Process and Progress

I’m usually pretty absent minded about actually recording how i get to point A to point B in a drawing. But i did this cover for Zupi Magazine, that i’m really pleased with, and so here is how i make a super detailed drawing. Go behind the cut for secret secrets!

The first i send to a client, are about 3 sketches. The original sketch i just ended up finding downright boring, so i went and redesigned it from the groundup. But the basic idea, of giant monsters fighting within a city scape surrounded by crazy things flying all over, remained.

After finding a photo reference of a Brazilian cityscape, that i enjoyed the composition of (a bit of a cheat, i know), i got my ruler out and figured out how to recreate the perspective in the photograph, and then placed where the largest character would be.

Here, details are added to the largest characters, and this is where i begin really figuring out how the composition will move about, deciding where areas of heavy detail will contrast with more open spots.

These are “finished” pencils for me. If you notice, there are some areas that are either blank or simply indicated with a few lines. No windows, blobby spots for creatures on rooftops, etc. I have a couple of reasons for not drawing those things, the main reason is a pencil can’t draw the lines i need when i get very tiny details. It will just be blurry and too many lines to follow makes inking more difficult. For some detailing, i simply have to figure out as i ink. Windows are different, i dont draw them, to keep the page clean. I dont like seeing too many lines, because i need to decide which lines are most important, and windows can sometimes just be indicated, not completely drawn, if they sit below another element on the page. Also, with the density of my inks, if i tried to match that with pencils, my pages get really grey and ugly.

First inks! I don’t really start anywhere in particular on a page when i ink. Usually the most interesting character to me. Anywho, from here, it spreads out like an inky moss.

INKS FINISHED! This is what gets scanned into the computer, which also decided to be the day where my scanner crapped out. Now, i use an even tinier scanner, and have to piece together even smaller parts of my drawing in Photoshop. I hate this. So much. But hey, it’s gotta get done. The next part is coloring, which is always the most difficult part of any project. Coloring doesn’t come naturally to me, and i still believe i have a lot to learn, but experience is basically the only way to really figure it out. So i must continue. I think the coloring on this piece was pretty nice, so there’s that. Some drawings…i hate the colors, i won’t tell you which ones though.

This is a pretty good display of how i build my colors up. I use a Wacom Cintiq, which is a god send, and really is worth it’s weight in gold. This project would’ve taken quadruple the time, and with worse results without it. I quickly either fill in the largest areas with different colors, that are close to where i’m thinking i want the drawing to go. Buildings, big monsters, background elements, and i try to establish a rudimentary palette. Afterwards, i’ll go in, and make sure they all stay within the lines, and make adjustments to the colors. After that, i go smaller and smaller coloring in the characters. In the lower left corner, you can see i’ve began coloring details where i also began inking details. I guess i just love Blocks-Man (Every character has a name btw)

Here, mostly everything has reached the final color stage. All that is left to do are some highlights and shadows. Playing with opacity of certain colors and color-holds (that’s when the linework isn’t black) are also added at this stage.

This is the FINAL drawing, but that doesn’t mean its FINISHED. From here, the magazine didn’t think the puppysaurus in the lower right hand corner was very distinctive, and asked me to change it. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, and I actually drew the revised finished drawing completely on photoshop. It was the only way to get the same perspective.

And that’s it, the finished final drawing, for Zupi Magazine. It was pretty fun having this much freedom for a cover piece, and i’ve also had an interview for the magazine too. Pop over to their website, and pick up an issue if you like.

Those numbered labels? Thats the key to discovering every character in the piece! Secret Secrets. I might tell you…later.

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