktop with the gecko painted fully too…

 

(5) Finally I put on any borders I need and save the fullsize image, then reduce the size for the web and it’s ready to go.

Here are my final coloured pictures…

 

 

Ink and Watercolour Koi

This week I played around with using watercolour and ink seperately and then together.  I began making a koi tattoo design using black ink on paper.

This was drawn in my sketchbook.

Then I thought I’d have a go at doing a proper watercolour koi carp.  I love the way watercolour spreads when it’s wet in wet and I thought that would look great with the spots you get on the back of some of the fish.

I got this all painted but the style was really loose and impressionistic.  My son liked it but I couldn’t tolerate it.  It’s odd because I love it when others are quite free in their work but I can’t stand it in mine.  So I began to tighten it up with ink.  I liked it much more this way with the black ink supplying a strong boundary and contrast for the more impressionistic red watercolour spots.  I’m not totally happy with the result but it was fun having a go.  Maybe I should try to let things be more free?

 

Here’s the final picture…

 

Motorcycle Fun in Watercolour!

When I asked my dad what he wanted for his birthday he said ‘a Honda Goldwing’.  This, or the alternative answer, ‘a Ferrari’, is his usual response!    🙂    So this year I decided to give him an actual Goldwing in the only way which won’t give my bank manager a coronary – a painting!

I began with a pencil drawing…

This was quite tricky compared to other artwork I’ve attempted before.  The Goldwing is a beautiful machine, but it’s also really complicated.  I started with a loose sketch but it quickly became clear that I needed a much tighter form of drawing for this project, so I drew it more like you would draw a formal technical drawing.  This gave me the detail I needed and I felt more comfortable measuring and calculating sizes.

 

Then I began to layout my colour…

Because the image was so complex I divided my picture into three basic colour areas – the reds, the blacks and the light grey’s.  I painted the lightest shade I would need on the painting for each colour.  I knew I would have to repaint almost all of it again after this but now I could see clearly what was what and relate it easily to my reference image (which I stuck to the top left corner of my drawing board).

 

Next I began to work in the deeper colours and darker shadows…

You can see how sunny it was while I was painting this bit – beautiful!  As well as my regular Winsor and Newton watercolours I also used some Aquarelle pencils, by Faber-Castell.  These are basically just watercolour pigments in a pencil form, so you can draw on your watercolour painting and then use a wet brush to make the pigment into paint.  I find them really useful for  fine details on top of my watercolour layers, especially where I needed small straight lines between different sections of the bike bodywork.

 

Finally, after working really hard to get it finished in time for the framers to be able to frame it before his birthday, it was done!

Here’s the final painting…

 

PS:  This post is late being published this week because I wanted my Dad to see it first.  He did, and I think he likes it!!!!!         🙂

Lionfish, Ink and Digital Colour

I have been planning a new watercolour this week.  It’s of a lionfish.  I started out making a sketch and then developing it in ink as a sort of practice run.

Here’s the lionfish practice…

 

Also this week I’ve been playing with some digital colour using some other ink drawings in my sketchbook…

Original ink…

And with digital colour…

 

Original ink…

Digital colour…

(Ink and colours are my own work but ‘Old Stony Face’ as a character belongs to Rebellion and the brilliant people at 2000AD.)

Original ink…

Digital colour…

 

Original ink…

Digital colour…

 

Original ink…(inspired by George Todorovski’s YouTube Video)

Digital colour…

 

Original ink…

Digital colour…(this one’s for Dave from Davezart)

 

And last but not least – Gotham City’s moody Bat – 10 min quick ink sketch…

And in digital colour…

(Batman Inks and Colour are my own, by the character belongs to DC Comics)

Whiskey…

I miss good Whiskey.  I don’t drink now because of the medication I’m on and mostly it’s fine.  But I do miss good whiskey.  There is something beautiful about sitting up late with really close friends and gently drinking a really good Irish whiskey together.

Here’s a sketch I drew this week celebrating that fine drink…

 

 

And here’s the watercolour I painted of the same subject…

Whiskeyfin_WEB

 

The way light reflects and refracts and moves around our world completely fascinates me.  With this in mind, I have been studying how to draw light flowing through liquid and reflecting off liquid and glass recently.  At first I thought there might be a trick to it, to make it look real.  But as I learned more and more I found that, in the end, it just came down to painting exactly what you see, no matter how weird it seems to your brain.  This is what I did with this glass of whiskey, I just painted every shape, every tone and every colour.  Once I looked at it like that it was such a relaxing thing to do – it was fabulous fun!

As I look at the picture now I imagine that the whiskey there came from a bottle like this…

[Image from Web]
A beautiful drink from the wonderful Bushmill Distillery in County Antrim, and introduced to me by my good friend Peter at University.

Cheers Pete!

Oil Painting – past and future

When I first tried to paint I was in digs at University.  Fortunately I was staying with a potter who was, herself, very creative and allowed me to paint in my room there.  (In fact my bedroom was over the kiln which kept me lovely and warm on those cold Cambridge nights.)

 

I actually started painting with oils.  I knew nothing about any kind of painting at all except what my mother had taught me.  She had studied art as a young woman and, before I left for University, she gave her oil paints and brushes to me.  She showed me how to clean them and then let me get on with it.

That’s one of the brilliant things about my mum.  She has this gift for letting those she is teaching have a go at things and work things out for themselves freely.  She pushed us to think for ourselves.  Professionally she was a superb teacher (now retired).  She gave me this sense that I could do anything if I put my mind to it and worked hard at it.

So I didn’t think anything of using my Saturday afternoons at University to try to paint a picture of the Crucifiction with oils the first time I ever really tried them.

The picture itself wasn’t massively successful – I should have concentrated more on my anatomy as I’m sure I gave poor Jesus too many ribs!  Anyhow, this is the only photo I have now of that picture…

 

Along with a close up of some of the detail…

 

I do remember really enjoying painting with oils and them being incredibly smelly to have in my bedroom!

 

Today I saw a brilliant video on YouTube on how to use oils.  The artist was using a medium called Liquin (made by Winsor and Newton I think) which dries quite fast but still gives hours of wet time for blending and moving the paint around.

Here’s the video.  It’s by Lachri

When I started art again as an adult I painted in Acrylics, which was fun but very fast drying.

Even using copious amounts of retarder to extend the wet time of the paint, I still found it dried too quickly for me.  I was forever racing the drying time.

What I really love about using paint as a medium generally is the ability to blend the tone and colour to get exactly what I want.  With copic markers and pencils, colour and tone choices are necessarily limited.  The Acrylics were technically able to get there but I never found there was enough time to play with it.  Watching Lachri blending in her video (above) makes it look like blending is more relaxed in oils, maybe because the paint stays wet for much longer. I think it would be brilliant to try oils again and find out what it’s like as I can’t remember the details of using them in my youth.

Also, I really loved the way she painted a tonal picture at the start and then glazed over with colour – what an amazing way to do it!  I totally love that!

So I’m thinking about getting a small set of oils and having a go.  I’m going to have to research which materials to use, especially with respect to drying times and odour.  But it might be fun!

 

Smooth Green Snake in Prismacolor

This week I worked on a small picture of a snake in my sketchbook.

I saw this great video on YouTube by MiltonCor of him drawing a brilliant realistic snake with Prismacolor pencils.

Here’s the You Tube Video…

I thought it was fabulous so I had to have a go.  I’ve not worked seriously with Prismacolor alone before although I have used them in conjunction with watercolour in the past.

 

I began by downloading probably about twenty Smooth Green Snake photos so I could have a good idea of what I wanted to draw.  I used different bits of different photos for my reference.  That way I could have my snake in exactly the pose I wanted.

I made a sketch and then just began trying to draw it with the Prismacolor pencils.

snakeprocess1

It was much harder work than painting because you have to press so hard to get the colour to transfer but the quality of the colour was excellent.  They really are great pencils!

snakeprocess2

Once I completed the snake I filled in the black background with black ink and a brush and then added extra highlights with a white gel pen and extra detail to the eye.

Here’s the finished picture…

I think it’s recognisably a snake and I like the colours but it’s not as realistic as I was aiming for and the shiny bits don’t work as well as I’d wanted either.  I will have to watch Milton more closely!  Still, it was great fun for such a small image and I learned a ton of things about how to use pencils effectively.

🙂

 

 

“I am Batman”

This week I wanted to draw / paint in greyscale – more of a tonal study.  I thought the Dark Knight (Batman) would make the perfect subject.

For this picture I used a variety of painting and drawing tools. ..

  • Pencil HB, 2B, 4B
  • Ink pens – W&N Brush Markers, Copic Multiliner 0.5
  • Ink and a brush
  • Charcoal powder and a tissue

I began with a sketch:

 

Then I began filling it in…

I used the brush markers and brush painted ink as a basic tonal layer and then used the pencils to create a smoother gradient on top.

 

I made up my own moulding of his headgear (which was brilliant fun!)

I kind of cheated a bit with Batman’s chin.  I’ve never painted the Dark Knight before but I’d had a go at Judge Dredd a few times so I used my version of Dredd’s chin!!!

 

 

Once my main subject was completed I sketched in my background.

 

I used similar techniques to draw my buildings in the middle background but kept the tonal range of them narrower and lighter to create distance and force Batman forward in the picture.

Then to make the sky I masked off the lighter area I wanted for the projected bat signal and then used a charcoal technique.

 

Instead of drawing with a charcoal stick or a charcoal pencil I scraped a stick repeatedly over a tissue to get some charoal dust on it and then used it to make a moody cloudy grey sky.

 

Finally I painted the bat signal in black and added some shading to the circle and it was done…

batman_mixedmedia_fin_web

NB:  The picture is my own work but Batman as a character is the property of DC comics.