Friday, August 21, 2015


So my buddy Xavi asked about contributing to a little sketch blog he cooked up.  A bunch of the guys decided to bang out some X-23 and then we would all post the drawings on the same day.

I've never drawn X-23 before, nor am I that familiar with the character, but a female clone of wolverine that may or may-not hang out with my favorite female ninja Psylocke... sounds pretty awesome.

First off, I don't really do the pin-up thing.  That's just me.  Females in unnaturally contorted poses, just for posing sake, is not something I do, unless it's from life, or a study of some kind.  I want to see action, unless I am studying anatomy.  Why action heroes need to pose in static makes no sense.  You can have action, or movement, or energy and still be aesthetically appealing.  Swimsuit models aren't girls who model swimsuits, they are swimsuits that model girls.  What's selling, the suit, or the figure?

I see a lot of amazing artists who really grasp line energy and anatomy getting stuck in that pin-up girl pose thing.  Just walk around Comic Con the prints that sell well are usually those, and they are everywhere.  It's almost like a dating service, you walk around and look for the features you prefer, and hang them on your wall.  The next level from that is taking cool figures and giving them some natural looking movement.  And the next level after that is not only giving them natural movement but doing some kind of storytelling in the process.  And really that's what this is all about.  Storytelling.  You want to know the characters by looking at them.  What they think, how they feel at that moment, what they stand for.  It's like a snapshot of someones life.  The best pictures usually have stories that go along with them.  They have something deeper.

Anyway that's kind of how I think.  I haven't arrived at that level of awesomeness yet, but that's what I'm going for.

So I scribbled out a pose that was walking.  A mid-air shot might have been cooler, but I wasn't trying to copy this Sanford Greene print I have hanging up in my studio.  I like the way he drew X-23 a lot in that print, in fact that's really the only exposure I had to her before trying to draw this.  His Psylocke in that piece is pretty rad too.

My pencils are pretty loose but I got most of the information I needed from them.

I could've tightened up the pencils more, but I didn't have a lot of time for this, so I jumped into the line art.

I threw some copic color and some watercolors down to flesh out some of the colors a bit and get a feel for how I may want to tackle it.

Then I pushed some of the color levels and added some blacks with a brush.  I added some red in the background with watercolor to pop the figure a little more.  

It was just a sketch in my sketchbook (you can see where I was testing the colors and inks on the left) but it was good practice.  

This was the final image, I leveled it a bit so the blacks were more black.  I don't have a scanner right now, so I just took a photo using my phone.  

And that's pretty much that.  Check out the other awesome sketches the guys did on our other blog.


Sunday, August 2, 2015


Welcome back TEAM KIRE(Key-ray).  Kire is Erik spelled backwards.  :D

So this is a glimpse into the process that creates DRACO AT WAR, this time we'll be looking at PG 4.

I started with the script.  Based on the script I did a thumbnail in a notebook.  I originally thought I would do 3 panels, 1) a wide shot, 2) a close-up and 3) a medium close-up.

If you look on the right side of my thumbnail, there are three horizontal panels, the 1st says 1/2, the 2nd says Z F TH, and the 3rd says M R S.  Those are the initials of the characters.  The 1st panel I intended to take up 1/2 the page, and then stack the other 2 underneath, showing the 6 characters 3 at a time and getting a feel for who they are and what they may be like.   Kind of like an introduction.   I thought it would be more dynamic that way.

 Then I started to do some full sized roughs.

It occurred to me that in the 2nd panel I could still do a close up, but this time of Finn (F) and show Zayden (Z) and Thrash (TH) behind him.  I thought that would add depth and still qualify for the needed page close-up.  (As a general rule of thumb you ought to shoot for at least one close-up and one wide-shot per page… it's not required, but it's a good rule if you need help.)  So I have my wide-shot and my close-up, with characters on either side of Finn… I thought of breaking the panel with Finn, because he's so big.  If you break panels, make it a full break.  Don't half heartedly break them, or it will look like a mistake or a tangent.

It seemed a little redundant to have everyone doing their thing, as described in the script, and then show them all again, but with a closer view.  So I thought for the 1st panel I'd have Zayden say his line, he was going to wait until panel 2, and I thought I'd show Finn in the BG.  That seemed cool to me, so I roughed it out on good paper.

As you can see though, Finn is too large to fit in the 1st panel and still fit with the perspective, so even though he had a cool pose, he had to go.  :(  I also changed panel 2 to give him a super close-up, because he's so cool, and also because you saw him clearly on the page right before this one, so you don't need to see him that well all the time.  His eyes and hair are enough for this page.

The first panel pencils ended up looking like this.  You can see the 2H (lighter) lead underneath and the HB (darker) lines on top. I tried to get the faces pretty tight before I started inking them.

Let's do some inking!

I had the figures pretty much how I wanted them so I started inking.  School Pen Nib and Eon Vortex Ink.

After inking the figures in the 1st panel, I inked Finn in the second, and then I worked on tightening up the other figures on the page.  I had a speech balloon over Zayden's head in the 2nd panel (he's the figure sitting on the pipe) but it was too close to his head so I thought about putting it on the left of Thrash (the guy with the sword).  And Rune's face (the guy with a gun) was giving me so much grief!! He has so many upgrades and modifications there isn't much flesh left to draw.  So his face, especially, is a little tricky.

 So here I tweaked Zayden's posture in the second panel, I had him hunch over more, which left room for the speech balloon over his head.  I didn't want the speech balloon on the left of Thrash because there is a balloon right above that.  So this way the Balloons go from far left, to middle, to far right, as you read the page.  It's a smoother transition I think.  I also played with Rune's face some more, I felt like I needed to draw his right eye through the lens so I could get the positioning of everything better, otherwise the super-scope over his eye was floating around and going in the wrong places.

And these are kind of how the inks are going.  I still have a lot more to do, but I was playing with a more graphic black and white, deep-space feel.  I still have to do the BG's in panels 2 and 3.

So, yep, stay tuned.