Thursday, 24 May 2012

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

WEEK # 5 :22ND MAY 2012 - LIGHTING

This week we looked at lighting, the use of large solid areas of black and it's dramatic affect on an illustration.
Here's a  small selection of those images we discussed  in class.

Dramatic low lit  awesomeness from Bruce Timm.
All shadow placement  is consistent with the angle of light source. If there is any artistic license taken with the lighting , I'm having trouble seeing it.

The three powerful images above prove just how masterful Frank Miller is  when it comes to lighting.
Although you could argue that Miller was influenced by Jim Steranko's work (and maybe he was - if anyone wants to validate that statement, please do), Miller took  classic noir lighting to a new level and created a new (often mimicked) style of his own.
By strategically placing just enough lighting to identify the shapes, Miller could afford to loose vast quantities of detail (that he would have had to have  drawn - there are no short cuts in creating these images even if they do look minimalist) into the black abyss.

Three  images from Jim Steranko's Red Tide
Study and learn from Steranko's attention to detail and use of lighting.

Back in 2011 I blogged about lighting and it's use in defining muscle and body form., you can check it out here

Here is a recap of the  simple exercise we covered in class. Have fun playing around with the lighting.
Here's a rough construction of the pose.

I quickly blasted  on some ink  using a copic multiliner brush pen.
Remember  what I said in class about practising with your lighting. Don't spend loads of time creating a masterpiece  for you to practice throwing shadow on to.  These are practice sessions and mistakes will be made. Just get the basic shapes down (see the Jim Lee rough sketch at the bottom ).

Here I have roughly placed some mid tone shadow so you can still see the line work.
Notice how the shadows give extra form and lift the contours of the muscles.

Here  the shadows have been adjusted  to solid black.

Here the image is set against a black background so that areas of the figure that are in shadow disappear into the background.

Here is a sketch by Jim Lee. Notice the shading has been applied with quick loose brush strokes.

Just for practice , produce some quick, rough  sketches and using a chisel edged marker, slap on some slabs of shadow that reflect your chosen light source.
If you're stuck for ideas, below are some poses you could try.
Have fun!

Sunday, 13 May 2012


Sorry for the delay in posting these updates, work schedule and a week of ill health got in the way.
To start with I will give a brief listing of some of the materials I mentioned in class. All these products can be found at 
Artifolk is a great online store and almost unbeatable in price and quality of products
and here
I get most of my pens from Cult Pens. Because they specialise in pens they tend to stck more types of pen and marker than Artifolk. 
There are other online art stores but these two are my favourites. 
For those of you who prefer to visit a local store, I can recommend  Hobbicraft at Crown Point Center, Leeds,  and there is a new shop opened in the Merrion Cenre in Leeds, .
If you can manage the track to Ilkley, The Art Shop, is another good store to visit. It's situated near the main car park by the main shopping area.
They also have a website

I recommend you used decent quality pencils , they don't cost the earth. If you buy cheap, budget brands it's likely that you will not be satisfied with the results. I tend to use Derwents,Wolffs, Faber Castell and Staedtler. 

Don't scrimp on erasers either. Cheap erasers will totally mess up your artwork. I recommend  Winsor and Newton putty rubbers and Staedtler plastic eraser.

Lot of my pencil work involves blending the lead to give a smooth area of tone or to create clouds of smoke or other effects. To create these effects I use both tissue paper wrapped around my index finger or a blending stump (fig4). Tissue paper can give a softer gentler blend over a larger surface and stumps are very good for smaller areas  and detail work. Although I have seen many artists use a stump for large areas too.

There are a lot of pens on the market and I guess it comes down to giving them a try to find which ones suit you best.

Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens and Copic Multiliners are the brands I tend to use for inking (and sometimes a brush) and although I try out other brands and experiment with other tools, these are the pens that I feel most comfortable working with.

Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens come in a variety of nib thicknesses 
XS=Extra superfine, S=Superfine, F=Fine, M=Medium and B= Brush.
They also produce a Big Brush which carries their heaviest nib which is a bit like using a No.8 brush.
My personal favourite is the B nib.

The good thing about Copic Multiliners, is that unlike the Faber-Castell pen, you can refill them with ink cartridges and also replace the nibs. These pens are available in a number of nib thicknesses ranging from 0.03-0.7 to brush. The Copic Multiliner is more of a technical pen than the Faber-Castell. Another plus with the multiliner is that your line work does not smudge or smear when coloured using Copic Colour Markers or watercolours.


I use markers for quite a lot of my colouring as the colours are nice and vibrant and can be manipulated by using a blender fluid. There are a number of brands of marker available but by far the most popular are the Letraset Tria and the Copic Marker.
When Letraset was in partnership with Pantone, their marker products were excellent and highly popular, but since Pantone and Letraset parted company the Letraset marker, in my opinion, has dropped in quality and I now use Copic as my number one choice of colour marker.

Although each marker only has two nibs as opposed to the Tria marker,which has three it comes in a range of three pens – the Classic marker with a wide chisel and fine nib,
the Sketch  with small chisel and brush nib, and the Ciao which has a super brush nib and a medium broad chisel nib.
All Copic markers are refillable with bottles of Copic ink and all nibs are replaceable as well. The reason I prefer Copic to Tria is that I have found the nibs to be more durable and they can hold the ink for longer. 

So,  to recap on week 1, in which we focused on figure drawing, here are some  images that should refresh your memory about what was discussed.
For those of you who are still getting used to drawing the proportions correctly, try using the simply stick figure to capture the pose  limb proportions.

Then try  the tried and tested method adding form  by using  cylinders and ovals.

One you have familiarised yourself with the proportions of limbs etc, try some  loosely figure sketching, employing a light scribbly method , try to avoid heavy pressure with your pencil.

Here are some really nice loose figure sketches by other professional artists.
Aloose production sketch from The Powers (above) by Michael Avon Oeming

Claire Wendling  captures the movement and mood of cats (and other animals for that matter) like no one else.

The last word on figure drawing - Frank Frazetta

When studying other artist's work, try to rigure the layout and composition.
Often the best art uses the simplest layouts Frazetta is well known for his  triangular/pyramid balanced compositions as well as  using circles to frame the main point of interest. The image shown below has both.

Narrative can usually be found in most good fantasy art, even in a solitary figure drawing. The two Frazetta sketches below  are good examples.
 The figure above is poised for action. Is he hunting, creeping up on his prey, or is he approaching  an challenging adversary? You cannot look at this drawing it not suggest anything to you.

A woman does not lie on a bed, sofa or floor in this position  if she is the only person in the room unless she's practicing her powers of seduction, in which case there's narrative in that too.

Here's a couple of good examples from Richard.

Here are the last stages of where we are at  with the current exercises.

Thursday, 10 May 2012


This really should be a class outing. I will be making plans to go. Is anyone else interested?
Ok, so, it's not his original paintings but I am guessing that these prints will be first rate and reproducing Frazetta's work a close as possible and at a decent size , bigger than you'd find  in any book.