October Ink Days 12 and 13 – The Hero and the Beetle

For my hero I chose Mace Windu from Disney’s Star Wars.

In the prequal trilogy Mace always seemed solid, reliable and powerfully incorruptible as a character. He was wonderfully portrayed by the legendary Samuel L Jackson which is always a big bonus. Also I recently finished re-reading what is now a Star Wars Legends novel about Mace Windu which also influenced my choice. The book is by Matthew Stover and it’s called Shatterpoint. It is brilliant.

The most wonderful thing about the book is that it’s written from Mace’s point of view so we can hear his thoughts and follow his feelings and decisions. This is something I have always loved about books which will always put books above film as a form of media for me. The fact that you can hear people’s thoughts and internal struggles in a book is just beautiful. I really love being able to know this stuff.

On top of that, I’m hoping to get the trade paperback of the new Marvel Mace Windu – Jedi of the Republic comic soon. (A trade paperback is a softback collection of about 6 comics into a book.) It’s been out for a while but I haven’t been able to get hold of just yet. It looks amazing. Here is the beautiful cover for issue 003…

My next drawing was of an insect. I chose the amazing scarab beetle called the Hercules Beetle, (Dynastes hercules). It has this really long horn on the front of it’s head. It is so weird looking!

Here’s a photo of the beast…


Dreams of Ink and Watercolour



Following on from last week’s ink sketches I painted a new picture of Neil Gaiman‘s character “Dream” (from the Vertigo Comic “The Sandman”).  I wanted to combine fairly standard comic ink drawing with the looseness of watercolour for the background and some highlights.

So I began by adding some masking fluid in a few places to add some texture to my background.  Then I laid down an initial wash using Ultramarine, Paynes Grey and Alizeran Crimson wet into wet…


Once that had dried I wet the whole canvas again and added to the initial colours…(The colour is a bit darker in this photo because the paint is still wet.  Watercolour paint always dries lighter than it is when wet.)



Then I sketched in my figure and laid down some basic ink lines… (Shout out to the lovely “Peter Draws” from YouTube who talks a lot about his love of lines.  Whenever I think about lines now I find myself thinking about him and his work. It’s nice because his videos are really relaxing.)



Then I used my brush pen to add some deep shadows.  I love adding the darkest darks because it sets the tonal range for the picture in my fuzzy little art head.


Next I gave his hair a lot of ink texture with a 0.5 Micron pen.  This particular pen has been a bit squashed on the nib so I can get a range of widths and textures out of it.  Then I began adding some Paynes Grey to Dream’s coat…



I finished off by shading his face and neck, and colouring his hair, coat and T-shirt.  His face in the comics is always white so I used a mixture of Lamp Black and Paynes Grey to get a really neutral grey colour.  The hair was done using varying mixtures of Ultramarine and Alizeran Crimson to get a range of purples, violets and blues.


Here’s the final painting…


Ink Dreams and October Fun

October Fun

I’ve been thinking about next month and the whole Inktober thing. Now I’d quite like to do a small ink drawing everyday for a month. I think it would be fun. But I had a look at the list of prompts for this year and didn’t relate to most of them. I prefer prompts which are more definite – nouns rather than adjectives. I guess the original list is made up of adjectives to give artists more freedom but I can’t really follow it. It’s just something which makes little sense in my autistic brain. So I decided to make a list for myself.

Here it is…

If anyone wants to use this list – feel free – no rules – no stress – just enjoy doing what you want. I suspect I’ll take more than a month to do it, or skip some when I’m too busy or too tired, but I’m not going to let that stop me having a go.

Ink Dreams

Also this week, I’ve been reading Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman Comic series. It’s really excellent! He’s a wonderfully imaginative author. I really love his character “Dream”. Dream is a quiet reflective sort of guy who occasionally seems melancholy in a modern, hipster sort of way and yet at the same time is an immortal with his own realm. The comic artists who worked on this Vertigo series were Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, Shawn McManus, Marc Hempel, and Michael Zulli.

I wanted to have a go at drawing this character.

I began with a basic drawing and played around with his hair colour-wise…

However this version seemed a bit generic and Dream is definitely not generic. So I did a few more sketches…

I think the top one ended up looking more like Professor Snape than Dream!!! But I liked the bottom one. I was especially pleased with the way my Pentel Brush pen was behaving as it ran out of ink. It gave me some lovely textures to use on Dream’s coat.

Then I began a different pose in pencil…

I really liked this look where Dream’s eyes are shadowed. Here’s the same image inked…

This time I used a shading technique where you hatch the shadows but also outline them. I really like the effect it made.

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…


“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…


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

Days 57 and 58 – Hooded Manga Man – Watercolour Vs Digital Colour

Originally, all I wanted to draw in this image was a man in a hooded robe.  Inevitably, for me,  he turned into a Jedi!

So here’s my lineart…


Originally I planned to paint this in watercolour.  My first draft of the watercolour looked weak and uneven…


So I painted over it with a second layer – evening out the colour and generally trying to save the picture.  He’s how the second draft looked…


It still wasn’t how I wanted it to be, so I coloured it in Manga Studio.  I think it’s better coloured digitally, even though I rushed the digital colour work in about 20 minutes.  I just have to work harder and practice more with watercolour I think.  Here’s the final digital picture…


Days 53 and 54 – More Mark Crilley Manga Practice

Over thess two days I practiced some more Manga poses from Mark Crilley’s ‘How to Draw Manga’ books…


So these sketches were done in pencil and then inked.  Then I shaded the inked pictures to give the figures a bit more form.

Next I scanned and coloured my images in Manga Studio…



For a change this time I blended my colours rather than using cell shading.

Days 51 and 52 – An Experiment with Watercolour in Manga

So today I had a go at painting a couple of manga ink sketches I’d done in my notebook with watercolour.  The sketches were based on one of Mark Crilley’s Manga books.

The paper really struggled to take the watercolour especially when I was trying to do a wet on wet wash.

Here are the images…



Then I took an old discarded manga ink drawing I’d done before.  I’d not bothered with it because I’d drawn the girl with her face turned away and mostly hidden by hair and I don’t think the way I did that worked very well – it made her face look odd.

Then, since it was on a stronger paper, I had a quick go at colouring it with watercolour.  I started out laying down gradients of colour, wet on wet as a kind of background for each part of the drawing.  Then I painted wet on dry to get some clearer details and cell shading type shadows.



Although the initial drawing is a bit faulty I’m happy with this attempt at using watercolour.  It will take some work but I think I could learn to using this medium well for colouring comics / manga if I dedicate myself to it.  I think it looks better than digital colour – has more interest and texture.


Days 13 and 14 – Samurai Ink

I came across some totally inspired Stock photos on DeviantArt the other day.  They are by a German artist and photographer called Phelan Davion.   There is a whole series on Samurai in different poses.  The one I liked the best from the very first time I saw it was this one:


(Please find the original of this super image in Davion’s Deviant Art gallery.)


So I made a quick sketch:



And then had tremendous fun inking it:


Because so much of the Samurai was dark I had to play around with texture effects in the ink to distinguish different areas of his armour.

Later I also added some basic grey shading to the ink.  I had to do this is Photoshop since my grey pens haven’t arrived yet.  Here’s the finished picture:



While I do really like the purity of having just the black ink to work with I think even a single grey shade adds a nice feel to it.  When my grey ink pens come I’m going to try doing all of it by hand and see what that looks like.