Friday, May 06, 2011

Comic Twart: Panda experiment

Hey everyone,

Haven't done a process post in a while, so figured I'd do one this week for you guys.

This was my week to pick a character for Comic Twart. I wanted to stick with the theme of Latina characters in comics, and was going to choose Renee Montoya but decided on Panda Delgado from Body Bags. She's not as noble a character, but I figured she'd be fun for the fellas to draw.

Anyway, everyone has been talking about using Google sketchup for things like guns, cars, building, etc. I know lots of comic artists use it, but it still always seemed like cheating to me. (I know, I know... a tool is a tool. I know it's NOT cheating. Chill!)

I've used it as a reference tool, where I'd look at the thing on screen then draw it. The same way you might use a photo. But I never just printed images of guns out to ink.

I have this big collection of toy guns for reference, and take great pride in the fact that I've always acurately drawn guns by hand. Just see my run on G.I. JOE. All those guns were all done by hand, using a toy as a model.

But I thought I'd give Sketchup a shot for the guns in this piece. So I penciled the art, and left out the guns.

Then picked a 3D model in Sketchup, and dropped them into the drawing after scanning it into Photoshop. After that I free-transformed the gun till they were the size I needed, and I drew the hands around it.

Then I converted it all into a light blue, printed it onto a new board, and inked it.

After that I rescanned it as line art, and colored it using Photoshop and a Wacom tablet.

I have to say, although I like the illustration on a whole, I'm not really happy with the Sketchup models. I mean, the models are fine as reference, but printing them out to ink isn't working for me 100%. It looks Ok, I guess, but in the end I don't think it saved me enough time to justify the cheat. I'm also just not crazy with the look of it. If I'd drawn the guns by hand I would have adjusted it, "cartooned" it up to fit the drawing more.

Still, it can be a valuable tool for anyone willing to put in the time to use it right. My personal opinion is that if all you're gonna do it trace the 3D models then you're going to end up with a dead drawing. Try to learn to draw this stuff, get a feel for how it should look,then use these tools. Cartooning can be done with any tool, but tracing is always bad.

Again, no diss to anyone using 3D models well. Some dudes have it figured out,and I tip my hat to them. They're the reason I tried this experiment out in the first place.



eye-melt said...

Good to see you actually traced the 3D model though. The thing that some people do is just drop the model into the finished drawing (I am guilty of sometimes doing this). Like you said, it can look pretty dead, and out of place, even more so if the lines are all exactly the same weight (and differ to the actual drawing). But props to the ones who pull it off. I hadn't noticed on your drawing until you mentioned it, even then the tracing hid it pretty well. Nice piece.

Mike Hawthorne said...

Yeah, I think you still do have to ink it by hand. It makes it work, at least a little.

Glad it works, but I'm thinking I'll still go back to drawing it by hand using ref.


Patrick Hoover said...

I'd have to agree with you, Mike. It does tend to look a little out of place with the drawing. Proportions are pushed in such a fun way...and the guns look so...normal.
Besides, you've spent so much time training the ol' eyeballs to do it by hand, it'd be a shame to start using a program to do it for you.
Still, nice work as usual.

Patrick said...

Well, I know a couple people that use Sketch Up for laying out buildings/rooms, etc. but it is all for design and layout work. So personally, I think it is a valuable "tool".

That being said, good to see the Body Bags art. So miss that series/book.

Jason P. having fun. Love the B/W version of this picture. And not trying to be critical, but I think the large volume of red overwhelms me on the last version.

Still gorgeous though.

Jason Pearson said...

One Word- Perfect! Your take on Mack inspires me. You nailed him, man. Your Panda loses no attention even though she is swamped by the size of her father. Love the composition! Love the simplicity of the colors! Thank you so much.!! I have a print out on my desk. I still want that original although! Money? Trade? Just tell me.
-Jason Pearson

Mike Hawthorne said...

Man, you flatter me more than I deserve! I've always been a big fan. the art is yours, I just gotta get off my lazy ass and mail it to you! Sorry...

Thanks again!