Archive for September 2010

BONUS CONTENT: Sketchbook: Bocce Snow Outfit

September 2, 2010

It’s nice when you have an established look for a character since subsequent outfits can just draw inspiration from that look. That was certainly the case with Bocce, whose snow outfit was heavily derived from the look of his regular outfit.

I think I pretty much covered Bocce’s outfit in the commentary for The Big Snow Job #2, Page 2.

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September 6, 2010 Click for full size


September 9, 2010

Another convention has come and gone and that means more con sketches! Here are two commissions I did recently at the 2010 Baltimore Comic-Con.

The first one was for a “Firefly”-themed sketchbook. I find certain characters, like Mal, Zoe, and Jayne, to be a little easier to cartoonify since they have such distinctive features. Kaylee was a much tougher one for me. But I really wanted to draw a character holding some RUNNERS stuffed animals, and Kaylee seemed like the right one to do it. Later in the show, I was talking to David Petersen (Mouse Guard) and telling him about the sketch, and he quickly mentioned that it would have been funny to have drawn Jayne with the stuffed animals. And dammit, I think he’s right.

The second sketch was for a DC Comics-themed sketchbook. I basically grew up on Marvel, so to be honest, I’m not all that familiar with the DC universe, but I’m a sucker for the Batman villains. For some reason, I’ve always really liked the Ventriloquist. Something about a nebbish guy who shouldn’t be intimidating but has a psychosis and alter ego that controls him. And that alter ego being a puppet. Because if I were crazy, I would totally act out through a puppet.

Anyway, after seeing this sketch, another attendee asked for The Ventriloquist as well for a sketch card to add to his collection. So I guess other people like The Ventriloquist as well.

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September 13, 2010 Click for full size

BONUS CONTENT: Art Process Display Banner, Pt 1 (Thumbnails)

September 16, 2010

For this year’s Baltimore Comic-Con, I finally decided it was time to ditch my old-school PVC-pipe booth display monstrosity and go for one of them new-fangled retractable banners that everyone seems to have nowadays. I figured it would be a good time to whip up a completely new banner image as well, and the next few Bonus Material posts will show the various stages of the art process for that image.

I did a bit of research before starting the thumbnails and I found that the most striking banners I saw were the simplest. Generally, a single figure pops much more than a group of characters. But with RUNNERS, I didn’t really think that approach would work, given the heavy emphasis of my series on the motley crew of different aliens. Just showing one or two of them wouldn’t really get that across. I also felt I needed the ship in there to make sure it came across as a sci-fi series, so I basically went into the thumbnails knowing it would be a pretty busy piece of art.

For the most part, I stuck with variations of one full-body character (Roka), surrounded by all the other characters. I did toy around with a couple Drew Stuzan-y compositions (#3 & 4), but they just ended up compounding the already busy look. Ultimately, I decided to settle on one of the full-body compositions since I figured that full body would at least give the banner a strong focal point.

I really like the three horizontal bands in the background and especially liked the idea of certain characters breaking the borders of their own bands and spilling over on top of others, just to add a bit of visual flair. I also knew I wanted a good chunk of the bottom to be relatively empty of important art since that area would tend to fall below the eye line of a con attendee once the banner was set up behind my table at a show.

In the end, I settled on thumbnail #2, but with one major change, as you’ll see in the next post…

Mecha Zone Art Book

September 18, 2010

Who likes big robots? Everyone! Well, you’re in luck then…

A great friend of mine, David White, has just put out a new collection called MECHA ZONE 2, which is a full color art book, chockful of very cool robot designs.  Dave is an amazing artist and the book is filled with his mecha concepts, including sketches, line art, and fully-rendered color plates. It even has a tutorial section in the back that covers the process of creating and illustrating a complete mecha design.

Check it out (including a video flip-through) at:

And David will also be set up at the New York Anime Festival (being held in conjunction with New York Comic Con) at the Javits Center, October 8-10. Feel free to check out the book there or buy it now from his site!

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September 20, 2010 Click for full size

BONUS CONTENT: Art Process Display Banner, Pt 2 (Pencils) & 3 (Inks)

September 23, 2010

FYI, the final banner image has a very long vertical dimension, so rather than post obnoxiously long vertical images, I decided to double them up, to make the overall image more squarish. So lucky you, each week you’ll be getting two for the price of one!

Here we have the pencil and ink stages. As you can see, I went with my favorite layout from the previous Thumbnails post, but I switched Roka out for Sky as the central figure. I did it because (a) she will become increasingly important to the central story of the series as it develops, and (b) it’s always nice to have an eye-catching cute female character front and center. It definitely seems like comic fans (both male and female) love their female characters, almost as much as most artists seem to enjoy drawing them. So I guess everybody’s happy! Well, except Ril, who ended up stuck behind her ankle. Sorry, Ril.

As a compositional consideration, I deliberately wanted the character on the bottom left (which ended up being Roka) to be the largest of the background characters. I knew the bottom would be very close to the eye-line cut-off once the banner was set up behind a convention table, so I wanted to make sure there was something a tad bigger to “mark” that edge of the main image. So all the characters are visually bracketed vertically between Roka and the Khoruysa Brimia. I think if Roka were smaller, it would have felt like the art was just “running out” towards the bottom and not “contained.”

Random note: the image obviously isn’t meant to be scene specific, but eagle-eyed readers may notice that they’re all wearing their outfits from the Arqq-Olem port and the root beetle dinner scene from The Big Snow Job #1. Basically, I was in a major time crunch and didn’t feel like designing all new outfits just for this one image. And I really liked all those Arqq-Olem outfits, so I figured, why not?

Next up, resizing and color flats…

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September 27, 2010 Click for full size

BONUS CONTENT: Art Process Display Banner, Pt 4 (Sized) & 5 (Flats)

September 30, 2010

So here we have the display banner digitally tweaked to its full dimensions of 33.5” x 79.” Like I said in the previous post: very long vertical dimension! At the Resize stage, I added the logo and text to make sure there was room for everything before I started on the coloring. The two gray bars are overlay guides I used to mark non-image areas. The top bar was about 1’ in height and marks the area allotted for the logo and text. Obviously, I wanted the RUNNERS logo at the very top so that’s what you’d be able to see from across the room. The bottom bar is about 2’ and marks the area that I figured would be obscured by a table set up in front of it. So I didn’t want any essential art falling below that line, but at the same time, I still wanted there to be some kind of art there. From the thumbnails, I had decided that the best solution would be a nice space scene: nice to look at, but nothing essential.

With the Color Flats stage, I decided to make each horizontal bar a different color for easy selection purposes. I really had no idea what they’d end up being. I thought I might keep them different colors to call out the different bars of characters, or I might do something else with them. In either case, I’d worry about them after everything else…

Next up, color shading…