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.

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…

 

 

“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.

Manga Fishing – Part 3

Today I drew my manga fisherman, ‘Sam’,  in three-quater front view.  This is the view I worked on before I attempted this fisherman exercise and I think I did find  it easier because of the previous work.

Here’s the contruction sketch…

contructionlines 34 view_FIN_WEB

 

(I had to really push the levels for this to show on the scan because I’d drawn it really lightly.  This is why the paper looks dirty.)

 

Then, rather than using the same process as before, I wanted to try something one of my favourite comic artists does.  His name is Doug Wheatley and he drew some of the Dark Horse Star Wars ‘Dark Times’ series.

Here’s his cover art for ‘The Path to Nowhere’ from than series.

 

Dark Time Wheatley

 

I really love the line art in Doug’s work, the softness it has and the detail.  I reseached this for ages, wanting to know how you get it like this and I think he scans in his pencils and uses them instead of inking.  In an interview I read he talked about doing this and then adjusting the levels to get it to look just right.

So I thought I’d have a gotat using my pencils instead of ink.  I drew a pencil drawing.

34 view pencils_FIN_WEB

 

Then I scanned it, adjusted the levels and coloured it.  I put the line work on top and used photoshop’s ‘multiply’ blending option to bring the colour through the line art layer.

This is the final version with standard cel shading.

 

 

34 view full colour fisherman_FIN_WEB

I think it kind of works, although I think next time I will have to keep my pencil work cleaner and more accurate.  I’d also be interested to see what this technique looks like with full 3D effect gradient shading.  I might try that when I’m working on another design.