Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tutorial # 12 - Copic Marker Commissions

This Tutorial has been a long time coming. I’ve been so busy getting the Comic Studio classes off the ground that I haven’t had time to compose a tutorial for the blog. Sorry about that! But I have made it up to you by giving everyone my process for using Copic markers. I so love Copics. And, I guarantee that once you try them, you will to. So, here we go.


Most of my commissions are Copic illustrations now. Since I discovered the joy of the markers, I haven’t been able to let a commission go by without splashing a little here and there. Now, I have to warn you, Copic markers are EXPENSIVE! So, if you are using them for commissions, you have to price your work accordingly. That’s why my free commissions will probably never have Copics added.

I first start out by lightly getting my pencils figured out. For this one, I wanted to draw Shianndrea Toshigawa from my upcoming series Kunoichi Hime. I knew I wanted her in a semi action pose with her ninjato. I just didn’t really know what that pose would be. After tinkering around a bit, I came up with this basic idea. 
(Side note: I was drawing outside in the elements on this one. It was pretty cold and I don’t recommend doing that unless you have to. I think my fingers are still frozen.)



After I got the general idea down, I changed her far hand from holding the scabbard to a high block. (Side note: This is one of the few times that I wished I listened to my first mind. I like her hand holding the scabbard better.) I then went in an planed my lights and darks. This is VERY IMPORTANT if you are going to be using Copic Markers. PLAN AHEAD, PEOPLE!


Inking this, I got a chance to break out the Japanese brush set that I hardly get to use. Using these brushes forces me to stay light, which, is good in the frozen situation I was in. I didn’t have the control to tighten up my inks in this situation. Inking with brush is a completely different technique than inking with a pen. (Check out Tutorial number 2 - Inking for techniques on inking with a pen.) I started out by working on my background blacks and let them creep into Shianndrea here and there. By use of the brush, being dipped directly into black India Ink, I managed to pull some very interesting lines and shapes off.


After I got my inking how I liked it, I started in with the Copic Markers. Now, with any markers, you have to work a little more quickly than normal. I try to keep the marker as wet as I can to avoid streaking (Unless you want the streaks.). I also try to move from medium tones to darker tones and leave white as the main highlight. Sometimes I may touch up the highlights after the fact with white acrylic paint and a fine tipped brush. With Shianndrea, I used warm, cool and neutral gray. (Side note: I mostly do my commission pieces in gray tones. If I add color, it’s usually a spot color with gray.) How I structure my gray usage is in terms of warm and cool colors. Where there would be cooler colors in the piece (blues, greens etc.), I use an array of cool grays. For warm colors (reds, yellows, oranges etc.), I use warm grays. I always try to keep in mind light source and shadow because that is where the magic is with Copic Markers. The markers play nice with one another and tend to blend easily. If you plan correctly and vary your time putting down different grays, you can get some awesome effects. (Side note: What I mean by varying your time is, Copic Markers can go on very wet. As it dries, it becomes more “fixed” in the spot. If you let your base tone dry a little more, you can get more dramatic shading when you overlay a darker tone on top of the base. On the flip side, if you lay a darker tone on top of a wetter base, you get more of a gradual shading effect as the two dry together.) This is where I have the most fun and it can last for a few hours if you want!


And here is the finished piece complete with sunshine. (Side note: As soon as I finished, the sun came out and it got warmer. Just like my luck!)

Feel free to share your personal process on line with us in the comments bellow. As well, join the talks on our Facebook page and learn other ways to illustrate a pin up. Let us know what you think!! See you guys next week!

Until next blog, keep the pencils moving.
Martheus
Illustrator, Designer, Father, Husband




Monday, December 17, 2012

The Comic Studio - Supply List


Here is a list of supplies that each student (and comic book artist) will need for the Comic Studio Classes starting in December. This is not the be all end all list of comic book supplies. However, this is what we will be using in the classes. New supplies can be added as we advance further in classes. For those that are interested in classes, feel free to contact me here or by email at martheus@toshigawa.com!

8.5X11 Sketch BookPencils H, HB, 2B(These can be bought in a pack)

Non Repro Blue Pencil

Mechanical Pencils .05 or .07(These can be bought in a pack)

Pink Pearl Eraser

Micron Pens .005 .01 .03 .05 .08 1.0(These can be bought in a pack)

Black brush pen

Large Sharpie

Black India Ink

Paint Brush 02 and 14

Bristol Pad 14x17 or 11x17

Bristol Pad 9x12

Ruler

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Comic Studio -- Class Is in Session

Saturday, Dec. 8th, marked The Comic Studio's very first day of class.  We had a good turn out, a good mix of students of all ages.  After introductions, Mr. Wade went right into teaching some of the basics of drawing: sketching!
Shapes to make the face easy.
  
 
Eager to learn.
 

 

Sketching two big guys: the Thing and the Hulk.
 
 
Art is not about perfection.  It's about the learning and creative process.  The Comic Studio hopes to be a place where young, aspiring artists can get together and learn from each other, to feed off each others' creative synergy, to inspire and support each others' efforts.

It starts with an idea, then with a line, then a shape, then a sketch.

Draw every day. Draw something

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Comic Studio


With the Comic Studio first class this week, I wanted to make sure everyone attending is on the same page. Class will be at 10:30 am until 12 noon this Saturday (December 8th) at 2547 Broad Avenue! I will be passing out the supply list and schedule of classes Saturday. So, all you or your child need to bring is a sketch book (8.5x11), a pencil (mechanical or number 2) and eraser. We will be working on our sketching and seeing where each student is skill wise. If you have not downloaded the registration form, please do so. You can bring the registration form and class fee with you. Other than that, have fun is the only other requirement!

Want to see what you are in store for? Check out my interview on News Channel 3's Live at 9!

http://wreg.com/2012/12/03/comic-art-class/

See you guys at the Studio!

Monday, November 19, 2012

DECEMBER 8TH! The Comic Studio Begins!!


December 8th is the date and I wanted to remind everyone, if you are interested in classes, get those registration forms in to me. Download them from this site! You can send them to 2547 Broad Avenue, Memphis, TN 38112 C/O Martheus Wade. As well, pass on this video to anyone that may be interested in classes as well! I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in class on the 8th!
Special Thanks to Antoine Beane for shooting and editing this piece as well as Janet Saltygirl Stone Wade for sitting in with me!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kunoichi Hime: Ninja Princess!!

Before she got the name “Jetta” She was a young ninja on the verge of being a Master. Her journey begins at the Anime Blues Winterfest Remix!

Kunoichi Hime, the first chapter in the life of Shianndrea Toshigawa, is in full swing production and will be ready to go January 2013!! Check out the commercial by GT Media Group starring Sara Frietes as Shianndrea Toshigawa. Illustrations by Martheus Wade!


Fourteen year old Shianndrea deals with the hardships of any normal teenage girl. She’s in love with a boy who is way out of her league and dating someone else. She hates the way she looks. Her teachers are overbearing. And her rival just so happens to be a star pupil who is always willing to make her look bad. But Shianndrea is not like any  normal girl. She is a ninja princess, born into a world of martial arts training and death defying ninja action all in order to safeguard Japan from its evil Emperor. The last thing she wants is to let her clan down. 

However, certain forces are moving against her. The Azumi Ninja Clan has their eyes set on capturing Shianndrea and delivering her to the Emperor who is ready to destroy her. They have conjured an Oni (Demon) to make sure that the Ninja Princess does not escape. Now Shianndrea has to stay out of the Azumi’s and their monster’s sights while navigating the trials and tribulations of a teenage girl. All of this and her Ninja Master Test is just around the corner.

“What makes this different from the Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa series?” Well, I’m glad you asked, young reader. This series will be presented initially as a web comic released biweekly. That’s right!! Tune into toshigawa.com every two weeks to see the story onfold! Another thing that sets this series apart from the graphic novels is the story. Kunoichi Hime is set 8 years before the original graphic novel series, Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa, and is about how a 14 year old Shianndrea copes with love, life, and ninja training all while trying to discover what kind of woman she wants and needs to be. “We wanted to do some stories that where a bit lighter in tone. Kunoichi Hime is a fun and exciting read that will entertain, not only current readers on the original graphic novels, but teens and girls who love comics and manga as well”, said writer Janet Wade. “I, for one, am extremely happy with the stories that Janet and Kevin have crafted. I’m looking forward to seeing where they take this next.”, said creator Martheus Wade. “It’s going to be refreshing to turn over the reigns of these characters to someone else for a change.”

 Kunoichi Hime will make it’s debut at Anime Blues Con Winter Remix Saturday, January 19, 2013. We will have with us an exclusive 8 page intro story in print and on sale to kick off the web comic. Don’t miss this opportunity to get this REMIX EXCLUSIVE. We will also have prints and posters to help us celebrate this new beginning to the Toshigawa saga. Kunoichi Hime goes live at toshigawa.com on January 26! Mark your calendars and don’t forget to subscribe for frequent updates!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Comic Studio Starts December 8th!


This past weekend, I attended the Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention. I had the opportunity to talk illustration and technique with over 1500 students during my Comic Studio sessions on Friday morning ! It was an AWESOME experience and I think I missed my calling to teach.

Thank you to everyone that attended the classes, took time to stop by our table, or contacted me for more information on the Comic Studio! It was great to meet so many parents and teachers that support this thing we call art.


If you haven't gotten your registration forms in for the Comic Studio, time is running out. Classes begin December 8th and they are filling quickly. As an added way to make things more affordable, We have added a per class rate of $35.00. This is a great way to be a part of things even if you know your time will be limited per month. Make sure to notify me if you are wanting to attend! Download the registration form here and take a look at the list of the classes offered and the supply list!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pin up for "Princeless"

From our very own Saltygirl...

was very happy when i was asked to contribute a pinup for "princeless: short stories for warrior women" #1 by action lab entertainment.  here are the progression shots.



"the awesome duo"

Friday, October 26, 2012

KUNOICHI HIME (Ninja Princess)!


You may have seen the promotional images we have been placing on Facebook, Twitter and Deviant Art with the caption “Soon”. Well, it’s time to spill the beans. We are excited to announce Kunoichi Hime, the newest story in the saga of the Toshigawa Ninja Clan.
 Fourteen year old Shianndrea deals with the hardships of any normal teenage girl. She’s in love with a boy who is way out of her league and dating someone else. She hates the way she looks. Her teachers are overbearing. And her rival just so happens to be a star pupil who is always willing to make her look bad. But Shianndrea is not like any  normal girl. She is a ninja princess, born into a world of martial arts training and death defying ninja action all in order to safeguard Japan from its evil Emperor. The last thing she wants is to let her clan down.
However, certain forces are moving against her. The Azumi Ninja Clan has their eyes set on capturing Shianndrea and delivering her to the Emperor who is ready to destroy her. They have conjured an Oni (Demon) to make sure that the Ninja Princess does not escape. Now Shianndrea has to stay out of the Azumi's and their monster's sights while navigating the trials and tribulations of a teenage girl. All of this and her Ninja Master Test is just around the corner.
“What makes this different from the Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa series?” Well, I’m glad you asked, young reader. This series will be presented initially as a web comic released biweekly. That’s right!! Tune into toshigawa.com every two weeks to see the story onfold! Another thing that sets this series apart from the graphic novels is the story. Kunoichi Hime is set 8 years before the original graphic novel series, Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa, and is about how a 14 year old Shianndrea copes with love, life, and ninja training all while trying to discover what kind of woman she wants and needs to be. “We wanted to do some stories that where a bit lighter in tone. Kunoichi Hime is a fun and exciting read that will entertain, not only current readers on the original graphic novels, but teens and girls who love comics and manga as well”, said writer Janet Wade. “I, for one, am extremely happy with the stories that Janet and Kevin have crafted. I’m looking forward to seeing where they take this next.”, said creator Martheus Wade. "It's going to be refreshing to turn over the reigns of these characters to someone else for a change."
 Kunoichi Hime will make it’s debut at Anime Blues Con Winter Remix Saturday, January 19, 2013. We will have with us an exclusive 8 page intro story in print and on sale to kick off the web comic. Don’t miss this opportunity to get this REMIX EXCLUSIVE. We will also have prints and posters to help us celebrate this new beginning to the Toshigawa saga. Kunoichi Hime goes live at toshigawa.com on January 26! Mark your calendars and don’t forget to subscribe for frequent updates!

Writen by: Janet Wade
Illustrations by: A.I.M.I
Cover by: Johanna Tamminen
Edits by: Kevin L. Williams
Colors by: Janet Wade
Color assists by: Marvin Cheveallier

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

RIVER ARTS FEST!!


This weekend is the River Arts Fest Located in the heart Downtown Memphis’ South Main Historic Arts District! The RiverArtsFest 2012 is a three-day street celebration of the visual, performing and culinary arts with attractions and activities for all ages. I will be there on Sunday in the “Artist in Motion” demonstration area showing people the art of comic books and inviting everyone to site down and draw with me! If you are interested in finding out more about the Comic Studio classes or just want to hang out and draw a bit, please stop by and create something!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

COURSES REVEALED



In an effort to make the Studio available to everyone interested in learning the art behind comic books, graphic novel and manga creation, I've placed below a detailed outline of classes that will be offered for the Studio. New classes will also be added to this initial roster as time goes on. The Comic Studio classes will be split between Beginner and Advanced classes.

Beginner illustration
Students will learn the basic tools for illustration concentrating on still life drawing, gesture drawing and shapes and forms. Students will use a variety of media including pencils, pens, marker, chalk, and conte’

Beginner colorsStudents will learn about color theory and explore the ways color effects perception by using paints, markers, crayon, pastels, and photoshop (computer usage will be for students ages 14 and up)

Beginner storytellingStudents will explore the art of writing through storytelling. Students will be given set storytelling guidelines, from which, they will formulate their own beginning, middle, and end.

The Comic Studio (Advanced)

Advanced Illustration

Sketching, Penciling, Inking, Traditional and Digital Painting. These are all techniques that a comic book artist needs in order to successfully complete an assignment. Students will take place in life drawing, gesture drawing, cartooning and ink and painting sessions in order to broaden their
artistic arsenal and build their portfolio base.


Advanced Storytelling 
This benefits writers and artists as both have to be able to convey a story visually and learn to communicate between the two effectively. Students will be made to collaborate on story and character development as well as panel layout and illustration style.

Digital productionDrawing and writing in the traditional sense is much needed. However, digital production is a necessity in today’s artistic world. Students will be shown the proper way to set up files for print and digital production. They will also learn the differences and benefits of both mediums. This will also include photoshop and coloring techniques, lettering and font usages, design element creation, and the programs used to compile the book.

Graphic Design
From logo design, to billboard design. Students will be faced with the interesting task of how to guide a reader from panel-to-panel and page-to-page of a graphic story. Font choices and color all effect the design of sequential art and students will learn the fundamentals needed for a complete visual piece.

Each student will be responsible for creatively providing ideas, designs, concepts, sketches and/or writing solutions used to produce professional quality comic books and graphic novels. Through The Comic Book Studio, students will have the opportunity to create their own portfolio, be reviewed by other artists working in the industry, get hands on experience, and begin their journey into the world of graphic arts.

If you are interested in enrolling yourself or your child, please feel free to contact me on here or at martheus@toshigawa.com.
See you guys there!!




Comic Studio Supply List


Here is a list of supplies that each student (and comic book artist) will need for the Comic Studio Classes starting in December. This is not the be all end all list of comic book supplies. However, this is what we will be using in the classes. New supplies can be added as we advance further in classes. For those that are interested in classes, feel free to contact me here or by email at martheus@toshigawa.com!

8.5X11 Sketch BookPencils H, HB, 2B(These can be bought in a pack)

Non Repro Blue Pencil

Mechanical Pencils .05 or .07(These can be bought in a pack)

Pink Pearl Eraser

Micron Pens .005 .01 .03 .05 .08 1.0(These can be bought in a pack)

Black brush pen

Large Sharpie

Black India Ink

Paint Brush 02 and 14

Bristol Pad 14x17 or 11x17

Bristol Pad 9x12

Ruler

Friday, October 12, 2012

con essentials

we try to attend cons pretty regularly.  it's imperative to get out there & sell sell sell, especially if you're an independant creator.  sometimes we get asked about how to set up our booth/table or what items are must haves to make the set up look nice.

keep in mind, we do this all ourselves.  that includes the transporting, selling, set up, & break down.  so everything we take has to be compact & easy to carry.

essential supply list:
cash! (in 1s, 5s, & 10s)**
cash bag (you know, to keep the cash in...)**
invisible tape**
clear packaging tape**
duct tape**
scissors/exacto knife/box cutter**
post it notes or index cards**
sharpies**
stapler w/ extra staples**
safety pins**
extra large binder clips**
extension cord**
table cloth
background backdrop
stand up banner(s)
stand up files (to display books)
t stand (to display a tshirt)

the supplies indicated by the ** are what i call life savers.  i can't tell you how many times something w/ the displays come apart or or we forget to print out signage or the laptop's battery is dying & we need an outlet STAT!  these life savers fit nicely in the handy dandy file box or a large toolbox & can hide away underneath your table.  w/ any of these supplies, you can decide on whether to take w/ you or leave at home. 

how are you getting all this stuff to & from this con/show?
if you're driving to a con, pack whatever you can in the car.  books, prints, displays, etc. etc.  & don't forget to bringing the file box/toolkit o' supplies along can help spruce up your booth/table. 

if you're flying to a con, fedex can be your best friend.  because airline additional carry-on fees are not.  & i don't think they like you bringing scissors & exacto knives on planes anyway.  or if shipping to & from somewhere isn't in your budget, get creative in packing for the plane.  packing as few & interchangeable clothing items as possible so you can cram as many books (below the weight limit, of course) into your 1 allowable carry-on.  & don't forget your drawing supplies to make extra $ w/ on con sketches.  so in this case, think efficiency & travel as light as possible.

what are you selling?
books?  prints?  tshirts?  cups w/ a mule on them?  whatever you're selling, it's important to have some kind of order & neatness.  stack & group like items together.  books don't have to lay down; stand them up w/ file folder holders, available at any office store.  having a large portoflio to flip thru can efficiently display large prints & original art pages.  fold tshirts & have 1 hanging up on a tstand.  it's good to pay attention to how other booths are handling their displays too.  & it would be a good idea to take notes when you go to a department store or local book store (they still have those, rt?) when they have displays up.

what kind of space are you occupying? 
if you're lucky enough to snag a corner booth, then having a large, eye catching backdrop is always good.  make use of your table space.  have your merchanidse stand up facing potential customers as well as spread out across the table.

if you're in artist alley, they give you a small table w/ enough room to set up a sign that says "i draw for moneyz" & your art supplies & pad.  this is ok, because you're usually not suppose to sell merchandise in artist alley, so no need to worry about where your books/prints will go.  it's just you, man.  go make magic happen...w/ your pencil...

anywho, these are some pix from various cons we've attended. 

see how professional this looks?  make you wanna buy 1--no, 2 of everything, doesn't it?
 
a nice display for books.  i think this came from an actual shop supply store.
 
another way to set up your books.  stand up file holders!  available at any office depot.
 
nevermind the 2 slackers (& Muley) in the front.  look at the backdrops:  a big splash banner & a portable standup banner
 
dispalying prints can be tricky, but if you have a LOT, they can attract customers to your table.  ooo, purrty colors!

tshirts folded, cups stacked (w/ a baby Muley.  dawww!)

big eye catching backdrop, books standing up & in stacks, prints laid out nicely, & geeks w/ their best smiles on.
 
 hope this helps.  now get out there & sell your stuff!!!
 
~~j saltygirl wade




Thursday, October 4, 2012

Leland, MS Frogfest

This past weekend the MAW Productions gang took a little trip to Leland, MS, for Frogfest.  Here's a write up Janet did for the blog...

Leland is the hometown of muppets and Sesame Street creator, Jim Henson, and is also where the Jim Henson Museum is located.  We were invited to perform in two puppet shows, so of course we performed "Super Muley and the Cookie Caper".  Twas lots o' fun.

This wasn't our first time visiting Leland and the museum.  When we went in 2007 (you can see my post from the xanga days here), Kevin Williams had a Master Replicas stand up of Kermit to take pix of.  It was during that particular visit that this now iconic (according to the internetz) pic was taken...


We miss you, Jim Henson.  Pic taken in 2007.
So you know we had to replicate it, this time with Muley.

Muley pays respect to his inspiration.


We're being tourist-y.


Bufford, Roy Duck, Muley, and Missy


2012 Frogfest was awesome.  :)


This is definitely a great place to visit for a day trip or weekend trip.  You can check out more fun-filled pix of this trip on Muley's facebook (yeah, he has one; doesn't everyone?) here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

DA Copyright Law Panel from San Diego Comic Con



Excellent! Excellent panel from San Diego Comic Con about copyright law and how it effects fan art and commissions. There is a lot of helpful information in this video. So, listen up and know your rights and the rights of the creators whose characters you love most.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

MAW Productions Announces The Comic Studio


If you know me personally, then you know that this is a long time coming. I am excitied to be starting a new endeavor that I hope will be able to change some lives and help aspiring artists in the Memphis and surrounding area! I am a big advocate for giving kids (anyone really) a creative outlet to express themselves. The arts have helped me understand myself and others better as well as influence my community positively. That is why I want to pass on what I know and I’m starting The Comic Studio to do it.

The Comic Studio are art classes with a comic book twist. The classes taught will take an innovative approach to creative design that combines fine art, writing and graphic design skills and team them with goal setting techniques that will empower students to see projects through to completion. Courses will cover everything from photoshop techniques, to illustration techniques, to writing all from the perspective of comic book and graphic design creation. Thanks to Adam Shaw, classes will start in November at 2547 Broad Ave, Memphis TN! If you are interested in enrolling in classes, or you would like your child to take part in them, please feel free to message me as space will be limited. Also, I invite you to join our facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/267211640062353/. More updates will be posted there as well.

Thanks and I hope to see some of you in class!

OFFICIAL COMIC STUDIO PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact Persons for The Comic Studio:
Martheus A. Wade 
martheus@toshigawa.com 
www.toshigawa.com 

INDEPENDENT COMIC CREATOR PUTS A COMIC BOOK SPIN ON ART CLASSES 
September 5, 2012

Indy comic book creator, Martheus Wade, creator of the hit graphic novel series Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa and Turra: Gun Angel and art director for MAW Productions Studios, is proud to announce the formation of The Comic Studio, a series of classes that specialize in the art of comic book and graphic novel creation.

The Comic Studio will be art classes with a comic book twist. The classes take an innovative approach to creative design that combines fine art, writing and graphic design skills and team them with goal setting techniques that will empower students to see projects through to completion. Courses will cover everything from photoshop techniques, to illustration techniques, to writing all from the perspective of comic book and graphic novel creation. "I've always wanted to give back to the Memphis area," Martheus said. "The idea for the Comic Studio began when I taught comic illustration in the penitentiary system. There were some extremely talented individuals there that could have contributed so much to the art world if someone would have reached them early and helped develop their talent. I want to find that child before it's too late." Thanks to fellow artist and prolific painter, Adam Shaw, classes will start at his studio in November at 2547 Broad Ave, Memphis TN. "The revitalization of Broad Avenue as an arts district fits The Comic Studio perfectly," said Martheus. "It's the perfect place to open minds to the arts and the power of the graphic medium."

Classes start in November and will meet Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings. More information on times will be available in the coming weeks. Anyone interested in enrollment should contact Martheus Wade at martheus@toshigawa.com or join our facebook page, keyword: The Comic Studio. Free art tutorials are also available online at www.mawpro.com.

-more-

Martheus Antone Wade

Optioned for motion picture, Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa was created in 1985 by Martheus Antone Wade, a graduate of the University of Memphis. Martheus’ love for martial arts, along with his talent as a graphic artist, was a natural fit for creating exciting characters and imaginative storylines. He then began his carrier as an intern at Signature Advertising. After completing his internship, Martheus worked as graphic designer. After two years, Martheus struck out on his own as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator working with companies such as the Radison Hotel, Trust Marketing, Senior Services, The YWCA, The Girl Scouts Council of the Mid-South, and Special Olympics.

He has illustrated for Maximum CNG, Bloodstream for Image Comics, Shooting Star Comics, Chaos Campus for Approbation Comics and Andrew Dabb’s Slices just to name a few. Recently, he has worked on such titles as Action Man and Nanovor for IDW, Bad Girls Club for the Oxygen Network, and illustrated, wrote, and produced a comic book crossover with his title character, Jetta, and William Tucci’s, Shi. His work has been used for the movie Role Models from Universal Pictures as well as the instructional DVD and book, Hi-Fi Digital Color for Comics available from IMPACT Publishing.

Visit www.mawpro.com to see more of his work and artistic process .

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tutorial # 11 - Using References


To Use References or not


As always, I’d like to start this off by saying, these tips and thoughts are reflective of how I like to work. If they help you in your artwork, that’s great! It's the reason I do these. However, they are meant for you to use in order to enhance your own work. All of my ideas and techniques may not work for you. So, take what works best for you and apply it!

Here we go!

Referencing in comic book art has been one of those topics that has sparked heated debate. Some think that referencing from life, photography, etc. is a cheat and a way to steal art. On the other hand, there are artists who use referencing as a tool to enhance their pieces. So, do I use reference? Yes. However, that doesn’t take away from my creativity or my drive to create kinetic artwork. Using reference as a tool should not be confused with tracing art.

Referencing is not tracing


There are countless forums and topics where readers take an existing piece of art and overlay it with a page from their favorite book in an effort to show how the art from the comic book was traced. Here is where the confusion between tracing and referencing lay. In using reference, an artist is constantly looking to enhance the storytelling of their own work while keeping the illustration grounded in a reality that makes sense for the project. Referencing helps an artist figure out proportion, perspective, and purpose. (Remember those 3 P’s I talked about in Tutorial 7? If not, read it!) When I look at references, what I am looking for is the emotion or “performance” of that piece to help energize my artwork. I like to think of it as how animators referenced the action of the human body while they drew cell after cell. So, referencing (in my mind) is not tracing. 

How I use references


While I was surfing Facebook, I ran across a photo of Power Girl that I loved. Maybe it was because I love drawing Power Girl or maybe because it was the smile, but at any rate, it automatically made me want to sketch Power Girl. So I used a picture from Vegas Power Girl as a reference for my sketch. Check her cosplay photos out at http://www.facebook.com/VegasPG



What I enjoyed about the reference was the heroic yet relaxed way Power Girl was standing. I loved the weight the model held and the twisting of her body in space. Those where the things I wanted to keep in my sketch. I’m not much of a portrait artist, so, I knew going in that this would not be a direct portrait of Vegas Power Girl. Rather, it would be my interpretation of her mixed with my idea of Power Girl. With that in mind, I started sketching. 



I quickly found out that I didn’t want to place both hands on her hips like the reference. I wanted one hand to be up as if she was thinking. It originally was going to be joke. Her wondering if she would wear the old costume or the new one. The joke fell short when I realized that I was already sketching her with her old costume on. Oh well. I redrew the far arm and gave her head a slight tilt to show she was thinking.


After I got my general pose down, I used elements from past Power Girl illustrations I'd done with details, attitude shading and weight of Vegas Power Girl to finish out my pencils for the sketch. Moving onto the inks, I found that, because the photograph is taken at a slight angle (and since I was sketching my Power Girl straight on) the legs and hips of my drawing had to be lengthened to offset the curve of the photographers lens. (See! Reference is not tracing.) I corrected that in the inking process and took out some of the shading I added in during the penciling process so I could have cleaner lines. 


And there you have it. I use references to inform my eye and make my pieces stronger. Use your reference to explore the world around you and infuse your work! 

Here is the fun part of this tutorial. Download a copy of the finished, inked illustration of Power Girl and color her. I want to see what you guys and gals can do and, this ties into the next tutorial which will be huge! Once you are finished, upload your piece to our facebook page and let us have a look!! So, warm up photoshop, get that wacom working and get to coloring! 


Also, if you are looking for help referencing for fight sequencing and action poses, look no further! Check out our Martial Arts Pose File Book! What you will find that sets this one apart is our emphasis on correct fighting and technique. In this book, you will find many different techniques that will be presented in three different ways. The first set of photographs will show you a posed version of the technique. The second set will show you an in action version of the same technique. The third section will show you these techniques in a combat one on one situation. It does not matter if you are a martial artist . If you are an artist, this book is for you.
Order your book here!



 
Be sure to check out our next tutorial! And now I leave you with your reference moment of zen!