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 on YouTube.  I had previously posted a link here but when I left a courtesy message on this person’s YouTube page they deleted it.  Now I don’t know what that means.  I thought I was following the proper internet etiqette and being polite and respectful but with the autism there’s always a chance I did something wrong so I’m going to err on the side of caution and not link to this chap’s video anymore.

Anyway what I really noticed about his technique was that he wasn’t outlining or inking the pencils, he was drawing with ink.  He was using the pencils as a guide but 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 fan 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!!!!!         🙂