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Sinope!

Drawing Sequence

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LAYOUT ROUGHS

I've learned a lot being here watching other people draw and I'd really like to share some of what I learned and my workflow to build up a drawing or comic page.  This is Page#5 of the redraw of "Little Lorna: Resort Sports".  This is always the first step of any drawing even if it is just intended to be a napkin sketch for a friend.
 

rs05-wip0.jpgI always start out with a layout especially for complicated pictures like this. There are two characters that are interacting and the pose is important.

Here's the task list for this panel: Uncle Bob has finished squirting Little Lorna with sun screen and it is globbed all over her. She is not in a good mood about this. She is complaining that her tan is going to be blotchy. Uncle Bob to the rescue! He is grinding up against her and it is important that his groin is hidden as it is a setup for a later joke. His hands are inappropriately on her but not quite so porny yet. Little Lorna has to be more concerned with the suntan lotion then with Uncle Bob's hands. Uncle Bob makes some comments about giving her a hand or teaching our little heroine some instruction on applying lotion properly. This is important to keep establishing Uncle Bob as her mentor and not some creepy guy. The contrast between the two expressions is important to sell the dialogue. She needs to be all "I'm in a pickle" and he needs to be "Here's my chance!" This is the theme of all of Little Lorna's stories. Benign peril and men taking advantage of that! As much as possible a sexual trade.

I'll start with the head and draw the collar bones, rough volumes of the arms and then the body in traditional "Bag of Flour" animation style. Hips and then leg volumes. Fingers are done in mittens just to get size and flow right.

If there are two characters, I'll draw them on separate layers in different colors. I drew Little Lorna first and then faded the layer to about 5% so I can barely see it. Then I roughed Uncle Bob's figure. I then set Little Lorna's layer to about 15% and do some changes to Uncle Bob either by lasso, transform or redrawing parts. These characters were originally too far in the center so I took both layers and moved them closer to the side. It gives room for bubbles and also draws the eye to the left.

Some artists just do skeletal at this stage but I like doing volumes as much as I can. It helps with visualizing use of space, fore-shortening and proportion. I also try and put in the character's expressions in. I am really big on expressions on character's faces and will tend to overdo it sometimes! That's my style I guess.

At this stage, I usually do not know what the characters are saying. I have a pretty good idea from the script (or the voices in my head!). Its pretty important for me to keep in mind room for bubbles!

The pencil I use is a rough textured one that has a bit of an angle and has a wide stroke. I learned that from seeing Jab's sketches. I thought it very clever contrary to the thinking of using a tighter pencil. The eye just seems to fill in the gaps so you want to create as many gaps as possible to give room for fine tuning without redrawing when it comes to the clean pencils. Its like the wiggly lines on the road in London. Gives you a pretty good idea where you should be driving but leaves room just in case a G-wiz is driving by a lorry.

Notice... no backgrounds. Backgrounds are an afterthought for me. I really should stop doing that but I'll work on that in the future.

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More...MOAR!!

 

I'm learning a lot from this Sinope, in particular I might just try a narrow, angled sketching pen! It may improve my driving skills too!

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ROUGH PENCILS

Its tough to know when layout pencils end and rough pencils begin.  I usually do them at the same time and work in a sequence to what I feel like drawing at that moment.  I usually spend the most time with this part because this is my favorite part so this description is going to be really long!.  Actually, I would prefer to not ever draw past this point but I guess all art needs to be "finished".

 

rs05-wip1.jpgI don't have the funds to hire a Letterer however one advantage of this is that I can plan ahead and do the dialogue ahead of time. I put the text and bubbles in but no tails. It usually gives me a rough idea how much space I have to work with and make adjustments to the layout sketch or bubbles. Sometimes if I'm really worried about space for dialogue, I'll do the bubbles first and then draw around them... not the case here. Lots of room to play with.

 

The Rough Pencil

I'm still using the rough pencil at this point. I don't want to get into the trap of drawing detail so I make sure my pencil is fat, rough and loose. I am starting to add more volume and definition to the figures. I usually draw muscles in volumes so they are just big bags of meat but pay close attention to how I'm going to eventually draw the joints and connections of major parts of the body. Tendons and indentations come later.

 

Neck/Shoulder/Torso

When it comes to the body I tend to pay close attention to the complex intersection of neck, shoulder and torso. I found that time spent here is worth it. Other than face and hands, I think this is one of the most important part of a girl's body language and I can convey a lot of emotion from the character depending on how you pose this anatomical intersection. She can be sexy or scared or open or in ecstasy or ashamed or happy or angry just by the position and angles of the shoulder and neck.

 

How much Detail

I'm working much harder on the details of the face, hair and fingers at this point. I've always had a problem with hands (and still do) so I find if I just draw the tips of the fingers and thumbs and the hand volumes (the three major muscle masses in the hands) it helps a lot when I go to do clean pencils. Her left hand is just the finger tips and hand volumes. I just draw a JKR style eye now and the nose is just a bubble for position and size. The pupil and nostrils comes later.

 

Cheating!

One cheat I do when digital penciling is with hands.  Especially when it is a hand that is interacting with someone or something, I will make a new layer and then draw the hand in the correct pose on a completely different part of the page at whatever size I feel comfortable with.  I will then select it and then move and scale it to place and then erase anything I do not need.  I will then connect the shoulder to the wrist of the hand with an arm... foreshortening when needed.  Okay... my hands still don't look great but I'm finding it is helping me practice drawing them at the same time without having to worry about the final connection to the body or what the hand is grasping.

 

Hair and the Flip Technique

If hair is a big, I'll draw the character with a bald head first and then on another layer do the entire "hair hat" in a different color (Sienna in this case). The trick I learned from Enigma Wing is to flip the drawing (look in a mirror or turn page upside down for analogue art) at this stage to check it for oddness (I have"Flip horizontal" quick mapped so I can do it quickly and often). I thought this was a "me" thing but for some reason our eyes do not see symmetry very well. Once I flip it around I will always notice something strange to correct. Its strange because when I flip it back, it doesn't look like anything has changed... but others who are not looking at the art through my brain will!

 

Finishing up the Roughs

I'll then erase parts of the head that are covered by the hair and then parts of the hair that are hidden by the body and voila! One thing that I don't erase is the eyes and eyebrows. I may want to keep them or move the hair later so the reader can see them to properly see the character's expression. I may even want to redraw parts of it if they seem out of scale or not "cute" enough. I will keep the hair on a separate layer until I'm ready to ink... just in case.  I'll sometimes spit ball background ideas at this stage.

 

Final Check

Once I'm happy with the roughs I zoom way way out so it is the size of a hockey card (baseball card... pfft whatever). Looking at it like this I will instantly notice proportions and pose problems. One error I usually make is drawing the hands way too small and the heads too big and the hair too flat. Digital drawing to the rescue! Lasso and scale... maybe a little tilt here and there? Cheating? Yes. Time saver? HUGE!

 

On To The Finish Pencils!

A quote from Dean Yeagle... "You have to ruin your drawing a little to finish it". I think he means that everything to me seems perfect at this stage. The brain fills everything that is missing and whatever my brain fills in looks perfect. Anything I draw past this point is super tight and leaving no room for my brain to "fill in with perfection" and it kind of ruins the drawing but it is something I have to live with. Tight pencils and inking may ruin it but colors and shading usually bring it back to life.

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More...MOAR!!

 

I'm learning a lot from this Sinope, in particular I might just try a narrow, angled sketching pen! It may improve my driving skills too!

That's great Vibor.  I still have a lot to learn too but I'm finding if I document or analyze what I am doing it seems to make my brain do things with intention and logic rather than "using the force" to move my hand.  lol.

 

I think Jab used to use the pencil in Painter which is amazing.  I can't seem to replicate it in MangaStudio but I made something close I think.  I put it in our Dropbox (graveyard of unfinished projects!).  Rough.sut.  Click on any pencil subtool and right click. Import Subtool then select the .sut file.

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CLEAN PENCILS

I have a love hate relationship with clean pencils.  I would prefer just to start inking but I'm I found that my inks usually look much better if I clean pencil first.  It is really just going over the entire drawing again and picking and choosing what parts to draw and adding details to parts that need it.

rs05-wip2.jpgBasically, I'm going over the entire drawing and defining the lines that need to be inked. I don't want to leave much room for guess work because when I ink I'm following the lines closely. I imagine in a professional team environment my clean pencils need to be better as inkers (I hear) need to know line weights also but since I self ink, I'll figure that out later.

 

Pupils and hair lines are fully defined. Folds in skin as well as shadow lines in muscles are figured out. I decide where the folds in clothing are defined (This is a weak part of my art too... can't wait for them to get naked!). If you look at the difference between Uncle Bob's bicep, most of it isn't drawn and just some edges to define its shape. Same with Little Lorna's Left boob.

 

Since her Bikini was form fitting, I didn't draw it in the roughs and made some decisions as to how the bikini was going to sit on her at this stage. Not really the correct or regular way I do things but that is what I ended up doing this time. I decided on a nip slip here because there will be plenty of nudity in the coming pages and I wanted to work up to it. Sort of like foreplay for the reader.

 

I also noticed that I didn't clean pencil the background. I usually would but I'm probably going to digitally paint it without lines and then blur it so no one notices how bad it is. LOL!

 

I really have to pay attention to the character's eyes and mouth here. There are a lot of things that can suddenly change what I intended their expressions to be from little changes like angle of the eye lashes and size and shape of the mouth. Because of the angle of her head, I also decided to draw the eyes and brows even though they should be obscured by her hair. To make this not look too strange, I also took the line of her face and extended it up a little bit into the hair. Oh... the hair in the rough pencils are still on their own layer here. I still constantly flip it and scale it and push it here and there to get it sitting right.

 

Okay. On to my second least favorite part is inking...

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Very interesting information Sinope!  I cannot draw worth a lick but this is terrific to read/see the process you go through creating a drawing.

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Very interesting information Sinope!  I cannot draw worth a lick but this is terrific to read/see the process you go through creating a drawing.

I'm glad you are enjoying this little diary or page 6. Every time is a little different but the steps are pretty much the same. Hopefully I'll post some more regarding tricks to drawing anatomy because this is a little advanced. I always wanted to do a how-to-draw-cute-girl's. But I think I'll lead more people astray with my bad habits! Lol.

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These are great Sinope! Your method and mine are very similar, it's good to see that I'm either doing it right, or we're both doing it wrong! Haha!

 

I will check out that brush you've sent to me...Though my heart sank a bit at the "graveyard of unfinished projects"...if it weren't for the consistent weeks of 40+ degree heat we're having here at the moment, I'd be drawing all kinds of stuff!

 

I may have to change my waking habits to take advantage of the cooler nights and get SG back on track for you!

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Haha. Yeah. Let's go with that. Method is such a fluid thing anyways. I attack different panels differently.

 

If Aussies didn't have to be difficult and have winter in January, you wouldn't have that problem! :P. I'm glad to hear you guys don't believe in air conditioning. Central air is for the weak!

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INKING

Here's where the rubber meets the road.  I usually won't ink and sketch in the same sitting.  It gives me time to walk away and then come back with some fresh eyes... and also procrastination.  I will usually start sketching the next page before I ink the previous one.

rs05-wip4.jpgNot a lot to say about this. I have my inking pen set so that there is a gentle pressure sensitivity curve in MangaStudio so that it is easy to get a nice look to the brush strokes. I also do not have any anti-aliasing on the brush and it is all in hard pixels. I get much better flats this way especially with MangaStudio's special bucket fill brushes. Everything is on one layer but sometimes when need to draw flowing lines (like the lines in her hair) I will put it on a new layer and then erase the unwanted pixels afterwards.

 

One problem with drawing in pixels is that if you need to scale or rotate, you will need to set the "Transform" tool to not smooth out the result. You need to set it at "Hard Outline" which sometimes creates rough lines.

 

I try to ink the outlines of the characters with a thick line and maybe somethings that stick out like boobs or noses.

 

On the face, I tend to make sure the line is thin where the eye is then thick at the cheek and then thin around the chin. For small strokes, I try to make them look like a half moon (see Little Lorna's arm pit). I like the look of this kind of stroke.

 

I only use one pen for the characters. When I am inking props such as tables and cola cans, I will sometimes use a fixed width pen. Thick for the outline and then thin for the details.

 

I set MangaStudio to have the inking brush and the fill bucket on the same shortcut key. That way, I can quickly switch between the two while I draw. MangaStudio has a unique feature that you can do a quick too switch by holding down the key and using it without changing the tool. When you release the shortcut key it will revert back to what you were using. It is very helpful when using a brush to outline of a black area then quick switching to the bucket to fill it and continue inking with the brush when you release the shortcut.

 

Sometimes for the pupils I will use the oval tool to get nice perfectly round pupils. More important in close ups of the face. The sparkle in the eyes I will sometimes use an airbrush to get a softer look.

 

I tend to also use the "rotate" tool while inking but not so much when sketching. Sometimes a long flowing line needs the canvas at a particular angle to get it right.

Full resolution of inking.  2700px by 3700 px at 600dpi.  All hard pixels!

rs05-wip3.png

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FLATS IN MANGA STUDIO/CLIP PAINT STUDIO

MangaStudio has really good tools for doing flats.  This software is worth it just for that!

 

rs05-wip5a.jpgThe reason I ink in pixels is so that when I do the flats, there aren't any ghosty whites around the ink lines. This happens because a soft ink pen will create grey areas around it to simulate smoothness and you have to mess around with the "Color Margin" quite a bit to get rid of them.

 

First step is to change the background "Paper layer" to a bright florescent green. It makes doing the flats much easier. You can tell parts you are missing much easier then using a transparent or white canvas.

 

MangaStudio also has a feature called "Area Scaling". It is an adjustable option where you can tell it to fill beyond the bounds by that number of pixels.  It also has another unique fill bucket called "All layers".  It will basically treat the image as a flat image and when you use the bucket tool, it will draw on that layer only.  I hide the pencils and just have the inks showing.  I choose a new layer underneath it and then just tap tap tap the areas! If there are a bunch of areas you need filled you can also drag the bucket across them and it will fill as you go.

 

Another awesome feature of MangaStudio's bucket brush is called "Close Gap".  When you ink, you sometimes do not close an area completely and when you bucket fill it it you will end up filling the entire canvas with your color.  Super annoying!  Then... you you have try to hunt down that one or two pixels you missed and fill them in and try again...and again... and again.  With Close Gap, it will ignore small gaps according to the amount you set.  Huge time saver!  If you still do not understand, look at first image at the very top where the brown ends at the part in her hair.  Then look at the previous post and see that in the second image there is actually a small gap at each side of the ink lines.  MangaStudio ignored the small gap and bridged it on its own.

 

rs05-wip5c.jpgrs05-wip5b.jpgSo after I do my flats, there are usually small spots that didn't get filled. See how they stand out as bright green on the drawing? Now I used to get out the inking brush and then try and dot them in or flood fill it but the chance for making a mistake was too high. I make a new layer and place it underneath and then do the fills. You can basically be as sloppy as you'd like because you are only drawing over the green dots. Then you merge the layers and Voila!

 

In this third image, I made the ink and flats layer a little transparent so you can see the blotches I drew to fill in the ghosties.

 

Also, if you look at the third image you can see what "Area Scaling" does.  You will notice that the brown in Little Lorna's hair is going beyond the edges of the ink lines by a slight bit (about 2-3 pixels).  This doesn't seem too critical but when exporting it or printing it, if it is a hard edge with no overlap you will sometimes get a ghosty around the line especially when working in pixels.

 

I do not do any shades or highlights as I want to keep all of the pixels hard but what I will do is grab my "nipple" color and spray some soft pink on the cheeks, knees, soles of feet, elbows, palms, pussy, tummy and breasts. Someone suggested this a while ago and I kind of like it.

 

rs05-wip5d.jpgOkay! Here's the finished flats! If I was ever to collaborate on art, this is how I like to send them off to them to keep the workload low. Shading and toning is not something I particularly like doing or care to learn and some people just love doing it.

 

I'm not sure what I can say about color choices. I make sure every character has different skin tones, even if it is slight. Because girl's skin is thinner, it should be more pink. Guys have more darker or beige skin. I can make a guy seem more creepy by making his skin more pale. The younger the girl, the more pinker the skin. I like to have the ladies eyebrows fully inked and guys eyebrows toned. I am not particularly good at choosing colors so I stick with colors that I have used in the past.

 

For the background, I just grabbed a stock image on Google Images to get the feel of what I want to do eventually. I will be matte painting that when I tone the drawing.

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I'm glad to hear you guys don't believe in air conditioning. Central air is for the weak!

 

I like to think the people who rely on air conditioning are going to be the first to go when global warming catches up to us... Which is fair, cause they'd be contributing to it ;)

 

Dude! This is a great tutorial! If we didn't work so similarly, I'd be dying to try some of these techniques!

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A moisture wicking compression shirt and pants soaked in water under you clothes will keep you cool all day and doesn't cost a cent!

 

I'm a big proponent of geo-thermal heating and cooling. Mechanically all it involves is a water pump and a fan.

 

I'm glad to see the way I draw may be more the norm. I think the combination of Mangastudio and a pen display really creates a similar workflow then pen and paper.

 

Unless there is too much overlap, I'd like to see a drawing diary from you too. Maybe there are some tricks I can use!

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FINISHING UP!

The last parts of a drawing for me.  After this not much left to do but post it!

rs05-wip6.jpgNormally, I add two layers above the flats and below the inks. One is a layer called "Highlights" and the other is "Shade". The shade layer is set to "Multiply". Sometimes I will draw a sun or light source to give me a visual reference of where the shadows are but for this comic I am not going for shadow accuracy and more for mood and definition.

 

I payed more attention to the shadows of the faces and the shadows cast on the each of the figures. This I figure will help the faces pop a little more and also define the interaction between Uncle Bob and Little Lorna. In other places, I will leave it generally a little flat. I'm using a very light grey on the multiply layer which makes sure that the shadows do not overpower the colors.

 

I have a special white color (The color I named "Harley Face" because it was the color I used to paint Harley Quinn's face) which works well for skin highlights. I make sure that any large area that is one color (such as biceps and boobs) have a little shine on them to break up the monotonous color. Girl lips always get a little shine as well as nipples. If the highlight is too intense, I will rub the soft eraser over the tips a little to soften them up.

 

I made a new layer above the inking layer to draw the cum... er... I mean SUNTAN LOTION. I toned the lines so that it doesn't overpower the inks. I then placed a new layer under it and colored the lotion in. Then, another layer above the lotion line layer and drew white highlights. I then went back and erased bits of the fills with a soft brush. I made sure to only erase the tops of the "drools" and in the middle but staying away from the edges. I then went back to the "Shade" layer and gave the lotion some cast shadows.

 

For the hair shine I have a special technique that I like to do. Sometimes it works amazingly well... sometimes its a little tricky but I ends up giving hair a really good matte shine.

 

Background I tried something new. I took the original placeholder background and took MangaStudio's oil paint brush and painted over the image on another layer. I used the color picker on the original layer and drew on a new layer. Doesn't look fantastic but I think it maybe something I can develop further in future pages. It was extremely quick to do (about 15min work). Procreate on the ipad is supposed to be very good for painting so maybe I'll try that out. The first 23 pages are all outdoors so I'll see if this technique works for indoors too. I'm leaning towards creating a 3D model for their hotel room and using that for a reference instead.

 

Finally, I start adding tails to the word balloons and make any adjustments to the position. I'm constantly rewriting dialogue. I'm sure this page will go through four more text revisions (on top of the five its gone through already!).

 

I export one fully lossless .png in full resolution to a "Prints" folder. This is good just in case I want to grab a section for posting or resizing or printing. I then export another .jpg at 80% compression and scaled down to 30% to an uploads folder to post.

 

Generally at this point, the next page will be already half rough penciled because I work on multiple pages concurrently so on to the next page!

 

Thanks for following along. I want to do another of these another time with tips and tricks to anatomy.

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Excellent! I have really enjoyed this tutorial and look on the inside of producing a drawing! Many thanks and looking forward to future ones!

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