Collecting => Fan Art => Topic started by: Thomas Grey on June 21, 2004, 10:19 PM

Title: Chewie?
Post by: Thomas Grey on June 21, 2004, 10:19 PM
I'm posting 2 new pieces I've been working on lately for a small portfolio/ashcan to give-away at a local convention of sorts...

The first is the cover and while I would like to say it is Chewbacca, it's actually supposed to be Bigfoot/Sasquatch, i. e. the 'Unexplained' title... The second is based on a character that was in a dream I had once. I was driving a bus and he was in my way and yelling at me with all these distorting and disturbing faces. I am trying to make more dream inspired drawings as I have had some doozies (Brad, can you relate?)

I have been struggling with ink & brush now for about 7 months and these are break-through pieces for me. Sasquatch took about 10 - 15 hours and it's all brush and the original is 7' x 9'. It looks prretty good here because I can manipulate the value levels. I am finding it to be quite difficult to find or try and create an ink concoction that will give opaque black the first time and stay after erasing. No lead means less opacity. I have tried the Raphael Kolinsky sable brushes and they just did not do it for me. I have tried many lately (at $20+ a piece, I'm getting sick of testing) and the Windsor & Newton series 7 is by far the best and most consistent. I buy them in bulk from Dick Blick, check through them (about 1 in every 5 is prime) and send back the others. I am using a base of Black Magic ink, Black Cat (Blick) and whatever else is around when I need to fill. I let the Black Magic sit out for a day or so to thicken it up and then add some Black Cat to top it off and mix and start brushing. I just finished the cover to my comic and I spent at least 40 hours redoing areas or correcting mistakes. Through that trial, I learn so much and improved my ability and speed. The key is always staying patient and not getting ahead and keeping that brush loaded. Some might think detail should be done with a Cro-Quill or something, but brush can get you 1 hair lines if you practice. The only thing that it's not good for is straight lines and I use a Rapido-Graph for that.

The type is hand lettered (traced it after creating it in Adobe Illustrator and then gave it that rough texture with brush. I saw a similar font in an old Spectre comic book recently and borrowed it. Anyway, I am still in the experimental stage with style (been reading too much Charles Burnes and '50's comics lately), but I like the direction and I am finally becoming confident and proud of my drawings again (haven't felt like this for at least 10+ years).  I do it whenever I can and I guess that is a good reason why I have improved (in my mind) so much in these last few months. Hope you all like 'em!

Replaced the former with a better scan 8/8/04.
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Thomas Grey on June 21, 2004, 10:21 PM
Here's the back cover with the head freak...

Replaced with a better scan 8/8/04.
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Angry Ewok on June 22, 2004, 01:11 AM
As always, very amazing stuff - I especially like the "faces" guy... I had a similar guy in a dream back a year ago (it's reoccured only a few times since then, I think) where the person could morph his face into people I held feelings for - he'd make some sort of expression of pain/agony to scare the hell out of me, naturally I'd fear for the safety of whichever person who he morphed his face into and thus I'd let my guard down. A dream like that touches at your subconscious and you wake up knowing who you really care for, and in what order. :-\

Very good execution of the faces - each face has a unique expression and shape. Great.

The distant relative of the wookie is very good, too. I especially like the way you've done the teeth. The part I'm most impressed with (now don't get mad at me!) is the text - stencil or carbon-paper transfer or not - it just looks very appropriate. Good stuff.

Edit - do you think I should scan some of the sketches I've got in my bedside sketchpad? That's where 90% of the creepy stuff ends up, as soon as I wake up from a dream I'll sketch whatever details I think are worthy saving.
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Thomas Grey on June 22, 2004, 07:11 PM
Thanks Brad. Being a dedicated artist rarely pays the bills but the satisfaction one gets from something that has a lot of time and effort in it is payment enough I guess. Hope I can someday do some side thing at least and bring in a little extra for doing what I love.

As far as the bedside sketches are concerned, I'd say that you are your worst critic and if you like them and are proud enough to post them, then do. If not I would say you take them and draw them again and expand and do them the way they ought to be done. If you want me to check them out, send them or something. I'm always interested in what your brain is capable of...

Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Thomas Grey on July 14, 2004, 03:32 PM
Here's another addition to my 'Unexplained' folio...
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Bob Crane on July 15, 2004, 11:38 PM
Here's another addition to my 'Unexplained' folio...

 Excellent, it bears a mental parallel with Humwawa of the South Winds.

Ps. Would I be correct in assuming you are an admirer of EC?
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Thomas Grey on July 16, 2004, 09:44 PM
Yes, and a huge one at that. I hunt constantly for comics from the '50s put out by EC and the romance comics. I look for the most used and tattered because I want the art, and do not care about the collectibility too much. But yes, I am obsessed right now with the Golden/Silver age stuff that is more obscure and less superhero.

I think that people really cared about quality then and the majority of the people drawing comics at that time were actually good and talented. I think the industry has sacrificed a lot and they are more concerned with deadlines than quality or talent. There are a lot of bad artists working in comics now because the meet their deadlines. It's a shame.
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Angry Ewok on July 17, 2004, 06:52 PM
Thomas, got a question for ya - On the Gretchen you've got lots of perfect patterns going on, reminds me of the half-tone pattern print... Did you use some sort of screen or something to put these down? I asked my instructor the same question regarding 'The Crow' cells, and he said there's some sort of screen or filter that you can press perfect patterns down. I've never heard of any kind of tool,  ???...

I think Gretchen is my favorite, now, by the way.
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Thomas Grey on July 17, 2004, 10:19 PM

Yeah dude, it's called Zip-A-Tone, or at least it used to be. I really like experimenting with it and creating textures by overlapping it or combining it with brush or other Zip. I'm not sure what it's called today but it is a specific pattern with an adhesive backing. Zip has died out and this is a really popular Manga tool now. You have to order it in bulk from Japanese Manga sites or just go hunting in art supply stores. Ask if they have any Zip-A-Tone or Chartpack stuff. They'll usually say they trashed it, but sometimes they have a forgotten stash they'll let you go through and give you great rates.

I was cleaning out my grandparents house before it was sold to salvage what I could. A graphic artist friend left a bunch of stuff unclaimed and I found a stellar and large cache of original and pristine Zip-A-Tone of many different patterns and textures.

I don't like so much as a tool to fill space as I do the effect it gives and the old school feel. A teacher and comic artist told me if he puts it on his art for DC comics, the printers or editors just rip it up and computer generate fill. I just think the time and care it takes to apply it says a lot about the art. I like computers, but if I can avoid them in my comic stuff, I will! I am too much of a purist...
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Thomas Grey on July 18, 2004, 03:29 PM
If you are interested Brad, the current term for Zip-A-Tone is 'Screen Tone' or 'Youth Screen Tone' and it is usually a tool associated with Manga. Here is a link if you are interested in ordering some. It's fairly reasonable and I would venture to say you could find it cheaper.

there's a $2 catalogue of screen tone you can order too:
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Angry Ewok on July 18, 2004, 04:03 PM
So is it like a stencil that you paint over, remove, then there's a cool design left on the page? Sounds kind of like silk-screening...  :-\ Okay I don't mean to hijack the thread, sorry.  :-[
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Thomas Grey on July 18, 2004, 05:04 PM
No, that's cool. I do not feel hi-jacked...

It is a page about 9" x 12" with a specific tone or pattern (like pointilism or hatching). The pattern or tone is printed a certain point size (large and spaced wide to small and close together that will determine the tone (value, lightness/darkness) of the area you want to fill. The pattern is printed in black on clear thin film with adhesive backing and it is adhered temporarilly to a slick paper.

So, if I have a area I want to fill with a dot pattern, I take my zip sheet and place it over that area and then use an X-Acto blade lightly to cut out an area that is bigger all the way around. I peel this cut shape off of the Zip sheet and place it over the area on my art. I do not press down too much to allow me the ability to peel it back up if need be. I then cut the area precisely so it looks as semmless as possible and lift the remaining zip and place it back on the sheet for later use. Then I take a piece of paper and place it on the Zip I just laid down and use a blunt tool or burnisher to smooth it out and make it stick well.

It is not wat you thought Brad, but your idea is pretty cool. They use to have dry transfer pattern that was unpredictable and you would transfer it by rubbing it onto the page with a burnishing tool. The results would usually be random and not uniform. I have some of this that I use from time to time to create texture that I want to be rough and that I can go over to create interesting gradations.

Anyway, that's the process and how it is done. It's clear adhesive film with a pattern on it.

Other good tools for creating good texture that is not uniform are small spounges, toothbrushes for random splatter dots (good for stars with correction fluid) and a China Marker (these are basically grease pencils and give you more control to create a dry brush effect). Dry brush is good, but it's hard to get the same effect when you have to do more than a small area. It also can destroy a good brush.

They gave an exercise in inking class where we had to use whatever we thought would work that wasn't an existing inking tool. I used toothpicks, twigs, dry hard grass, shoelace tips, what ever and some worked and some didn't. But it's only limited to what you allow yourself to work with. Experimentation is important to find techniques and effects that will work for texture in certain instances.

Enough with Zip and Ink 101...
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Thomas Grey on August 8, 2004, 08:27 PM
I updated the bigfoot and the head guy with better scans.

I am giving up on this because it's not coming out as I had hoped and I keep losing the changes in value by overworking the hatching on her face. But, I wanted to post it as a testament to doing all these little hatching lines with a brush. It took a while, but I am happy to report that it is possible with the right brush and practice and patience...

Working on more wierd folio stuff and talking to Mike Baron about doing a comic that he writes that is 'True Crime' ish. He's impressed with my progress and since I'm taking his class in the fall, he said he's into trying it. For me, that's a pretty damn sweet compliment and it may actually push me over the 'getting a comic done' hump...
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Angry Ewok on August 9, 2004, 02:16 PM
The Bigfoot doesn't look like its been changed, just given a better scan, but I see you finished up the body of the multi-faced guy... I like the finished piece, very cool. Okay so whats the story behind the beauty queen and the 'Unexplained', ???!
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Thomas Grey on August 10, 2004, 03:17 PM
I was or am going to have her holding a hot, apple pie. The background was/is going to be nuclear reactors, waste and then a giant mushroom cloud. I wanted to show this all American beauty with that classic '50's smile in a volatile environment. Just how many people can block out the most horrid things and be oblivious or ignore the harshness of reality. I constantly see people pretending or looking through or past the homeless beggers and the ugly side of the world. I also like the relationship of the beautiful and the ugly. The juxtaposition of the two in one composition always interests me for some reason.
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Angry Ewok on August 10, 2004, 06:21 PM
Sounds very cool - keep me up to date on the Beauty Queen if you do decide to go with it.  ;)
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Thomas Grey on August 10, 2004, 09:24 PM
I kind of lost interest for now, but will keep you updated if I decide to see it through. Trying to devise a short story to do art for that is horror/romance genre. Also attempting to create some cartoons and art to submit to various magazines (New Yorker, Diamond Select...). Diamond Select is doing a contest for fan art. I don't have the specifics in front of me, but if you are interested, I'll get it to you. What filling your sketchbook these days Brad?
Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Angry Ewok on August 10, 2004, 11:53 PM
Armor-clad Angels (both good and evil), black birds (crows mostly), and I'm still working on human anatomy so there are alot of torso and full-body sketches. I've been doing alot of Cowboy themed things (boots, spurs, and panchos have been creeping their way into my dreams alot lately) and as always lots of Sci-Fi stuff.

I've been sticking with just a plain old mechanical pencil lately because of my lacking time to really use anything else. It's depressing that I don't have time to even play around with an ebony pencil and a kneaded eraser and smudge stick anymore.

I'm sending you a PM with a few paragraphs of ranting and moaning. Check your inbox,  :P.

Title: Re: Chewie?
Post by: Thomas Grey on August 13, 2004, 04:55 AM
Okay Brad. I can't send you these in an IM and prefer to just do it here vs. email in case anyone else might be interested. I can finally post 2 images too! Wow!

Before I address the image, I want to give the info on the Diamond Select Art Submission thing:

Previews wants your drawings! Compete for the "Star Artist of the Month" spot and win free stuff with the "How to Draw Comics Previews Contest".

The subject matter must be based on "New Comic Day". What that means is beyond me, but I assume it's just a one page original comic book art piece that relates to new comics being released. Not necessarilly titles, but in the spirit of... This month's Previews was "How to Draw Comics Month". I'll look into defining it further...

The winner gets their art printed in the (October) Previews and posted on their site. They and 2 runners up also receive "loads of How to Draw Comics-related merchandise". Submissions must be received by August 27th.

For a PDF of the rules and entry form go to:

I'm not sure I'll do it, but if I do not try, I'll never know...

Now to the art...

This is in regards to your planet art piece Brad. I was talking about all the possibilities and textures you can get with ink and inking related materials. This is half of a 2-Page splash by Carmine Infantino that appeared in a story by Chris Claremont in Starlord magazine #15. It's not planets or space, but an amazing example of a lot of different inking approaches, textures and styles. Most of this is ink and brush, but the line quality varies to establish the illusion of space. Different textures are drawn to establish what is is we are looking at and to separate each object or area drawn from another. I love the composition and how the inked lines guide your eye. The wrap around the guy hanging upside down stands out clearly from him. It may seem easy, but things can get muddy pretty quick if you let them when inking. The other texture in there is from a China Marker (grease pencil). It's a much more consistent and effective way to create a dry brush effect. Obviously, this is about the placement of light and thin lines and dark, thick line. It's also about the use of black space. Any more or any less would shift the balance completely. I just think this is a prime example of a well inked page...

The second is a frame from the same story. This is the more planetary/space image obviously. The stars and the starburst are done with a liquid masking agent and a toothbrush. Just a few calculated (yeah right) flicks along the toothbrush bristles and you have your stars. Let it dry and black it out. He probably masked the planet too by the way. The smaller (and very cool) star dust effect is done with the toothbrush, but after most of the liquid mask has been flicked off. He concentrated on an area and held the brush downward and flicked ever so slowly to get that fine and minute dusting effect.

The planet has several techniques that give it the texture it needs to look rough and planet-like (God, I sound so condescending... - sorry). Most of his you probably see or know, but I'm being thorough. The light source is tricky here as the Starburst appears to be the sun and it wraps around the planet lighting up all sides. The darker is obviously to the left and the crosshatching to the edge gives a sort of sunset effect. The hatching is only on the left side and then black out in the mid areas with scatterings of white to add to the texture developing on the right. Loose brush strokes, spontaneous hatch lines and some China Marker. hina Marker is aways last as it is waxy and will resist the ink. Now there are many other possibilities that could have been used here. Zip-A-Tone for more texture, spounging the ink in light blots for a more crater-like effect...

The point is, that ink gives you a pretty wide range of possibility when dealing with space and if you are painting with color, dyes or colored inks/liquid acrylics/watercolors/gouache can give you the same kinds of results on top of the ink after it dries as it is water proof. Don't know why I decided to take this and run, but thought it might help in some way for the future or if you wanted to redraw what you turned in.

Hope it helped in some way. I actually am thinking I should just do a large splash page of a planet/space scene for portfolio purposes to showcase my ability to use all these different inking techniques in one composition. It would at least be fun to experiment and play with. I'm done boring you and everyone else...