Scraps, Doodles and Mostly Completed Things

Posted in Color Work, Scraps and Sketches, Tablet stuff on November 12, 2010 by Davie

Enough waiting about.  The following images are basically everything I’ve done in Photoshop over the last couple months–complete, incomplete, practice, such and such.  Any tips on how to improve the backgrounds of the first two are much appreciated.

And yes,  I need to finish some of the damn things.  Still, it’s good practice.

Pretty much my best so far. Background's giving me trouble though.

Needs more sand and such in the back. Some anatomy issues, too...

My original intention was just a regular-looking guy, but I kind of abandoned when I inadvertently gave him the creepiest expression it is possible for the human face to assume.

Started out as STALKER fanart. Don't know why I haven't finished it.

I honestly completely forgot I ever drew this.

Just a quick value experiment.

 

More stuff soon…

Posted in Uncategorized on November 1, 2010 by Davie

I’ve been working on a couple of pretty complex Photoshop paintings, and I’m trying to incorporate a proper background.  Unsurprisingly, this is taking a while, as I’ve never done that before.  However, the first one’s nearing completion so I should be able to post that soon.  In Sorrel and Artichoke news, the current pages are basically the introduction.  I’m currently working on developing a buffer of three or four pages, like them professionals do, so that maybe–maybe–they’ll start coming out in a timely manner.  Hopefully.  I always inadvertently lie about these things though.

Either way, you’ll see more stuff soon.  In the meantime, here are some rather unexciting master copies I did back in July for my drawing class.

After Titian's Jacopo Strada

After Vermeer's Girl With a Pearl Earring

 

Music-Fuelled Drawing

Posted in Black and White Drawings, Hand-drawn stuff on September 29, 2010 by Davie

When I draw, I always listen to music if possible.  It helps me get in the mood, and the right songs can really jump-start the imagination.  The picture below, bane of several Micron pens, was started and finished while listening to this.

 

 

It's pretty badass.

Curse my crappy scanner.

 

The genre of music depends on the subject matter.  For robots and aliens and the like, I have Pendulum and the Prodigy.  Medieval fantasy usually warrants a bit of epic video game soundtrack, and when drawing from life I’ll listen to Cage the Elephant or Franz Ferdinand.  Clutch is for monsters, Metallica’s for more demonic characters.  So on and so forth.  My best drawings are always the product of a bizarre mix of genres playing in my ear.

Influences

Posted in Other Posts on September 17, 2010 by Davie

Time to write a proper post, of which there have been unfortunately few lately.  I’m going to talk a bit about the artists that influence my style, as well as some that just do things so well I can count on their work to give me ideas.  The image is a clever meme I found to provide a visual aid.  And of course, I recommend all of the below to anyone and everyone.

First and foremost, the artist with the biggest influence on my work over the past two years or so has been one Park Joong-Ki, creator of the quite excellent series Shaman Warrior. His artwork is visceral, expressive and immensely detailed, to use reviewer lingo.  No matter how many lines he draws on a face, it never gets too cluttered and remains recognizable.  When his characters move–and damn, do they ever move about–you can see that movement in every line.  He’ll do these incredible splash pages to show off various epic events and finishing moves, and they never look like a still frame. When a guy gets punched in the head, you wince.  When someone leaps over a ten-foot wall, your eyes widen.  The motion feels so…present.

Unfortunately, even the combined keywords “park joong ki shaman warrior finishing move splash page absolutely excellent artwork omg awesome awesome” don’t turn up one of those excellent double-page spreads in Google Image Search, and I can’t scan anything right now, so the one example will have to suffice.  His linework’s heavily influenced my own, and I’ve tried to study the way he does faces in such detail.

Next up is the little-known but amazing Daryl Mandryk, head concept artist at Propaganda Games, if I remember correctly.  The bulk of his work is illustration, which makes sense, considering his job.  He’s an absolute master with a tablet–in my humble opinion, the best tablet-based artist in the business today.  He’s capable of combining loose, almost sketchy marks with heavily defined and extremely well-rendered details to make something that draws the eye exactly where it’s meant to go.  Like Joong-Ki, he’s also really great with making movement look, well, like it exists.  Since he does it all digitally, he uses the blur tool to wondrous effect, making people, weapons, and little chunks of stuff fly around all over the place.

If I hadn’t been looking at his stuff and reading his tutorials, I’d probably be incapable with a tablet.  Of course, I still have a long way to go, but his drawings helped me out hugely.  Besides, if I ever don’t feel like drawing, all I have to do to get in the mood is look at a few of his illustrations.  I’m usually overwhelmed by waves of awesome and go run off and draw something right away.

Next is Mike Mignola, illustrious creator of Hellboy.  It’s pretty hard not to take something away from this guy’s art.  He never uses values and sticks entirely to chunks of black and white.  In addition to making his work look great with or without color, it amps up the contrast to a level you rarely see in comics.  It fits with his dark subject matter and makes his panels look really dramatic.  This works especially well when he draws an old ruin or cathedral or some such–you can tell exactly where the light is coming from, and despite how stylized everything is, it looks very realistic, heavy and tangible.  Plus, the amount of detail he works in using very little line is astounding.

It took me a while to realize it, but Hayao Miyazaki was also a huge inspiration.  I saw all his movies when I was a kid and read Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and was blown away by the creativity and detail of it all.  Some of the first drawings I spent more than an hour on were based off Princess Mononoke. Of course, the sucked, but it still cemented a little bit of Miyazaki in my art style.  Specifically, I think it’s the crosshatching.  I always loved the way he did crosshatching in Nausicaa, and it shows in my sketches.  Which I should really post more of.  Damn.

Then we have Tony Harris.  When I first saw Harris’ work in Ex Machina, I seriously thought he had run photos through Photoshop.  His style is incredibly realistic–everything from facial expressions to wrinkles in clothing looks like it was pulled directly from real life.  However, there’s something more than that.  The level of detail is so complete that everything seems exaggerated, and his colorists always use especially vibrant hues.  It creates a sort of hyperrealism–not too perfect to be real, not so realistic it drops into the uncanny valley, but something that makes it like real life, only better.  Brighter and faster and more vivid.  It’s brilliant.  And sort of art-deco, which is cool.

Right behind him is Tony Moore, whose work is a little contrasting.  What he manages to do is create a gritty, realistic world (I promise I will never use that phrase again) with an art style that doesn’t’ attempt photorealism.  Facial features are exaggerated, figures look angular and backgrounds are a mess of lines.  Regardless of this, it’s not hard to take his work very seriously, and it’s obviously very grounded in reality.   Kind of the opposite of Harris’ photorealistic vividness, Moore’s work is stylized yet subdued.

This is the kind of style I want Sorrel and Artichoke to achieve, eventually: something that’s a little caricatured, a little sketchy, but still very believable and detailed.  It’s going to be a while…

Oh, plus, he’s a linework god.  Enough said.

And the rest I mostly found out about recently.  They don’t directly influence my work for the most part, but they give me ideas right and left.  Paul Kidby’s caricatures are simultaneously funny and oddly believable, like you could actually see someone with a nose that pointy and an expression that malicious.  His paintings are also spectacular.  Aaron Diaz does beautiful, surreal work and his Dresden Codak is funny and philosophical.  Scott C’s drawings are outrageous and he’s brilliant with watercolor.  Daniel Dociu does imaginative landscapes and structures, and does them better than just about everyone.  Finally, Theo Ellsworth’s bizarre, meticulous pictures are simply a joy to look at.

Diaz and Ellsworth get extra points because they both live less than ten miles from my house and I’ve gotten the chance to briefly speak with both of them at the local comics convention.

But wait!  There’s more!  My favorite writers also deserve mention.  They’re the ones that really prove that comics are more than just superheroes and swordfights.

Absolute top of the list is Brian K. Vaughan, creator of Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man.  Both of these series are wholly original in terms of subject matter and paced perfectly, never running too long or too short.  Vaughan’s also a master of dialogue–his characters mumble and stutter and generally talk like real people, and yet they’re still full of wit and passion and say some genuinely funny and moving things.  Y, especially, is a piece of literature which everyone should read.

You have to give some credit to Robert Kirkman, simply for creating in The Walking Dead a zombie story that isn’t all action and yelling, one that focuses on how people might actually react to the situation.  In the movies and most zombie comics, it’s all “OH SHIT ZOMBIES SHOOT THEM IN THE HEAD” but Kirkman’s characters actually seem affected by the ordeal and act accordingly.

Finally, I must mention Warren Ellis, because of one Spider Jerusalem.  Spider may be one of the most masterfully written protagonists ever.  He’s a complete lunatic who’s always hopped up on several different kinds of illegal substances, who cusses out anyone and everyone and punches innocent bystanders in the teeth when they get in his way.  He’s crude, violent, unpredictable, and a complete asshole by all accounts.  And yet, the reader sympathizes with him.  He’s still the good guy, partially because a good portion of the Transmetropolitan world is even more villainous than he is, and also because it’s obvious that under the violence, profanity and substance abuse lies a brilliant mind and a noble set of standards.  He may be the most antiheroic antihero around,  but we know that if things turn out his way, they’ll turn out for the better.  Ellis created a completely unlikeable character and made readers like him.  That, I think, is an achievement.

Besides, the scene in which Spider leaps into his editor’s office, grinning madly and shouting, “Hold the front page!’ to which the editor responds, “You’re not fucking with my front page!” and Spider jumps onto his desk and punches him in the head, is the best scene in comics.  Hands down.

And that’s all.  Everyone, read and stare at work by everyone mentioned above.  You will not regret it.

Brief Update

Posted in Uncategorized on September 7, 2010 by Davie

A real, live, related-to-art, not-related-to-Sorrel-and-Artichoke post will be up soon.  Progress on the comic is chugging along at the usual snail’s pace, but there’s a new page up.

The Omniscient Orb, Page 8

Posted in Uncategorized on August 10, 2010 by Davie

New page up here.  I had a hell of a lot of trouble with this one, for some reason, which partially accounts for the lateness.  Exporting issues, weird tool settings, and just frustratingly inept drawing made this a month or so late.  I’d say I’ll add more pages soon, but I’m about as likely to keep that promise as a starving polar bear promising to allow seals to pass through its territory unharmed.  Yeah, that was a weird analogy.

Here is some art!

Posted in Black and White Drawings, Hand-drawn stuff, Sorrel and Artichoke on July 28, 2010 by Davie

That is all.

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