Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sailor Spider

Sketchoholic is an art resource site that emphasizes contests as part of its toolbox for motivating artists to draw. I was alerted to one contest by my friend, Autumn, via Twitter. I checked it out, and the combination that popped into my head was Spider-man and Sailor Moon. I just loved the idea of a sailor scout/senshi with elements of Spidey's costume. And it was crack enough to make me jump on it.

This was my first page of sketches to get a feel for what to keep. Drawn from my memory of how the two looked. The next page is a mix of quick studies of Spider-man's costume. It's very iconic, and I think this is my first time ever drawing anything Spider-man related, so I needed reference. Damn that webbing on the costume. One thing I wish I could have had on my final costume is the webbing between his arms and body, but there weren't enough elements from the sailor senshi uniform to connect to.

 Next, the pencil sketch. I did some thumbnails of her swinging from her webbing from different angles and the classic Sailor Moon post-transformation pose, but my favorite was a simple pose of her braced on a wall. It's a very Spidey kind of pose, and a way to show how she has at least the adhering power. Largely went with the animated version of Sailor Moon, first season, hence lack of hair pens. Included an appropriately different version of her Moon Healing Rod.

And this is the final version. I colored it vibrant colors, then lowered the saturation because I liked how it looks. We'll see how I do in the contest.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Drawing with Crayons

Drawing with crayons makes for a challenging exercise if you're used to media like graphite, as I am. And by crayons, I'm not talking about Conte crayons or colored pencils. I mean your average Crayola or similar company crayons, the soft wax ones. Why crayons? They were available and I wanted to try something different.

In summary, this week I helped out at the zoo's summer camp. During some calm periods during the week, I did a little drawing of stuff around me. On this day, we were in the classroom where we have a variety of animal artifacts, including real and fake animal skulls and various kinds of shells. While I did have my usual collection of pencils, I was tired of them and had something of a block. To add something new, I used some of the crayons in the buckets on the table.
The items shown are part of a deer skull and a scorpion spider conch. It was rather fun to draw these with the crayons. The biggest challenge was their bluntness, and it was most apparent in the conch drawing and another shell not included here. Still, if you hold it right and apply the right pressure, you can achieve a pretty good variety of lines and strokes. If I had more patience, I could probably get a full value drawing of the shells. Drawing with crayons might make for a good exercise in the future, and a nice change from graphite.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Inking attempts: G-pen and Maru

You may recall my last post was where I showed off the initial results of my inking with a Saji pen nib. This post is also about trying out pen nibs, and will probably be the last one for a while about the initial results.

The first set of images are from a G-pen. This particular nib has been mentioned in a few books on inking from Japan, and I can kinda see why. It's a nice nib, giving a lot of variety and gave me pretty good control overall. The lines seem very nice to my eye.
What I Learned from My Attempt
I'm not sure if it was because I knew what to expect from the previous attempt or if the nib was just better, but the ink flowed more smoothly. There wasn't as much catching on the paper that I had with the Saji. I knew from this test that in the foreseeable future, I'll be using the G-pen nib for inking.

This is the last of the trial set I had ordered. Unlike the previous two, the Maru pen nib is meant for fine lines, so if you're someone who wants thin lines, go with this one. It does have some flexibility, so there is variety available, but thin lines are its strength.
This is the messier of the two attempts posted tonight. The cape is thicker and messier because I attempted to do some inking with a brush, which clearly wasn't that great. The smudges came from my hand getting into the ink, Deleter Black 2, which hadn't dried yet when my hand went over it.
What I Learned from My Attempt
This is another nib that caught on the paper, or felt like it. I got the overall thin lines I wanted, and slightly thicker ones with only a little effort. The Maru is probably not the best option if you want to fill blacks. It is not good for places where you want solid black, like the pupils and the eyelashes. Curves were a little tricky, but that may be due to my inexperience.

For now, most of my inking attempts will be made with the G-pen, but I can imagine ways of using the Maru. The Saji will probably be used once I get better with inking in general and can better manipulate it. Using all three in an image is not out of the question.

So that's it right now on my inking. Future posts will be back to progress and finished images.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Inking attempts: Saiji pen nib

Tools. I like tools, especially art tools. I'm like a lot of people who is interested in what tools artists use and how they use them, trying to figure out the limits, advantages and disadvantages of each one. Only challenge is learning how to actually use the tools. Something I want to work on with a lot of materials. This time, inking.

To keep this short(er), I've been interested in inking my artwork for both illustrations and especially for my sequential work, and I've been wanting to move past using Pigma microns (including my current go to pens, Copic Multiliners) to pen and brush inking for a while for at least one reason: line variety. You can get some variety with microns, but it takes some work. Nib pens and brushes can get a lot of variety in one tool. Each varies, pros and cons and all that. And they take more practice to get really good. I don't plan to drop microns completely, but I want to build up my resources.

Here is my first attempt at inking an actual image with a Deleter brand Saji pen nib, using Deleter Black 3. You probably recognize the image as my Power Girl image from a while back, and I liked it enough I thought I'd use copies of it for practicing on. Helps to get over the whole fear of damaging a nice piece with bad inking when you're working on a copy.

I don't plan to post every attempt at inking, but the first attempt at a tool will most likely go up to act as gauge of improvement.

What I Learned From My Attempt:
It's been mentioned in a couple of books and articles about inking, but you don't realize how much it is so until you try it: nib pens are scratchy and tend to catch on the paper. That takes some getting used to after working with materials that don't catch as much. Sensitivity is a much larger issue than with microns. There are a few places where I let up the wrong way and kind of flicked the pen, ruining an otherwise smooth line. There are a few splatters and places where I didn't have enough ink for the width I attempted. Placement is a biggie too. Lastly, it's best to occasionally clean the tip because of said scratchiness or digging into paper; the thick line on PG's upper left arm was caused by some paper fiber getting caught on the tip.

I can't really say this is better than my original inked piece, but I'm glad to be attempting it because there's at least one place I'm pleased with. That's this:

Yep, that line of her upper leg, and to a degree, the bottom line for bottom of her thigh. It has the line go from narrow to thick and narrows again. I like that.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Nanomango '10: p. 2-3

Here are the most recent pages from my summer Nanomango exercise. Doing okay, only missed one day so far. Will work on page 4 today/tonight, which will be included in the next update.

Page 3 Dialogue
Panel 2: No.
Panel 3: What did you say?
Panel 4: No. I refuse to obey. I've given every reason to approve this marriage. Political, economic, military. On top of that, I love him. None of that's good enough. So why should I obey you?
Panel 5: I'm the king, you are my daughter! That's all there is to it. I refuse this marriage. And you will obey me!
Panel 6: Maleen:So I won't be your daughter, or your subject. Disown me, exile me. But I will be with the man I love.
King: Is that so?
Panel 8: Do your worst.
Panel 9: Oh, trust me...