Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Just One More - Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Are you watching me?
One model sheet remains. Fatigue is setting in and I think I'll stop drawing tonight (actually, this morning).

Tight quarters
I have been spending my non-illustration time listening and viewing as many interviews and tutorials as I can about layout thumbnails, penciling, inking and coloring. There are so many artists out there—in all kinds of genre—that are willing to share their fascinating workflows and techniques on how they apply artistic fundamentals to their work. While eating lunch—if not listening to interviews—I am indulging in reading comic books online with Marvel Unlimited.

I am currently catching up with comics I used to read as a youngster. My
favorite was—and always will be—the Incredible Hulk. I picked up around the early 300's and have about 10 years to catch up. Studying the various inking and coloring methods have taught me much. Unfortunately, now that I work part-time as an illustrator, I can never enjoy the comics like I used to. I spend more time studying the writing and the artwork, than just "taking it in."

The model sheet abstracts here are a minor female character I whipped up with Manga Studio 5EX (left) and a scene using Sketch Paper on Drafting Table 1.0. I'll admit, I'm still not comfortable working with Manga Studio's perspective rulers. Also, sitting at the computer is more grueling than at my drafting table with T-Square and Triangle rulers, setting up 2-point perspective lines.  I bought all of Doug Hills' Manga Studio rulers and guides, along with his ebook. So far, the composition rulers have been very helpful. But I have more learning to do when it comes to rulers for Manga Studio in general. So I hope his ebook will give me the knowledge I need.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Focusing - Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Is it a can opener?
Eight hours later, full of color, this model sheet is considered done. Next, I shall get back into the sketch pad with pencil and move "inside" of it to build something interesting. It looks like draft #14 is insufficient. So I am working on draft #15. I really want to start the illustration for Badin and the Secret of the Saami. But I must follow the process.

I thoroughly enjoyed working with the Oil Paint Brush in Manga Studio 5EX. I was able to work in "weathering" details that really gave the character a three-dimensional appearance. It seems color—in addition to black ink shading—can give an illustration high appeal.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Draft #14 - Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Notice some Viking-esque patterns?
As I mentioned yesterday, I still have three characters with incomplete model sheets for Badin and the Secret of the Saami. One of them is quite large and requires some complex schematics. Technically, it might be considered a location. However, since it is not a stationary thing, I have classified it as a character. I made 14 drafts of just one part of it this morning. I think I like number 14.

This character will contain many subtle designs inspired by old Viking-era objects I have found during my research. Being that this graphic novel takes place in Sweden, with Swedish and Saami characters, and I, the author, am half-Swedish, it is crucial that Swedish culture is evident throughout it.

I suppose I could just make it up as I go when I illustrate this graphic novel. However, I enjoy drawing the complexity and history of a character. It makes it more real in my imagination. Also, I have plans for a special edition of the graphic novel, which will contain all kinds of interesting extras either not covered in the graphic novel—or not relevant enough to keep in the story. I believe you will want to know more about this character than is revealed in the story.

At left is an abstract of the character. The scanned pencil layer is under the ink layer. This was created with Manga Studio 5EX.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Antagonist - Badin and the Secret of the Saami

A storm is coming
A storm in the story
After going through my checklist of 28 model sheets to color in Badin and the Secret of the Saami, I discovered that that the antagonist of the story was still unfinished—among 3 others.

I organize the characters as note cards in Scrivener and use the status field to sort them. When a character is labeled "100%" that means I did the color and they are ready for use in the illustrations. Apparently, I got a little too happy with my progress and overlooked a 75% (the antagonist), two 50% and a 0%. That zero—although she is a minor character—is embarrassing. I am holding myself back, however. No thumbnail phase until the model sheets are all labeled 100%. Self-discipline is crucial to proper management of this project. 

Who the antagonist is and how they fit in the story, I cannot yet reveal. However, I will confirm that the abstract at left is indeed the antagonist—or the bad guy.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Badin and the Secret of the Saami Progress 2015-09-27

You may be able to tell from the abstracts at left and right, I am finished with the color model sheets of the main character, Badin. It feels really good to be at this stage. It's like part of training for an athletic tournament. I am now closer to the big showdown.
The "bigger" Badin
The "smaller" Badin
While doing all this I have been thinking about fonts and word balloon styles. That is not a priority at this time, but I will need to deal with it eventually.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Badin and the Secret of the Saami Progress 2015-09-23

18th Century Children's Clothes
An unnamed main actor
As I write this, I am sleep deprived, but hyped. I am working on Badin's model sheet: The star of the show. The lead actor. My main man. However, I got distracted when ideas about promoting the graphic novel and its cover crept into my head. So I had to write them down before I might forget.

As mentioned before, I use Scrivenor for organizing the script, notes and references. It is very useful. I highly recommend it if you are writing a script or novel.

The abstract at left is not Badin. It is someone else—a main character. I was excited to finish this one tonight. No spoilers—not at least before the first promotion.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Badin and the Secret of the Saami Progress 2015-09-19

Model sheet color sketch
"Surely, after difficulty, comes ease" reads a verse from the Holy Quran (I am too tired to look it up for a citation). This is not a blog about religion, but rather an expression of my journey to create and finish Badin and the Secret of the Saami. So it is all about overcoming ease: Something which can be harder than the difficulty.

After you get your mind around that one—it took me awhile too—you might see the patterns of life: Death and life are one in the same. People fear them equally. Difficulty can be equated with death and life can be equated with ease.

When I am happy with an illustration, I am inclined to slow down and feel less anxious about moving on to the next one. This is the hardship of ease. As I finish this blog entry, I am in the middle of coloring the model sheets of the three main characters. After that, I must do the antagonist and a room. That's over 20 model sheets done. After that…I believe I can finally start illustrating the graphic novel.

The model sheet abstract above is for one of the minor Saami characters. It was created from a pencil sketch that was inked and colored using Manga Studio 5EX.