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


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 :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

[BookReview] Drawing on the right side of the brain

This time I'm reviewing a real classic, at least for me. This was my very first how to draw book, wich I got as present when I was a kid, way before I even knew there were how to draw manga or comics books :)

Betty Edwards, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, 320 pages

This books strongly focuses on perception and drawing. It's an interetsing experience since the approach is very different form other drawing tutorials. You won't find lessons about human proportions or too much details about perspective rules. You will instead find practical approaches on how to draw correct proportions and good looking perspective starting from your perception of space.

This way of presenting lessons really makes you want to try yourself on paper, sketching freely, trying to copy upside-down figures (!) or drawing silhouettes of objects. Compared to other manuals, this one really has more text but everything is interesting and in most cases new to most people.

What this book can give you is more confidency in your skills and a wider way of seeing the space around you -when drawing it- :) Another good point is that the book is very suitable for total newbies, amateur artist or skilled artists in the same way. It won't teach you how to draw a comic, or how to draw manga-styled characters, and it doesn't cover coloring, but it helps improving your drawing skills with a very original approach, if you mix the reading with practice of course ;)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Original Character pic

A pic I did quite some time ago for a friend, based on one of her original characters. I still like the simple but effective pose :)