Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fitness is good

Nagato Yuki knows that taking care of your body is important for your health ;) She prefers yoga it seems ;) Hope you like :) Complete pic will be posted in the next days on my Deviantart page :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fantasy Frontier Archive 1 storyboard

Here is a storyboard page, containing the first two pages of Fantasy frontier Archive 1, freely available on Fantasy Frontier website :) It often happens I start the storyboard (rough, thumbnail version of the comic pages) as more detailed, to go down to very sketchy rough figures after 3-4 pages XD Storyboards are useful to have a clear idea on how the page will be composed, and it's the first test to se eif the page works or something need to be fixed. Compare the storyboard to the finished page if you like:


Sunday, December 2, 2012

about Graphic Tablets

I'm often asked about what tools I use for drawing, most times about the graphic tablet in particular. Thus here I can talk about some graphic tablets models I tried and use.

First off, this is the one I use:

It's a Wacon Intuos 4 small. This isn't the latest Intuos product line model, so it misses the multitouch surface that Intuos 5 models have. It's a very good tablet, and the work area is large enough for me, but the tablet size needs some more words. Intuos comes in three sizes (the size refers to the active area where the pen works): small (6.2" x 3.9" = 157 x 98 mm), medium (8.8" x 5.5"= 224 x 140 mm) and large (12.8" x 8.0" = 325 x 203 mm. Actually I just discovered they released an extra-large version:18.2" x 12.0" = 462 x 304.8 mm wich comes without multitouch surface. Now, here it's not necessarly the bigger the better, so the size choice depends on your needs: a bigger tablet means a bigger area, a bigger area means a bigger movement for your arm, getting you tired sooner. I made it a bit too simple but it's something to consider :) Drawing with these graphic tablets means you'll look at the monitor (zooming in and such) while you move the pen on the tablet. It's of course different than drawing directly looking at the paper. So consider that most people can do wonderful drawings just using the smaller tablet :) In fact Wacom has a whole line of "small"sized tablets, called Bamboo:
The Bamboo line is very good; I tried both the multitouch version and the "simpler" pen & tablet only version. The multitouch could be useful if you're used to iPad and tablets like touch inputs, like zooming or rotating, but it's not really essential imho. In short, these are the differencies among the various models:
Bamboo Connect and Bamboo Splash: active area = 5.8" x 3.6" No multitouch, so this is the sinmpler graphic tablet, yet a very good one. Fron what I've seen, the two models differs for the included software, as the Splash model includes more drawing/painting oriented software likethe excellent ArtRage Studio.
Bamboo Capture: active area = 5.8" x 3.6"Multitouch surface. Excellent one if you want the touch feature too.
Bamboo Create: active area = 8.5" x 5.4" Way bigger area and multitouch feature :)

More infos on Wacom site: www.wacom.com

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween (part 2)

Sequel of the previous halloween pic :) The finished piece can be seen on my site or on my twitter :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween 2012 (1)

 Halloween is cming and Elvina and Serena couldn't wait to dress up:


C'mon, are they SO scary? ;)
Chcek my twitter on the right side bar, to see the fully colore pic :)




Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fantasy Frontier old pencil page

Chapter 6 pencil page :) I still like the chibi Syrielle on the bottom right panel^_^

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

[BookReview] DC Comics guide to digitally drawing comics

This time we focus more on digital techniques, with this very nice book, part of an interesting series of how to draw books directly related to comics. The DC Comics guide to books focus each one on single aspects of comics making, from writing to penciling to inking, coloring and what not. I'll try to review most of them but I'd like to start with a book that could be very interesting for comic artists in general, not only superhero comics ones, but also manga styled artists and what not. In general it's an excellent book for whoever wanna make full use of digital techniques when creating his illustrated story:

Freddie E Williams II, DC Comics guide to digitally drawing comics, 144 pages

The author (whose art basically fill the whole book) was already known to me for his work on one of the volumes of the excellent Maxiseries Seven Soldiers of Victory, wich was the story of seven heroes that should manage to save the world without meeting, quite a crazy incipit that lead to seven volumes, one for each hero, with very different style and story mood depending on every volume. It was interesting to read again his Mister Miracle (that's the name of one of the aforementioned heroes) now that I know how I know how he did many of the backgrounds and special effects, as everything is well explained in this DC Comics guide manual.

The artist starts presenting what could be the best proa of working entirely in digital and, why not, the possible cons, presenting also hybrid workflows, like theone I use most: traditional, hand-made inking with scanning and digital edits/coloring. While everything is well explained there, I think it's not bad if you have a good knowledge of Photoshop basic tools and menus. Needless to say, digital techniques make strong use of softwares, and Photoshop is most notably one of the most used ones for digital editing.

The book is full of nice tips and tricks for how to speed up your work making the best form the digital tools you're using. Among the nice techniques listed there, the ones about backgrounds really are my favs, allowing you to create awesome city landscapes like the one in the book cover.mostly created using Photoshop and Google Sketch-Up (a free 3D software, famous for being the one most used to create Google Earth 3D buildings and for being quite easy to use). The book definetly gives you what the title says, and covers nicely the whole field of digital comics to the present tools and techniques. It's a book useful even for just making standalone illustrations, but assume a big part of the book is really about making comics (for example ia whole chapter is about how to handle a comic page workflow with digital tools, from when you get a script for a page, to the finished comic page ready to be sent to the colorist and the letterer). So judge yourself if you may need to check this book, but assume is a very nice reading, full of useful tips you'll use in any kind of comic you may like to create and even in illustrations if you decide to go for digital inking techniques.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Another old commisison

Another old black/white commission, this time featuring a mix of the commissioner's original characters and at leats one of my OC (Elvina) :) Here is the sketch:

And here is the finished pic:


Monday, September 24, 2012

Empowered

Empowered is always fun to sketch^_^ Just in case you don't know, she's the not-so-heroic-but-she-tries-her-best heroine of Empowered comic series, drawn in a very personal manga style by Adam Warren :)

Here is latest issue:

Wich features a lot of the cute  Ninjette too :3 Also, another way to read this series is the very nice Dark Horse Digital. You can purchase digital versions of most comics in  Dark Horse catalogue, at a cheaper price than the paper version (as the print costs are cut from the digital version I suppose!) and read it on your computer or on your tablet/phone/wathever. Here is the link: Dark Horse Digital
Hope these infos help a bit^_^

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sketchy sketches :)

Some old sketches :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Old commission

An old commission (around an year ago?) wich I enjoyed a lot doing. Here is the first sketch:
 It had lot fo characters and I had lot of freedom in the layout composition. The characters were the commissioner's original characters. Here is the clean inked lineart:
I usually color the background first because it helps me setting the mood for the lights when will come to sgade the characters. I this case I applied a color around the characters area to isolate such area and focus on the background coloring:
Then comes the time to apply flat colors to the characters. Actually this phase could be done earlier as well, but as I said I wanted to have the background ready before working on the characters:
Anf finally the characters are shaded, some effects and small fixes are applied, and the pic is done:
 Hope you like :)


Friday, September 7, 2012

[News] Broken Sword- The Serpent Curse game

Just very glad that the Broken Sword Kickstarted campaign went well and they're going to produce this new adventure game :) Check out their Kickstarted page to see if you wanna contribute to get the game along with some extras as well :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

AfterLand Extra Sketch

The dog samurai Soukou seems to have an hard time with ninja cat Akisu and squid ambassador Sathathia! A sketch directly form AfterLand Extra issue, the digital comic DiD/tickling furry series I co-created and drawn :) The Extra issue features a sequence of illustrations, differently form the standrd issues wich are normal comic book issues :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

FFArtbook summer pic

The uncolored lineart from Fantasy Frontier Artbook, a summer themed pinup page :) Rui doesn't seem so happy about the very hot day, while the others are busier with beach activities :) Hope you're having a nice summer!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Crystal design

Crystal is one of my fav Karyu's design; she's suppsoed to be a villainess but I find her cute XD In this old sketch,I was trying to redesign her outfit and add some weapon XD The weapon was inspired by something similar I saw in last order manga, if I'm not wrong :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

old stuff :)

An old black and white commission :) Sketch:

Clean pencils:



Friday, August 10, 2012

Cowgirl Nadia sketch

Quick design sketch (with color test) for Nadia in a cowgirl outfit XD Still not sure if it will be for a new project or...just for fun :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Queens and Catgirls

Queen Sheila wants more wine! XD Natalia, owner of the Buon Viaggio Inn, is not so convinced but happy to follow the elf queen request ;)
From Fantasy frontier Second chapter 9 :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sunny day

An old commission from the rough sketch...

...to a clean lineart ready to be colored:

And the colored pic :) It was fun

It was nice to use a mix of inked lines (for the characters) and pencil lines (the background) to make the pic look a bit more like an anime illustration :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fantasy Frontier Second chapter 9

Run princess, run!
The final chapter for Fantasy Frontier Second storyarc has been released :D

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fantasy Frontier Secon 9 coming soon

Fantasy Frontier Second final chapter coming soon :) Seems like Elvina's world has become...weirder now that the chaos spirit is around ;)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Chibi FF characters

Step by step from early sketching to inking to coloring, for a Fantasy Frontier "chibi" characters pic :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mysidia snooping around

Will Mysidia find what she looks for...or some troubles awaiting her?!? :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

FF old page sketch

This was form Fantasy Frontier chapter 9 :) Right now FFSecond chapter 9 is in production so...phew, some time has passed :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

[Software Review] Manga Studio Debut 4


This software I tried in the form of a free 30 days trial demo was a real surprise. Despite the name, it's not just for making manga, but it's a solid graphic software very oriented to the creation of comics in general.

The interface is clean and full of tools, but mostly I like how you can control the whole story, page by page, as seen here:
And the tools really allow you to control the whole comic creation process digitally, in case you have a good graphic tablet to easily draw on directly on the computer; otherwise of course there's the old method of drawing on real paper and then scanning ;) But if you wanna do the whole thing digitally, Manga Studio debuts makes thing easier for you: there's a good "blue pencil" tool to draw the rough sketches, then on a new layer you can refine those sketchy lines or directly use the good ink tools, wich simulate nicely most common ink pens, like the G-Pen or the Maru-pen, wich both I often use (in their real versions ;) ) for inking comics.

Having "Manga" in the title, this sowftare couldn't have some good screentones effect :) More than just good and more than just "some" I'd say, as even the demo comes with quite many screentones patterns for all your manga needs :)
Now the only thing that didn't convince me: the interface is good but not all icons are so immediately linkable to their function, due to some visual design choices that confused me at first, like the zoom-in and zoom-out buttons, as they choosed something different than the usual and well known magnify lens with + or - near it. This just means you need a couple more minutes to familiarize with the interface, wich is a good compromise for using a very complete sowftare to create and organize your comic pages.
The price, considering what you get, is quite fair for this Debut version, while it increases for getting more features for the EX version. In any case, more infos and links to purchase or try as free demo this software, on the producer site here:
http://manga.smithmicro.com/index.html


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

FFSecond chapter 8

Fantasy Frontier Second - chapter 8 "Once Upon A Chaos" coming soon (another preview pic on my Twitter, right on the blog side bar)... :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

[BookReview] DC Comics Guide to Penciling and Inking Comics

This time I'm reviewing TWO books at once (wooh!!) The reason is simple, both books are written by the same artist and they cover two steps wich usually go in direct, immediate sequence in comic making:

 Klaus Janson, DC Comics Guide to Penciling Comics, 128 pages

 Klaus Janson, DC Comics Guide to Inking Comics, 128 pages

 Klaus Janson is a penciler and a inker for comic books. He's more famous as an inker, in particular for his work on the best selling Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, a miniseries written and pencilled by Frank Miller wich sorta rewamped Batman character and established him more definetly as a dark superhero (the recent Batman movies are indeed based on Miller version of Batman). Janson inking style is quite personal and unique: he prefers a "rough" style, wich was perfect for Dark Knight Returns story or for Batman: Gothic (another quite dark miniseries). You may like or not like his style but he knows the medium very well so these two books contains very usful and very practical suggestions for comic making. I would say these suggestions work well for any style, but of course manga style may need a different approach for example. But let's go with order...

1. Penciling
 The first book is more of the standard How to Draw book at first, as it covers the basis very nicely: it explores all tools you need (from paper to different pencil lead weights), and then gives some How-To basis on drawing faces, anatomy and perspective. I assume you're already good at these, so we can skip to the second, more personal part of the book, the Storytelling part. Here is what the book gives its best: we learn and look at samples for comic pages composition, how to the elements in a panel convey what the story requires, how a sequence of panels (afterall comic books are often called sequential art), even without text, can say a lot, how contrast between panels or between elements in a single panel draw attention where you need it to be or how to control the camera angle for the right effect at the right moment! Very interesting also is the section dedicated to the creation of covers, wich is the first thing people will see about your comics, so making an interesting cover could be a not so bad idea ;) The book features the art of many comic book artists, including of course the author of the book, heavily featured in the final section, in wich he explains step-to-step, the making of a small comic book story, commenting each page and showing thepencils along with the inked pages.

2. Inking
The second book -suprise!- is about inking. It starts like the previous books, describing the tools you need for this very particular process in comic making. Inking started as a necessity in comic book early years, as printing machines couldn't reproduce pencil lines in detail, so said lines needed to be inked to appear strong and neat in the finished printed product. At present time I've seen books printed with just pencil art (digitally scanned, cleaned but still just penciled; an example is Empowered series) so that's not a great necessity anymore, yet inked lines became a trademark of comics and a good way to clean the pencil lines into neat lines. While it's the penciler who decides the page layout, draw the figures and such, it's the inker (in case it's a different person doing pencil and inks) who gives volumes to the figures, interpreting the panels and taking decisions on -just to make a quick example- where to use thicker lines and emphatize something and where not. That's why the book takes some pages about inking textures and the way different inkers solved in different way similar problems, like drawing woods or bricks and so on, or the many feathering techniques. The book is completed by a step-to-step inked page, commented by the inker on each choice he made, panel-by-panel. Inking is an incredibly important step when you're creating your own comic, and you can't risk to ruin a good drawing with a badly done inking. This books explores this specific step in detail, giving very useful suggestions and great examples.

3. Conclusions
In short these two books cover more ground than it seems: with Penciling book you discover -other than the penciling techniques- a lot about page layout and composition, while the Inking book surely makes you start to look differently at your comic books, analywing every inked lines, recognizing the various techniques and judging when they were used in the right place (at least that's the effect it had on me XD). Both are very well done books; but you can choose the one regarding the art you're more interessed into or -why not- to be read together one after another ;)


Friday, May 25, 2012

Fantasy Frontier design - Claira

Here is the first sketch I did for Claira character :) She's a character that went under quite some changes since her earlier version. She was supposed to be a reporter from the Fantasy gazette, a newspaper in Fantasy Frontier; Elvina is seen a couple times reading it, during the series :) This lead to some stories of her trying to discover some story about the royal family and so on :) Getting in trouble of course! The problem of this choice was that it moved the story too away from the main focus of the series; it was a good idea for a standalone episode maybe, but would have slowed down the main plot. But since I liked Claira to appear soemwhere, she became a librarian girl ina  remote magic library, taking care of the little golems defending the placfe, and not being happy of sudden visits ;)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Elvina posing


A sketch I did recebtly wich I inteend to color soon :) Elvina seems to be posing for some photoshoot of sort ;) Indeed I have already inked it, here is a preview with a fancy old style photo filter effect:



Monday, May 14, 2012

Magic Zee


A chibi Zee preparing some magic ;) Here is the finished pic:


Monday, May 7, 2012

Lineart

Another old black and white commission. This one featured both mine and a friend OC; it was fun to draw  this warm and quiet scene :)