Monday, July 27, 2015


What's up guys.  Hope the summer has been treating you well.  Full sized layouts (roughs) for many Draco At War pages have been done, and final pencils and some inking have begun.

I had some time to meditate on where I've been (having my storyboards reviewed at SDCC in 2011), and where I've come (Going into my 3rd year at the Kubert School).  It's been an interesting ride.

But let's get on with this update:

I posted the full sized roughs on tracing paper I did for this page awhile back.  You can see how the pencils changed from that stiffness and became more alive.  The rough was just so I would know how to place things, where they would fit on the page and roughly what size the final images would be.

Basically what I do is re-rough over the old rough onto good paper using a lightbox.  At this point the only think I'm thinking about is proportions, are they pretty accurate.  I take pictures of myself posing using Photo Booth on my laptop.  Sometimes when we are drawing and not checking what we are doing, heads get too small, ears get put in the wrong place, arms get too long, or are different lengths on the same figure.  I want to avoid as much of that as possible.  I use a 2H lead holder for this first pass.  The lead is harder so the lines I draw are lighter.

Then I'll start tightening up the pencils, tweaking anatomy and I'll try to make figures and faces look cool.  I'll also start adding details and start thinking about how I am going to ink it.  I do that with an HB lead holder.  The lead is softer so the lines I draw are darker.

When I have the pencils pretty much how I want them, I re-draw the image, but this time with ink.  Inking is not tracing.  It's drawing.  I try to have small quick confident lines, not slow, weak, wobbly lines.  Don't be afraid of ink.  It's not permanent, you can always use white paint to erase.

My line work was done with a Tachikawa School Pen nib and Eon Vortex Ink.  I like the school pen, it's a Japanese nib that gives pretty good thick to thin, and yet is firm enough to not go too nuts if I press too hard.  I have tons of nibs for my nib holder, but that one is just the one that's in there right now, and it doesn't clog up too much, so I'm cool with it.  There is nothing worse than dropping a line and having your nib dry up… the odds of you dropping that same exact line are few to none.  I can get tons of lines out of one dip with the school pen.

I use the Eon Vortex ink because it's waterproof and copic proof and it doesn't smear or bleed when dry.  It's amazing.  I've tested a lot of inks.  I've made test pages with tons of lines from lots of different inks, and then smeared copics or watercolors over them, and I've measured how much each one bleeds.  They all bleed to some degree, all the ones I've tried, except Eon Vortex.  Try it yourself and see.  We are always looking for top materials.  The Eon Vortex ink is also a matte black which means it has no gloss, which is also good for scanning.  Sometimes the gloss of other inks reflects light more when you scan.  The trick here is not to mix inks on your page though.  I picked up my pocket brush a few times and then remembered it had rapidograph ink in it, which is glossy.  oops.

For the heavier black spots I'm using a Raphael #2 brush and dipping it in the Eon ink.

PAGE  3 W.I.P.
This is a peek at the W.I.P.  for page 3.  It still needs more ink and white paint, but this is all part of the process.  Drawing comics is a process.  One of my buddies said you gotta love the process, not just the finished product, or you are in the wrong line of work.  As comic book artists we spend more time "in the process" than anything.  So we gotta love that place where we get ink and sweat on the mat, the mat being the paper.  I'm mixing up martial arts and comic analogies here.  But you get the idea.

For the white out i'm using a Sharpie paint pen, and I have some Deleter white 2 for larger paint spots.  For smaller details I'm using a Koh-i-noor .35 rapidograph pen and for technical stuff, where circle guides are needed, I use a copic multiliner 0.5.  They don't bleed under the tools like a nib does.  I also use a 0.8 copic multiliner for the panel borders.  


And Boom!  there you have it.  UPDATE COMPLETE.

See you soon!