Tuesday, November 24, 2009

hey kids, PROCESS!!!...

... and who doesn't love a little bit of procedural navel-gazing once in a while? now that i'm a regular-type illustrator i've been trying to build up some kind of cohesive portfolio again.

well, maybe not "again" as i never really had one to begin with. i went straight from college to alcoholism to animation to deeper alcoholism to fantasy/gaming illustration to penury to comics to... well, nothing really. i've done the odd "straight" illustration job here or there, but never frequently enough to build anything out of, and the real shame of comics is that after twelve years of doing primarily comics all you have is a portfolio full of... comics.

so it behooves me now to start developing a process by which i can meet deadlines and show some consistency on more conventional illustration jobs. after playing around a bit i decided to approach it very much like i do my comics work (at least it was valuable for something... *), and i'm really happy and excited about the results!

first: the sketch.

this is the cleaned up sketch. i'll save you seeing any of my scratchy, crazy-pants doodles. this would be what the client sees. just a simple pencil drawing on typing paper, once i've worked out all the compositional elements in the doodles.

second: a cleaner inked sketch.

this was done with markers right over the first. it's really just to clean everything up for me and incorporate any changes or added elements the client may suggest after seeing the first sketch. in this case "the client" being my european rep and the concept being his, there weren't a lot of changes to be made...

third: now here's the fun bit. i took it into photoshop and, fiddling around in utilities, turned the black ink line into an orange/sepia colour that i often use when laying down my underpaintings.

this is exactly the same technique i use when i'm bluelining layouts for comics and advertising work, just playing around with the rest of the spectrum instead. the benefit of this is getting a perfect transfer of what the client signed off on AND keeping all the spontaneity and energy of the original drawing. i blew this up and printed it off onto 2 ply strathmore with my tabloid printer.

four: ...er... then i painted it.

the final painting was done with whatever dead brushes were at hand and daler rowney gouache. (btw, if anyone knows a good online source for DR that isn't prohibitively expensive in canada please let me know. i'm starting to run out and there really isn't anywhere to get it in ottawa anymore). i like daler rowney paints because, as i think i've mentioned before, i find them to be "creamier".

if i've done my job the right the final should resemble something approaching what is to my mind the pinnacle of gouache paintings: the 1969 poster for "the computer wore tennis shoes" that's hanging in my studio.

(* sorry if that sounds a bit harsh or negative, but the last four months or so haven't left me terribly well disposed toward the industry. that said, for all my belly-aching, i'd probably jump right back into it if it gave me the slinky wink... )


Feenomite said...

Is a printer that can handle 11x17 strathmore board prohibitively expensive?
And does it scan as well?

Brian Churilla said...

Tom - I love seeing process stuff. Your art is endlessly inspiring. Thanks for sharing. It's criminal you aren't doing more comics right now.

Feenomite - I got an Epson 1400 that prints up to 13" X 19" for $275 new.

tomfowler said...

hi feenomite. let me take these one at a time.

i've got an epson 2200 stylus printer that can print 13x up to 45(?) with archival ink. bought it a few years ago. i've also got an 11x17 brother scanner/printer/copier (which i described in the comments section a couple of posts ago). it can print up to A3 on heavier stock but since i've already got the epson and it's archival i've never really had reason to test it.

where i'm referring to things being "prohibitively expensive" i'm not talking about strath (which i actually get a break on at one of the local stores) or even daler rowney products, but the excessive shipping/tax/customs/brokerage charges tacked onto online purchases from the mostly non-canadian artsites. if anyone knows of a good one that ships within canada or from outside cheaply enough to make it worthwhile, please... i'm all ears.

hi brian. thanks very much. as i said i'd LOVE to do more comics work, but if i can't make a living doing it, then it's going to have to take a backseat for now. i am working on something now, though... i'm just not getting paid for it. hence the rep.

ricard efa said...

Nice work Tom!

I have an HP 1220C that prints to A3, and i used to print on Arches watercolor paper (the hot pressed 300 gr's one) the same that uses Guarnido for his "Blacksad", and it's a paper that handle really well gouache and acrylic too...

and I agree, your career looks pretty much like mine's...

tomfowler said...

ricard, i really hope things for you are going better than that...

(sideways winking smiley-face)