Thursday, March 30, 2006
UPDATED FINAL COVER.
Details, details--used some smoke and dust particles to help separate Supes from the foreground. To finish it off, I added the beams of light coming thru Superman which accentuate his blacks and gave the piece a nice intensity.
Click Save and cross my fingers as I send a JPEG off for approval!
To establish some atmospheric perspective (aka depth), I use a gradient that covers everything behind Supes. I also color hold Wonder Woman's lasso and the energy on it. All the glows are added here as well.
Can't stress how important it is to be clean and precise with all your FX!!
Using all the lighting established by Jim and Sandra, I start coloring the cover. I work dark to light, foreground to background.
For this cover I decided to use a very strong cool (foreground) vs warm (background) composition. I let the warm tones encroach onto the foreground elements so it all works as a whole. I use very defined "cut" shapes for the foreground figure and elements, especially metal ones.
In contrast, all background and atmospheric objects are rendered using textured and organic brushes. It still looks a little flat as far as depth goes, but I know that will get resolved as I do the FX.
First thing I do is what we call "flat" an image. Basically, I select each object and fill it with the color I am going to use for it. It is at this stage that I establish the palette for the piece. I also begin to set the value relationships within the objects.
Someone asked me how I come up with color schemes for covers and pages. It's tough for me to answer that question because it just kind of comes to me. I know, sounds corny and stereotypical, but it just does.
Sometimes I will do a quick color sketch of it, especially if I am going to try something new or to work out any issues.
Unlike the hardened, tyrant, Sandra Hope, I like to think of the materials I use as tools :) I do about 99% of coloring on the computer now. I use Adobe Photoshop almost exclusively for coloring, although I have been known to use Corel Painter every now and then to mix it up. I am a Mac freak so I will always recommend a Mac for doing graphics. There WAS a day when Photoshop was not too PC friendly, but those days are long gone.
Here's a pic of my desk and all the tools I use:
1) My Mac. I work on a DuoCore 2.3 G5 with 1.5 gigs of Ram (about a gig of that is dedicated to Photoshop). Just had to buy this puppy to work on the 6-page spread that is appearing in the next issue of All Star BnR.
2) Monitor. Looove the flat-panel! This is a 22" Cinema display.
3) Wacom tablet. I work on a 6"x8" Intuous 3 tablet. I recommend a tablet to anyone trying to do graphics on the computer--worth every penny!
4) Nostromo n52 by Belkin. It's a programmable keypad that was developed mostly for gamers, but I use it for coloring...mostly ;) This one is optional, but my rendering speed has increased since I bought it.
5) External hard drive. I keep double copies of everything I work on 'cause you never know when you're machine's gonna up and croak (knocking on wood). This one's a Lacie 250 Gig-er.
6) iSight. Think I've used this thing twice for video chats. I use it for the microphone/audio chats.
7) DVD collection. My best pal during those long nights when all that's on TV is infomercials I have already memorized and I am in-between Netflix deliveries. Currently viewing them in Alphabetical order (started the B's last night) Geek check...I win!
8) Desk. Best purchase ever. It's an Anthro Console unit. This company makes the best desks IMHO. They are customizable and expandable. Now all I need to figure out is how to fit it in the grave with me.
PS-No, drugs on desk are not speed or anything like that. Simply a pain reliever for a recent soccer injury.
Monday, March 27, 2006
My standard tools consist of:
-FW Acrylic Artists Ink for my whites (applied with quill or brush)
-Liquitex Acrylic White for stars (with an old toothbrush)
-Hunt 102 quill
-Rapidograph Ultradraw ink
-Raphael brush sizes 2-4
These work for me, but every inker should experiment and find what works best for him/herself.
Thank you all for the support and encouragement. Now I must get back to my deadlines.
Friday, March 24, 2006
I finish off the background behind Superboy with brush and a lighter line weight. The foreground, at his feet, is finished with a heavier line weight and more blacks.
The final step is to come back with white and pop out a few more things. For instance, the gleam in his eye and the shine on his armor are done with some clean white feather lines mixed slightly with dry brush whites to soften it up.
I finish off the whole thing by throwing down some white cracks and dings in his suit, Wonder Woman's head piece, Green Lantern's lantern, etc...
DONE - Whew, now I need a nap!
NOTE: Make sure you have someone standing by to yank the piece away because there's ALWAYS a little more tweaking you can do, especially on Jim.
With Jim's pencils, the real hard work begins when you start on the rendering. Mr. Williams makes it look so easy, but it's not. There are sometimes three or four sets of line renderings flowing into one another, so it's REALLY hard to get them to work together without making it look like a total mess.
It's kind of a fun and challenging little game. This phase also shows some dry brush on the Bat, Wonder Woman's head piece and under Superboy's cape. Dry brush is a little difficult for me because I don't do it very often, but it is fun.
At this point, it looks like Superboy is almost finished, but he's not. I've only inked the contour lines and filled in the large black areas. The only area I've rendered is his face and hair. Most of both are done with brush and a little quill for a few of the hair strands. I've also inked the frayed, torn areas of his cape in quill.
TO BE CONTINUED IN AN HOUR...
Before I start inks, I always make a copy of the pencils for reference. Soft leads will fade very quickly and it's usually very difficult to read.
I like to ink faces first so the character's expression is as true to the pencils as possible. After that, I'm all over the page. I don't have any specific order or direction in which I'll ink. On Jim, I like to use brush on most of it including backgrounds. Before I fill in the large black areas, I will use a quill and mark all the scratch marks, folds in clothing, or anything else that I want to come back and pop out with white at the end.
TO BE CONTINUED IN AN HOUR...
The first thing I do when I get a penciled page is take a few minutes and look at everything on it. Before I put a dot of ink on the page, I have to be sure that I know everything that's happening. What's going on with the figure, the foreground, the middle ground and the background?
What is everything made of? What's flowing across his boots? Is it dust? Light? Smoke? Energy from the ground? How do I ink the busy background and foreground to support the figure, rather than drowning it out?
What line weights do I want to use on Wonder Woman's head piece and the Bat-thingie to catch the viewer's eyes without making these objects obnoxiously bold?
These are just a few of the things that must be considered to make sure everything works together once it's all inked.
By the way, the piece is already done, but I just wanted to spread out the posts over the day.
TO BE CONTINUED IN AN HOUR...
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Hey y'alls, how's it going?!? long time no see! (^_^)
... you know, for the longest time, I just wasn't sure what to write about that I hadn't already done a bunch of times in the past, then after that, good ol' procrastination and deadlines took over. :)
Anyway, I wanted to jump back in and become active on the 'Metti again, so here I am.
... you know, I've been meaning to ask a question to all of you who visit us: what are you interested in more specifically? what would you like us to write more about? do you like the finished drawings posted on here? or are sketches and 'prelims' more informative? We (at the studio) try and think about what would be cool to show fans on the blog, maybe things that WE would have liked to have seen before we became 'pros', but really, when it's all said and done, we've been at this 'professionally' for quite some time, and it can give you a bit on tunnel vision, SO, ball's on your side of the court ... what would you like to see more of?!?
... oh yeah, and just in case you guys don't know what my next 'gig' is, this is a sketch idea for a DEATHBLOW cover, my next project for WILDSTORM with 'Mr.100 Bullets' himself, Brian Azzarello (and yes, I am grinning from ear to ear at this moment) :)
alright y'alls, glad to be back!
Monday, March 20, 2006
Wanted to pop in real quick and say I had a blast this past weekend! From getting to hang out with all the awesome people I know, to seeing all the talented artists that came out for our studio talent search, Wiz world LA was a ton of fun!
As always you guys, the fans, made the weekend very worthwhile. Coming out and showing your support, really makes all the long hours of hard work well worth it! I also wanted to announce my latest sketchbook ( due out by San Diego Con ), Alé Garza. Beat Samples. It'll be me flying solo, but I'm hoping to get a lot of images that are yet to be seen, and really give you guys something cool to look at.
I know I haven't been around much, it seems at times that there's always something to get done. We're all very excited about the release of Skye Runner over here, and we have some great announcements, which will hopefully make next month's release a little more special!
So till next time, all you crazy kids take care of yourself, peace!
Sunday, March 12, 2006
More files found on a CD which I burned when I last back in Reggio. This was done for a friend. Mixed media...pencils, inks, graywash and of course, whiteout. Forgot to sign this one before the scan! Didn't want you Batman fans to get too envious of all the Superman stuff I posted...
Larger image found here
Same deal as below. Did this after my run on Superman: For Tomorrow. I like the shapes I got in Superman's legs and chest. Stupid--"he went thataway"--pose I know, but it was really chance to play with his shapes and make him look built but still fit.
Just doing simple shapes. Not sure why he is on a pitcher's mound or showing his nasty offspeed grip but that's why it's a doodle. It has no point. Did this months ago, during a Superman meeting.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
With Wizard World LA just around the corner, the promise of a new studiomate arises. As most of you know, we will be conducting the Wildstorm talent search at two of this year's Wizard World shows. I can't tell you what a great oppurtunity this is for all you aspiring artists out there. The ability to say that you've worked as a studio artist here is a title few artists can boast. We've had some of comicdom's best talents come through here.
A few tips from a guy who started here, currently works here, and will also be one of the judges deciding who wins. :)
First off, bring only your best. It takes about a single page sometimes to be able to tell if someone's got it. I've reviewed many a portfolio, where there are just tons and tons of stuff from the artist's past ten years of drawing. Honestly, usually, all you need are three to four sequential pages of art. To be safe, try to include characters that are recognizable. Luckily for all of you entering, you have a script to work from, yay!
Next, be open to criticism. Even if you don't win this show. Take what you hear, go home, and apply it to your art. The best thing I did was take the pointers I got from my first show, took it home, and practiced everything I was told. By my next show I was more prepared, and soon thereafter started getting job offers. :) Especially be open to criticism, because if you just so happen to win, we here at the studio are oftentimes the most critical with each other. So you can just look at your three month prize as a comic art boot camp, lol!
Lastly, enjoy what you do! Get into comics, because you love comics! You have to be willing to eat, breath, and sleep comics! Make all the art you do a treat for yourself. The more you enjoy the process, oftentimes, the more people will respond to it!
Just a few quick tips.
We all our very excited at the idea of a new artist coming into the fold. It's no doubt, we definitely want to find comic's next star artist! It could be you!
Monday, March 06, 2006
Here is a page of doodles I found recently from some years back, before I had started my run on Superman with writer Brian Azzarello. Was playing around with the differences and similarities between Hawkman and Batman's cowls. Perhaps a way to make Hawkman's beak look less pronounced although I love how long and unique it is within the world of superhero masks. Hawkman is one of the truly great looking characters visually...
Done in ballpoint pen during a meeting I am sure...
Been working on so many different projects recently that I decided to spend 30 mins to an hour a day drawing random characters for fun to warm up for the day. Even when I miss a day of drawing while flying or traveling or being in meetings, I often find myself out of shape so to speak drawing wise.
Nothing more frustrating than not being able to throw down the line you want, the line you see in your mind's eye. This is a quick sketch of Supergirl. I wanted more of an awkward, almost high fashion model look for her face complete with big ears, bony nose and overbite but she lost a bit of the innocence I had in the original quick pencils when I inked it.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Just wanted to pop in real quick and say that I am slowly recovering from my recent NY trip, lol! As tiring as it was, I gotta say it was a blast! Great to get out there and meet the east coast fans and some really talented creators that I've admired for a long time!
Looks like I got a big ole' piece of humble pie served to me from Carlos and Jim in the 30 min CBLDF challenge too! In my defense though my wife was lighting up my cell phone the whole time, lol! Just kidding, both of those guys are pretty damn amazing artists, so getting whupped by them, in a way, is expected :)!
So now it's time to prepare for Wiz LA. This show is especially exciting because we'll be starting our talent search for the next Wildstorm intern! I can't wait to see the talent that comes out!
With that, I need to get back to work. Posted above is a doodle I did in a sketchbook for a great guy in NY. Had a lot of fun with this piece and in the process discoverd some new things about what I'd like to do with my art. Till next time, keep on keepin' it realz!
"I put some cheese on your on your corned beef hash, I hope you don't mind" WOOT! WOOT!
Another funny from the Irish Rogue--one of many end of con parties I
am sure. Featured in this one is Ivan "Snikt" Brandon, author and co-
creator of NYC Mech and Esad "Rawwwrr" Ribic who is working on a
painted Silver Surfer series with acclaimed writer J. Michael
Straczynski. NYC Mech beta love #5 comes out from Image today (art
by the fabo Andy MacDonald) and Masters of Horror #3 comes out later