Monday, October 24, 2011

Rework: Page 8

I started drawing the Little Knight book over 19 months ago and it's very encouraging the amount of improvement I've seen in myself. I've been drawing day in and day out at work for years already, but drawing for yourself in one consistent style all the time you figure out more about that style.

When I started this project the idea was to do it in a more simple style but at first the concept of simple threw me. I had only drawn most of these characters a few times and only a dozen or so illustrations in this style. Now I'm almost 150 pages into the comic and I not only better understand the style, but also what I want from my characters and my drawings.

At first simple meant less anatomy, bolder lines and shapes with the idea to sell the story with character design and solid storytelling and avoiding over rendering things, a concern of mine. 

The above panels show a page from the first week of drawing the book. I remember I even wrestled with the full figure of Odric. He's marching towards his enemy, angrily calling him out. I remember not being 100% about the final but didn't want to waste time and kept moving forward. 

I saw this page recently, and as a reward for working hard I allowed myself to spend some time redoing the figures. (Yes, I reward my work with more work because fun is fun.) When I tell people I plan on redoing a lot of the figures from the first 20 or so pages of the book I often get warned about falling into that trap. Redoing pages can keep things from ever getting done and can become a never ending process. I've seen this happen and have done it before myself. 

 Now ask any artist and they'd probably be willing to redo many pages they've done before. I've seen lots of comics where the creator gets a better handle of drawing his characters and I like seeing that evolution. Look at early Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts or Usagi Yojimbo. It's not wildly different but you can tell they're still getting a handle on it. However, with all I have learned about drawing my characters and my style, and with the idea of keeping things consistent for the final product, I still plan on touching up my characters in the early pages. It won't even be too time consuming because I did the inks digitally

Here's the new version of the two panels from Page 8 that I redrew on Friday. I think it's much more bold and powerful. There is much more implied anatomy and shape to the figure. Plus it's just a more interesting drawing. Same with the eyes. I didn't feel like I needed to redraw that panel, but I wanted to see how much better it would look if I did. It took about half the time as it did the first time, probably 15 minutes, and I think it's a major improvement too. 

Still a simple style but instead I am using the simplicity to my benefit. Implied anatomy gives the figure more shape and more bulk, and the expression is more exaggerated and interesting. Both add to the character and the storytelling so it's win/win.

If you enlarge the pictures on Blogspot you can toggle between the two and see the differences. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

"What in the Kings name is this!?"

'Little Knight and the Scimitar of Sages'
Pg 137

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Set Design - The Swamp

Here is the set for a scene in 'Little Knight' I designed. I did it in photoshop layers so I could see behind the foreground elements for future reference.

I added notes to block out the scene on their own layer too. When I lay it out into comic pages the action might change and you might not even get to see everything I added in this drawing but it's a concept drawing. I try to get a lot of ideas out there, even if I don't use them all, or just hint at them, I want to know whats going on in my location. 

The best is sometimes after you design a set you see some fun places to take an action scene or a cool shot you can use. It's fun to explore a made up place. 

And here's the frog fisherman that I decided is actually a toad.

Designing a nature set can be really fun because of all the organic shapes. When designing a tree you just throw down a few lines and let them go where they may. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Character Design - Handsome Cap'n Jon Fathom

Handsome Jon Fathom, Captain of The Mermaids Booty. Just a little character design for something coming down the pipe line. I really love doing character design, and I love making character sheets in Photoshop where I can make different layers with coats and hats and other accessories.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tree of Orna

The last few weeks I've been designing this set piece for Little Knight. I was excited about this idea when I wrote it in the script but was good and didn't do any design work until I got to it. Turns out it was a good idea to wait, because designing something new always invigorates my creativity. 
Outside view of the Tree of Orna, a mysterious giant tree in the middle of a clearing in the dangerous woods.

Citizens of the Tree of Orna

Early pencil sketch of the ground floor, and the first time I came up with the idea of having a source of water inside the tree. I wanted winding stairs and pathways that go up the inside of the tree to look like a vertical city block or something.

 The power and light source for the village is the glowing Orb of Orna at the top of the tree. It is also the source of the water, and is just above the homes of the Ornans that go into the branches. The idea of the water being more than a decorative thing started to come to mind here.

Cutaway of the Tree to show the pencils of the finalized designs. You can see here now the water goes a long the center, and also acts like a magical elevator for the Ornan's. I love drawing an entire place with people who are just living their lives, their little shops and homes, and the way their village works (magic).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Udon's Megaman Tribute

Hey everybody! My Megaman illustration was picked to be in the Udon Megaman Tribute Book! I am super excited to get the book, and it comes out soon and isn't hard to get. The book is premiering at the San Diego Comic-con at the UDON booth (#5037), July 20-24 and for fans not attending the show, you can preorder the book at If you want to get the standard softcover edition, it is available to preorder now at

When I was a kid I used to draw Megaman a lot so I've always been a fan of the original design for him. He has a simple design, but I like how effective a solid simple character design can be. Plus he has a great cast of side characters and villains to draw. 

Even though I wanted to draw as many bad guys as possible, I also didn't want to do the standard Megaman fighting a giant robot/many robots bosses. I figured a lot of people would have covered that and probably really well. I was right. But this way I still got to draw a lot of different Megaman things and I thought it was a fun idea. 

This book is going to be cool. I'd be excited to get it even if I wasn't in it, so if you're a fan of Megaman, or good illustration check it out. You can find a lot of other pieces that are in the book online on DeviantArt or on Rampaged Reality.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Manticore Pencils

Two panels of pencils I was proud of the day after I drew them.

I worry that I will post stuff and it will spoil the story for readers, but I've realized lately that most people won't remember all this stuff and it probably won't spoil the story for anyone to see a few panels I drew and wanted to share. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rocket Raccoon and Groot

Here's is Rocket Racoon, a sentient raccoon who likes to use "unfeasibly big guns".  He stands atop Groot, a sentient tree who can only say "I AM GROOT!" Plus it all takes place in SPACE! 

I've been wanting to draw Rocket Raccoon since I started reading "Guardians of the Galaxy," a great book from Marvel Comics. Recently there's been a series of backups called "Rocket Raccoon & Groot" which is a great idea and inspired me to finally draw Rocket. 

Since I was a kid I've wanted to draw a Rocket Raccoon comic, and while drawing it was fun to day dream what comic this was a cover to.

"Rocket Raccoon has a full life as one of the most decorated veterans of the Guardians of the Galaxy, so the last thing he needs is to be saddled with a rookie partner, Groot, a sentient tree recently freed from the evil Thanos. Training someone will be hard through the rumbles of an impending war, but Rocket is up to the task in this buddy-cop style adventure from Marvel's all ages line."

That book would write itself! Marvel does a good job with it's all-ages books, and their all ages Thor book was on of my favorite comics of last year.

Here is all the process of the drawing that started out as a sketch just for fun. 

And a version  that I almost like better with Rocket's original color scheme from the 80's. I feel like it pops him out a little more.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Process for Junkies

Page 93 Panel 2
First step would be the script, but I don't script it shot by shot. I wrote a script that had everything there but it wasn't blocked out. The fun thing about this process for me is I get to flesh it out more in the visual stage instead of try and make those decisions before I know what the staging and setting looks like.

But to sum up this shot in words, our hero Odric leaves his squire Kolby, now safe in the woods, to attend to Alistair and get him to cover while the dragon is still choking.

This was drawn really small as a thumbnail (between the black lines there is an inch on the original). I liked this as soon as I thought of it, because of the scale. I am really enjoying using scale to my advantage on these dragon attack pages. 
Next I enlarged it for my pencils.

I liked the idea for this panel in the roughs, but when I finished the pencils I liked it even more. Odric doesn't have superhuman speed, but he is quick. I really like drawing people running and having the dirt or sand kick up like manga and anime. It also makes him look like he's booking it so it helps in that way too.

I also decided to add the Sound Effect coming out of the dragons mouth to show he's still coughing. I like that it looks molten like the dragons actually coughing it up, so it was fun to keep drawing that stuff.

Feel free to ask questions in my comments and I will address them.

To Be Continued...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy Birthday to me, I drew me a picture!

I drew me a picture or my favorite knight, Odric. Thanks me, you're so handsome. Happy 30th Birthday!
(actually this is a panel from the comic recolored and the sword added, but whatever, its the thought that counts)