The 300th Post!

Whoa. Number three hundred? How did that happen? Damn, I hope it's a good post.

My friend Erich (who has an awesome blog himself)(you should email him and tell him that his blog is awesome and that he should post more often)(seriously)(and compare him to me and tell him, "Jesse's at like post number 300")(no don't do that)(I mean do that)(no really don't)(DO IT!)... anyway, my friend Erich said:

"I really like the process pics. I think people really enjoy seeing how their preferred artists work. It gives them a sense of being a part of the thing."

And I don't know if I'm too many people's preferred artist, but here come some process pics.

Currently what I am working on is a story called Cold Wind which was written by my friend Dan Mazur. He originally submitted it for a horror comic anthology which I am editing called Hellbound. I rejected it because it wasn't really a horror story. Then I told him I'd like to draw it. And Dan was like, "I don't know whether I'm coming or going with you. You reject me. Then you pull me back."

And I was like, "It's just the rules of the game, baby."

So the process really starts with Dan's script. He didn't break it out into pages or panels, so there is a lot of leeway in terms of what happens on a page. The white area is the page I'm going to draw.

Next comes a rough sketch in my sketchbook. Depending on how awesome I am that day, this can go really quickly or really slowly. If I'm particularly awesome, I'll come up with something I like rather quickly. If my personal awesomeness is at low-tide, it will take forever. I'll draw and redraw, erase, draw, erase, doubt myself and every decision I have made in the last few years, and eventually decide to put on my headphones and go for a run because at least I can manage to put one foot in front of the other in a semi-competent manner most of the time.

Once the page is laid out, I'll do a little bit of visual research. The characters being machine gun toting wolf guards, I look up wolves, Nazi uniforms, and machine guns on the internet. Mainly, I look for photographs, but occasionally I'll look for some comic book references to see how other people have done something. In this case, I took a look at my friend Dirk's drawings (yeah, that's a signed page by him)(no I didn't look it up on the internet)(it's in my library)(it's awesome).

I always love looking up guns because it brings me to such interesting websites created by people who scare me.

Personally, I'm never really sure how useful much of the stuff I look up online is. It often feels like justified procrastinating. Did I really need to look up Nazi uniforms? This not being historical fiction there is no need for accuracy. I probably could have figured an intimidating guard uniform out on my own. I also definitely find myself getting a little off track and looking at things that have no relevance whatsoever.

Procrastination completed, I start doing some sketches of the wolves and one reference sketch of the guns that they will be carrying. Because these characters are only appearing on this page and one panel of the next, I don't sweat it too much. If they were main characters I would do more practice drawings (that's a lie)(I'm the worst)(I never do enough character studies)(I just make a lot of it up as I go and hope for the best).

Then I take out the 11x17 bristol board and get to work. I'll do the panel borders in blue first. Then, using a 3h graphite pencil I lightly draw in the contents of the panels. Basically, this is just to come up with the idea of where the perspective points should be. I don't use blue pencil for this because I don't think I draw as well with a blue pencil (I have also yet to find a blue pencil that erases well)(and I need to erase a lot)(my awesomeness is not immediate)(it only comes after lots of refinement)(I'm super jealous of people who are awesome right out of the box).

Once I've figured out where the perspective points are I'll use the blue pencil to draw all the perspective lines. For perspective points that are far off the page I'll just tape a piece of copier paper to the back of the page like a wing and put the perspective point on that. I do this because I really don't like taping pages down to my drawing board.

The perspective lines are just guide lines that won't actually appear on the finished page. When I ink, I don't use a ruler at all, so this may seem like a lot of work for nothing, but I find that having the perspective lines there underneath just makes the drawing tighter even if the final lines are not perfectly straight. Individuals lines are off, but everything is in the right place.

After that (what a ridiculous process!)(the only thing worse than someone sitting down and doing this would be somebody taking the time to break down the process bit by boring bit)(where are the dancing superheroes??)(damn it!), I do finished pencils with a mechanical pencil (in this case, a cheapo Bic #2 from CVS)(cause I can't find my good one)(cause somebody came into my house and stole it I bet).

And that's it until the inking... which I think I'll get to next week.

Also, everyone should check out my friend Patrick's blog. He's doing some awesome stuff about his coming baby.

And this guy isn't my friend, but I wish he was.


len said…
Very cool and useful to see, Jesse. Thanks!