Wednesday, 29 June 2011

WEEK 8 28TH JUNE 2011

This weeks class exercise was inspired by Gene Colan's  blend of the natural and the unnatural.Colan's relaistic style set you up for a more eerie and unsettled feeling when the supernatural  elements were introduced in to the frame. So I thought it would be nice to use an existing setting , in this case St. Martin's church on Coney Street York,  to set the scene for this gargoyle sketch.

It's a good idea to have a camera with you always whether it be on your phone or a small basic digital camera so you can take snap shots of surroundings, whether it be architecture or whatever you think are interesting or that may be useful as reference for future sketches.
One thing to bare in mind when using photography is that if you decide to trace you photographic reference you will have to make sure that whatever you are incorporating into the image , it will have to be drawn to match the existing perspective or camera angle or you will end up with an unconvincing drawing.
Often you will find the best way is to use photography as a reference point only and reproduce it to your own layout. You will find this less restrictive.

This exercise is another quick sketch on coloured paper using a spot colour. This sketch should only take you an hour tops. The ploting stages have been drawn on white paper for the purpose of scanning so you can follow the stages clearly, but if you are using coloured paper, have a go at drawing straight on to the coloured sheet. Alternatively, draw it on white paper and then trace it through onto the coloured sheet.
Step 1.
start by plotting the composition.

It may help to plot this using perspective grid. the vanishing point will be way off the paper, so you may need to tape your sheet to a drawing board or larger sheet of paper to plot the grid, or you can simply guess the perspective.

3.loosely sketch out the architectural detail.

4. Fleah out the shape of the gargoyle

5. mark out the areas to be  shaded  solid black.  In this case a bit of artistic license  has been used because in reality , with the moon directly behind the  gargoyle, the figure would be pretty much a silhoutte.

Now apply the ink. A Fabre-Castell pit artist pen, brush nib was used for this sketch.
A white penci lwas used to mark out the moon.

Inking tips.
If you are using a Fabre-Castell pit artist pen, brush nib, use only light pressure (I used hardly any at all),and drag the nib across the surface of the paper. This  will give you a nice line that will suit the craggy stonework and gargoyle very well. I avoided going for a consistent  smooth line as I felt it would not suit the nature of the drawing, rendering it too technical and precise. If you apply too much pressure to the nib you will end up with thicker line work an may look clumsy. Draw a few practice lines first to test control over pen strokes. The less pressure the finer the line, the more pressure , the heavier the line.
Notice on the short clips below how the pen flows across the paper.
The inking is being applied to a blue line print on coloured paper

here is a nice clip by Carly Lyn using exactly the same pen. This clip is obviously shot with a higher spec camera.

A Copic B29 Ultramarine blue marker was used for the sky.

The moon needed some white in it to  brighten it up and also to create some relief to separate the gargoyle from the sky.

Finally, a pentel correction pen was used for the rain and highlights.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Eugene "Gene" Colan - September 1, 1926 – June 23, 2011

One of my most favourite artists passed away yesterday. Of course I didn't know him  or have any deep personal feelings for him, and he hasn't been producing comic book art the way he did back in the 70's and 80's for a long time,but the fact that he has now gone kind of reminds me how fagile we all are and that our time here on this planet is but the blink of an eye. I myself have been thinking I was bullet proof for a long time and lived as if nothing would affect or kill me, but I have recently realised that that is not the case.
Jack Kirby may have been the one that made me pick up a pencil in the first place , but it was Gene Colan who made me sit up and take notice of what was achievable with a pencil long before I discovered Frazetta.
I was , and always will be drawn to Colan's dark atmospheric tones. Even the daylight seemed to have a darkness to it in some of the stories he drew.  His work is cinematic. In fact I used to get lost in his artwork when reading a story he had illustrated in the same way I would watching a movie. I think it must have been down his figure drawing which seemed kind of classical, that, mixed with the fantastical, it was like getting like watching a crazy sci fi/horror  movie.  I was always a fan of Daredevil as a kid and Colan cemented my loyalty to the character when he took on drawing duties. When Tomb Of Dracula came out I bought and read it purely because Colan had drawn it, and loved every page. Colan was a great at  horror comics.  I casually drifted in and out of Doctor Strange untill Colan  pencilled the title.
Tom Palmer was my fave inker for Colans Work. I think he understood Colan's work the best, as does Scott Williams with Jim Lee's work.
I  don't feel  I am qualified to say any more about the man. Instead, here are some links to blogs  that are more personal.
and of course, wiki
If  any of you reading this are thinking toyourselves, "Who the hell is Gene Colan?", below are some work that to me cements him as one the the best artists of silver age comics, heck, even a now , there are many pro's who don't come near.

I think Gene should have the last word.

R.I.P. Gene Colan

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Week 7 -sci fi quickie

This  post is a little late , sorry about this. This exercise was especially for Orazio, and his love of  retro sci fi, with the subject being  Gay Ellis (Gabrielle Drake) of UFO.

This is another exercise on coloured paper (A4 , in this case) with spot colour. The  drawing should only take about an hour tops.
1. roughly plot out the positions of the figure.

2. Plot the face using the guidelines discussed in class.
The clothing is also loosely  outlined at this stage.

3.The clothing detail is really simple, just a  collection of horizontal lines. Best not to be too painstakingly accurate just quickly sketch them in. Shading has also been added to mark out the areas for solid black

4. A Faber- Castell Pittl artist pen brush nib was used for the inking.
A copic  V09 (VIOLET) marker was used for the hair and lips.
A cool gery 3 was used for the lines on her clothing

Finally, and this is purely down to personal taste, a white outline was used to throw the figure out from the black background

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Witching Hour

I've mentioned my appreciation of the art of DC's Witching Hour in an earlier blog, but I thought it was worth going into a bit more depth (but I'll keep it short so as not to be to long winded)as  they really  do showcase some good artwork.
I read these back in the early 70's. I was drawn to the solid layout and bold illustrations on the cover.
Pictured below are a few of my favorites, all drawn by Nick Cardy. Unfortunately Nick's artwork only appears on the covers. Mostly the interiors are a collection of short stories drawn by different artists such as Lee Elias, George Tuska, Pat Boyette and Edited by Dick Giordano, who most may remember as artist for  DC's titles such as Batman, Superman, and working with Neil Adams in the 70's and 80's.Neil Adams drew some covers and interiors (#10 in particular is very good)  , but  it is Cardy's that stand out  in my opinion.
Unless you want to fork out the usual high prices for  ealry editions of this title, you can get hold of the black and white  paperback collections in DC's Showcase series.
The main reason for showing these covers and interiors is so you can study the composition, lighting and bold ink work. Notice on the opening to What Evil Haunts This House?, how the trees frame the mansion in the back ground, and Alex Toth's punchy art on Welcome To The Witching Wagon. Toth drew most of the intros to the early issues (and possibly the later ones, but I don't have any that I can check up on and the internet isn't abundant with artist info regarding this great DC title. As Always, the covers are excellent , with striking illustration drawing you in. Always using lamps of some kind to draw you attention to the center piece and highlight the danger lurking in the shadows.  Classic stuff! Enjoy.

Saturday, 11 June 2011


I'd like to draw your attention to an excellent magazine called DRAW!, published by Twomorrows Publishing.
You may remember I  have mentioned this publication in class. I highly recommend you check this mag out. It has clearly explained "how-to" examples by professionals on  basic drawing, comic book panels, inking and colouring with Photoshop, plus some must read interviews from top professional artists.
Although most of the magazines I own I bought direct  from Twomorrows, I believe you can now obtain issues from OK Comics in Thornton's Arcade , Leeds LS1 6LQ. 0113 2469366    and possibly Travelling Man, 32 Central Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire. 0113 243 6461  .

These two issues in particular contain material we have been discussing in class.
These scans are from my copies , so any wonkiness is due to my scanning 
and not Twomorrows Publishing

All images reproduced by kind permission of John Morrows /Twomorrows Publishing

Twomorrows also have some other excellent magazines such as Comic Book Artist, Alter Ego
and Jack Kirby Collector, Rough Stuff, and many more.All worth a look. 
If you go to their website  there are some free downloadable issues in pdf format up for grabs.

What are you waiting for?