01 – HOW I SET UP AN IMAGE (HOW I DRAW PART 1)

Forums TUTORIALS AND RESOURCES 01 – HOW I SET UP AN IMAGE (HOW I DRAW PART 1)

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    Brett Barkley
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    This is my first drawing tutorial, so I apologize for how general this is, but I’ll try to get more specific as I go forward. This tutorial will be adapted from this earlier post for a Deadpool Iconic Image.

    STEP 1

    This is my Deadpool iconic rough, done on my Galaxy Note 4, while I had a few spare moments before everyone got up and I had to start the day.

    When I’m doing an iconic image, I want to get as much of the surface visual information in the piece that I can. I want the viewer to have an idea of who this character is by what they see. So I try to fit everything I can in the image, or at least the most important information about the character. On this piece, I want to show Deadpool loaded down with pouches and military equipment, so I’ve worked to fit the full figure in to the frame. This will make it easier to overload the character with the pouches and gear, which were such an emblem of the time he was created. Often, particularly in a more dynamic piece, I’ll tilt the camera angle. This does a couple things. First, it better enables me to fit more of the character in the frame. Second, it gives the piece a slight more action-oriented, off-balance perspective. It’s tough for a tilted piece to come across as static or boring.

    But there’s a second component to the image, beyond what the viewer will see on the surface; what he or she will recognize instinctively from the posing and positioning in the frame. I already mentioned how I make a piece more dynamic by tilting the shot. That definitely establishes the piece as more dynamic. But if I want more drama, I’m going to try a couple of things to enhance how the viewer instinctively reads the piece. Probably the easiest way I do this is through lowering the vanishing point, which gives the reader the impression the character is above us, which naturally makes them seem more powerful. You can also put the character dead-on with our view, as if they’re standing, rock-solid and immovable, directly in our path. There’s more you can do. The key is to understand the instinctual interpretations we all have of the postures we see. Will Eisner does some great work in laying these out for aspiring artists.

    STEP 2

    Once we have a general idea of a pose, how do we actually implement this? I’ve attached this image to give you an idea of how I put the pose on paper.

    In this image, I took the roughs from above and expanded it to include the outline for what I like to think of a kind of shoe box world the character inhabits. Regardless of background, or environment, when we draw a figure, because of how our eyes work, we see that figure in perspective. Perspective can be daunting, IF you have the wrong idea about it. I believe it would help if you can manage to think of your character as positioned in a shoe box, something you have standing on the edge of a table, which would allow you to move a camera in virtually any direction with any tilt to give you the shot you want. I’ve placed the shoe box outline with the horizon line (Determined as the line on which the four lines moving away from us intersect, or the vanishing point rests. It will be parallel to the line at the bottom of our shoe box.) When we understand that all the lines of the character, the line of the shoulders, the line of the hips, the knees, the eyes, everything is beholden to the horizon line, we can place a character in space, or in an environment dynamically and believably.

    STEP 3
    And here are the loose pencils. This is probably my favorite part of the process, but unfortunately where I often get to spend the least amount of time. I established the general form in proper perspective in the last stage. Now my work is far less difficult, because I can simply dedicate all my energies toward developing the figure to be as aesthetically pleasing as I can.

    Again, due to a lack of time, I generally don’t get to spend as much time as I’d like in this stage (oh, how I’d love to just pencil), but I’ll take this image and tighten it up a bit more before I move on to inks.  Basically, this is just a process of knocking back the loose pencils and then penciling in a more distinct, less sketchy line.  While I’m doing this on my tablet and just reducing the opacity of each subsequent layer, you can accomplish the same effect by going over a traditionally penciled image with a kneaded eraser.  

     

    STEP 4
    I now use a broad brush to drop in shadows for inking. This process is just a way of determining light sources and using a big brush (or, again if you’re penciling traditionally, a broad drawing pencil) to loosely and fluidly (I can’t emphasize this enough–you want happy accidents) block in areas of shadow. I’ll worry about the interpretation and tightening of the blocked-in areas when I ink.

    STEP 5

    And finally the inks.  As you can see from the final image, I’ve basically just tried to freely interpret the happy accidents from the previous step–darker areas are solid black and the lighter areas get hatching to establish gray tones. 

    And that is how I created this piece of art. I can use variations on this technique, but the idea is generally the same…start loose, refine and define shadows.

    I hope this has been a help!

    -B

      

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