40 Day Graphic Novel: How to Draw

September 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

At the start of Day 14 of this project, I’m 29 pages in.  Not great, but by the end of the day, I ought to be on par-ish.  Labor Day weekend was a great sucking vacuum that devoured all productivity, and I spent last Wednesday, it being new-comic-book-day, doing “research,” a pleasurable chore that I will have to pass on this week.

I thought I’d drop a couple notes on the drawing process I’m using for this project.  Again, I’m not taking every page to completion.  The goal here is to get the line art, what I consider the heavy-lifting, done. Heavy blacks and my usual ink wash will come at a later date, when I’m back from a shoot in Brazil.  (Let’s hope this trip doesn’t leave me with another rash covering my body).

On to the process!

As I wrote in a previous post, my script is my thumbnails:

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After I do a really rough blue pencil layout, I draw some of the picture in pencil.  This is usually pretty rough as well, and mostly just on areas of the page I’m afraid of screwing up.

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Much can change from the thumbnails to here.  I like using an F pencil.  It’s pretty light, and, since I do most of the work in the real world (not Photoshop) I need to be able to erase it.

Next, using a hawk quill pen, I start with the ink.  I’m going for a more impressionistic style with this work, and my lines here are really, really rough.  (And yes, the hawk quill is much more dangerous than the mundane crow quill.)

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I’ll add more details and embellishments later with an art nib.  The foliage in the top panels, the cityscape in the bottom panel, and all the grays will be done with brushes later.

I’m not John Cassaday, but I can draw well enough to spin a yarn.  I wouldn’t use this style of illustration for every work I do, but this content leans towards the surreal (as demonstrated by the nonlinear panels above) and impressionistic images fit the tone.

For more ruminations on how create a quick graphic novel, I suggest Double Barrel from Top Shelf.  Digital copies of the books include various “how-tos” in the back.  If memory serves me, the back of Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 also includes a basic how-to on creating comics the Stan Lee and Steve Ditko way.

 

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