How I came to be here is a mystery; what I'm here to accomplish can only be a Cosmic Caper.

Postcards from the Past_Part 2

>> Monday, March 18, 2013

In this case a three color palette was used : Vermillion, Viridian, and Ivory Black.
I was working at an art supply store several years ago and started painting 30 minute sketches on my lunch break. Each one was an experiment in style and application, although they all probably have characteristics similar to much of my work.

Most of them were made on Lanaquarelle postcard stock, 140lb weight at  4" x 6". Lana is a superb cotton watercolor paper and highly recommended. The paint was a very good Russian brand in a credit-card sized plastic box with a hinged, snap-closed lid. The main challenge was to paint wet n' wet and from the shoulder in such a small scale. I was going for accurate but loose, with minor distortion for effect. 

It worked out pretty well. Had a lot of fun with them and even gave a few as presents to some good friends. Will post another next time.


Postcards from the Past_Part 1

>> Sunday, March 17, 2013

W.C. Bird. 4" x 6" Wet n' wet and dry-brush combined.
From time to time for auction or just for practice and fun, I've painted some postcards of simple subjects.

This first one is a bird painted for auction at the North Center Senior Satellite to support the art program there. It was probably complete in less time, but 30 minutes from drawing to finish is a good guess. I try to keep the subjects accessible to the audience for which it's intended; since my interests are varied, it's never a problem to create work that stimulates me at the same time.


Pop the ? "Gray-scale Coloring in Photoshop"

>> Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Here you can see a detail of the finished pencil art cleaned-up.
After the line art is complete, it is cleaned up in Photoshop. Black, grey, and white levels are re-set and the art is adjusted to clarify and darken the pencil strokes sufficiently for coloring.

I much prefer to ink but this technique works in a pinch and can be used to good effect in the digital age. My real inspiration is from the late 1980's and early 90's. Some excellent work was being done by comic book artist extraordinaire Gene Colan with watercolor washes painted over pencil art. A noteworthy example is the wonderful science fiction graphic novel 'Nightwings' written by the talented multiple-time Hugo Award winning author Robert Silverberg.

Below is the gray-scale block-in which establishes the tonal areas and selections in a single step. Coloring is completed in an Photoshop over-layer while saving the one beneath until the coloring process is complete.

Glad you enjoyed this overview of the the art process behind 'Pop the ?' Please direct any remarks or technical questions in the comment section...See you again Soon.
The gray-tones give a good facsimile of the final art, allowing for a freer approach to coloring.


Pop the ? "Final Pencils"

>> Monday, February 25, 2013

Many subtle changes in the above refinement: compare to the layout in the previous post.
There is a tendency for line art to become stiff the more its refined. During the transfer process, the smaller page-sized layout is scaled up to the finished art in a 10" x 15" image area [typically ruled on an 11" x 17"  Bristol board.] Keeping layouts simple helps to ensure you're still adding to the drawing and not merely tracing the enlarged panels. Drawing freely from the shoulder as much or even more than the wrist also helps to keep the figures from looking wooden.

At this stage, it was important to consult the reference of the real life couple most carefully. There's no rule of thumb for reference that everyone follows. For myself, knowing when to use it for the best effect or when to avoid it when it's gets in the way of simplicity is key. Regardless, I always have plenty on hand just in case.

Since I would not have time to ink, retouch in Photoshop and gray-scale coloring are the next steps...More about that up next.


The Race

>> Sunday, February 24, 2013

Black Ribbons waved across the green-gold ground;
A cry and push that signals all beginning,
the gates were locked, all bets hedged
and we were running.

Footsteps fell and played against the vast profound;
Of course unmapped and unknown ending,
blinders fixed in place, we didn’t know
the finish fast was coming.


Pop the ? "Storytelling in Pictures"

>> Saturday, February 23, 2013

The layout was made at the standard comic page size 6.875 x 10.5.
By this stage, all the design kinks have been worked out. Notice the flip between panels 1 and 2; starting the narrative in the present helped the flash back come across more effectively. The drawing is clear and makes storytelling the primary aspect of this layout. Caption and balloon placement at this stage help the flow of the page and save drawing 'dead area' for positioning them afterwards. Every part of the drawing counts. 

Of course all the I've learned is from studying the very best. Google Gil Kane, Wally Wood, Alex Toth, Jack Kirby, and John and Sal Buscema, to name a very few...Up Next: Full Pencils.


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