Just having some fun with another kid portrait! This one was drawn with china marker, scanned and coloured digitally.
1. I start off with a series of small thumbnail sketches to explore composition
2. Using my thumbnail sketch as a guide I produce a larger more refined sketch. At this stage I also do a quick value study to help me see if the composition is working. I feel that doing a value study is a really important part of the process. It really helps me to see if a piece is working, or if I need to go back to the drawing board. I usually also end up making adjustments to the composition that I otherwise may not have noticed if I was just looking at my line work. I try not to skip this step because it can be a huge time saver having all my values figured out before I start adding colour. I find it also gives me the confidence going forward in the final piece knowing that the composition is working.
3. Normally, the next step in my process is doing the final line work before moving into colour. For this piece I decided to try blocking in all my colour flats right over my sketch. My thinking was that it could help save me time later fiddling with colouring my lines, and help give me a more flat stylized look I wanted to try and achieve with this piece. At this point I wasn’t too concerned with getting the colours exact, as I would adjust those in the next step after everything was blocked in.
4. After all the colour flats were blocked in, I adjusted them to get the hues and values I wanted. After that I dropped in some basic general shadows.
5. Deepening and refining the shadows, and adding some texture
6. More refining of shadows and adding some highlights
7. Deepening shadows and bringing up highlights
8. Adding final dark accent shadows and some small crisp bright highlights
Here is a little animation that shows all the stages together:
Here’s a quick Superman illustration. I’ve been experimenting with a bit of a new colouring method lately – doing the flats colour blocks in Manga Studio and only adding a few necessary lines. I’m working on a few larger pieces like this trying to come up with a better, faster way to work. Trial and error. Steady as she goes. etc.
Read my mini review of the Story Editor in Manga Studio over at Once Upon A Sketch – “Streamline your Workflow with Manga Studio Story Editor”
Recently I’ve been using Manga Studio more and more for my sketches and line work. I did a quick overview of the pen and some of the other related tools over at Over at Once Upon a Sketch.
Each year I like to come up with a unique holiday piece to send to my clients. Rather than a traditional card, last year I made a small 11×17″ winter themed poster entitled “Sled Slang”.
This year I was feeling a little extra inspired so I’ve actually produced two posters! The first one is called “Winter Hazards”, and it pokes a bit of fun at some of the common things that kids go through each winter. Can you count how many of these situations you’ve experienced:
The “Winter Hazards” poster is also available in my store. If you know anyone who wants to relive their winter childhood experiences, or just needs some tips to stay out of trouble- I can’t think of a better gift!Buy It Here!
The second poster is based on a Christmas comic I made last year. I completed it just before Christmas so I was too late to actually use it for any promotion or mailing. I decided to give it a new lease on life and formatted it into an 11×17″ poster as well. This one is called “Wi-Fi Santa”, and it pokes a bit of fun at Santa. Plus, I always wanted to do a comic where Santa gets caught, and had some fun with how he handles the situation.Buy It Here!
I’ll be sending these out soon to avoid the holiday rush. I’ll try to do a blog post showing my process on creating a unique envelope for these, and how I plan to send them out.
For this series I tried out a tool I hadn’t used before – the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. What a great little brush pen this is - the line quality you can get is wonderful, and it’s so easy to use with no mess or fuss. I highly recommend you try it out if you’ve never used it before.
For anyone that buys any of my original art, I will be including a free digital download of this poster.Buy the ORIGINAL ART!
The November issue of ChickaDEE Magazine is all about China. I had the super fun job of illustrating the full spread puzzle page for this issue.
Below is the final version – click to view larger (For demonstration purposes I modified it a bit from the version that appears in the magazine – removing some fun china facts that covered up a portion of the artwork in the lower right corner, and a small little bird character illustrated by Charles Manale that was standing on the box that contained the China facts)
I had a great time filling up the spread with all the different characters and colourful costumes. This piece required quite a bit of research – clothing, chinese zodiac costumes, buildings, traditional Chinese instruments, dragon costume pieces, etc.
When planning the illustration, I sketched out quite a few small thumbnails to figure out the composition and placement of the characters. As there was quite a bit of text that was to be placed on the illustration, careful planning was needed to make sure I left enough space for the text and all of the puzzle elements. Below is the thumbnail sketch I used for this illustration (approximately 4″ x 2″):
After I had the basic composition and placement of all the elements worked out, I scanned and enlarged my thumbnail sketch to actual size. I then went over the enlarged sketch defining all of the elements more clearly, and tweaking things as I went. At this point I also did a quick value study to make sure everything was working as I wanted. I find it really useful to do a value study over my sketches. It helps me ground my composition, making sure it’s working as I want, and it can help me spot problem areas that I may not have noticed when just looking at my line work. It also helps to make the final colouring stage go faster since the values are already figured out.
Once I had the sketch done at full size, and went over it one final time to produce the final line work that was used. During this final pass, some small things were changed and moved, but for the most part I was simply refining and concentrating on my line quality. You will notice a few of the main elements changed from the full size sketch to the final piece – namely the dragon puzzle pieces and the placement of the stage.