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Showing posts with label inking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label inking. Show all posts

Wolf’s Head Issue 18 Page 1 Process

I thought it would be fun to share some of the ol’ “process” behind a recent page from WOLF’S HEAD. In this case, it’s the first page to issue 18. And hey, 18 issues in for an indy comic book series is not too shabby, folks.

This page features Lauren Greene and Super Bob Sanchez chit-chatting in a diner in Alberta. The page also builds off of issue 17 and the various struggles that Lauren is currently going through. While I don’t think there’s any “right” or “correct” way of starting a comic, I’ve long been partial to opening with a splash page to get things going. This is especially useful here because the preceding panel in the previous issue was actually very small. So if one is reading these issues in sequential order, it should be fun to leave off last ish with a tiny panel and then start this one with a biggie.

I’ll start with the final coloured and lettered page and we can work backwards to the initial layouts. Oh, one important caveat: while some pages take a bit of visual brainstorming, in this case I knew exactly where I was going (building from last issue, right?) so I didn’t need to do that. That’s often not the case and many pages take a bit of thumbnailing (usually tiny thumbnails) to work out mentally how I want to approach a page. This is often especially true for covers; considerations of logos and whatnot influence how the page might look. In other words, sketching and “mucking about with page design” is a tried and true way to go.

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Final Page illustrated by Von Allan

Next are the final inks, including screen tones (or, if you will, Ben Day dots or what I long called “zipatones”). Generally I do not include the lettering in the final inks (well, at least for colour work) and that is reflected here. Inking is one of my favourite things to do and this page was a blast to work on!

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Final Inks illustrated by Von Allan

Next up are the final tight pencils. There is a bit of visual cheating going on here. I actually rarely rough out a page like this as one individual unit. Rather, I actually do various pencil sketches (and sometimes even inked sketches) on different sheets of paper, scanning them into my computer and finalizing the pencil layout that way. I like that approach, mainly because it allows me to isolate various parts of the illustration and work on that. In this case, the diner is a good example: isolating the perspective drawing from the figure drawing allowed me to play around with some ideas, something a bit harder to do if everything was on one sheet of Bristol board.

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Tight Pencils illustrated by Von Allan

The next two illustrations showcase more of what I mean. First is the tighter pencilled perspective sketch of the diner and that’s followed by the very loose sketch (this time with my trusty Tombow brush pen) as I loosely laid down some ideas. These actually follow part of the same process I described here, but in this case I did do a round of tighter pencils rather than just go into final inks because I needed to be sure of a few different things. The trade-off is time, but I felt it was worth it in this case.

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Tight Background Pencils illustrated by Von Allan

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Loose Background Pencils illustrated by Von Allan

Not included here are the separate figure sketches. I generally do loose little gestures, often in ink, and then scan, check, print out, and tighten into final pencils. You can see the final result in that first sketch above.

Some pages are slow, some go surprisingly quick, and this one was somewhere in the middle. It was a lot of fun to do and hopefully starts off issue 18 in an engaging, intriguing, and beautiful way.

Quick Perspective Illustrations

I’ve been working on changing how I approach perspective drawings. The main issue I felt that I was having was that I wasn’t quick enough. For the most part I liked how I was handling perspective — especially when compared to where I was years ago — but to be able to produce comic book pages at a quick enough rate that was acceptable to me was always a bit of a challenge.

Given how difficult the past year has been, I decided to take some time to really think about how I approach perspective. I knew I wanted to get quicker, but I also wanted to start incorporating more screen tones into my work, mainly to create more depth. You can see all of this in the artwork below.

So what’s really changed? Well, initially I would do a loose thumbnail, then I’d fuss with the perspective — mainly through creating various perspective grids — before working on a tighter pencilled illustration. Only once I was happy with that would I then ink it. Well the result was fine, this was a very time-consuming process. Too time-consuming, really, and that was the crux of the problem.

My new approach is very different. I quickly lay out a perspective grid and then sketch using my trusty Tombow Fudenosuke Hard Tip brush pen. In other words, I’m skipping the pencil stage entirely and just going directly to ink. You can see that in the loose sketches below, though I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a bit hard to tell that these are using the brush pen. Why? That’s because I’ve lightened the pen’s value digitally, which gives it a more “pencily” feel than it actually has in person. But! You can see the actual process in the final image of this series, a “process photo” that shows how I’m doing this more clearly.

Is it working? In other words, it is quicker? Yup! I’m very happy to say that it is. And I kinda wish I hit on this process a few years back, when I first started WOLF’S HEAD. Live and learn, I suppose. And hey, maybe some artistic growth and development helps the whole thing? I think that’s fair to say. Still, it’s been a neat change up in my approach and a great deal of fun to do, too!

You’ll notice that Lauren from WOLF’S HEAD makes a few cameo appearances. I’ve also been changing up how I approach drawing tiny little background characters and I plopped some of those in the final inked versions, too. More on that development on another day.

Anyway! I hope you enjoy these process illustrations!

Various Inked Perspective Panels by Von Allan

Various Loose Perspective Panels by Von Allan

Inked Perspective Panel by Von Allan

Loose Perspective Panel by Von Allan

Inked Perspective Panels by Von Allan
Loose Perspective Panels by Von Allan
Inked Perspective Panel by Von Allan

Loose Perspective Panel by Von Allan

Inked Perspective Panels by Von Allan

Inked Perspective Panels by Von Allan

Von Allan perpsective process with pen

Wolf's Head by Von Allan

Link to Von Allan's Wolf's Head comic book series

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