Thursday, November 18, 2010

For my next trick...

I seem to think it a good idea to finish the whole comic in a low quality. My goal will be to give myself a limited amount of time to work on each page and record the observations and results. I'll start with 1:30 and adjust as needed. Basically, I want a readable copy finished which I'll then follow up with notes on how to improve.

My first hour I realized something: The end results of my drawings are the same. I want to solve the problem at the root, rather than waste time finishing a drawing of poor quality and continuously improve it until I'm satisfied. If I solve the problems as soon as possible and replace the bad habits with good ones... Well, who knows what could happen. It sounds a little crazy if you ask me.

Let's look at my first specimen.

Stage 1: This drawing has some nice energy to it, looking back. Why did I take the handles out? Oh wait, it's because I'm too lazy to figure out how handles work!

Here's an attempt to make the hands look more natural when holding a sword. I think I'll go back and do something similar to the hands in the blue sketch.

A cleanup. Notice all the problems and how I didn't take time to fix them. I wasn't completely focused on the drawing.

Again, rather than fixing the problems, I go ahead and finish the drawing. Nice job... As a side note, I need to find a way to vary the line quality. Perhaps turning the opacity down more on the under drawing so I can see the line variation better.

On the surface, the line quality isn't very good. However, line quality ultimately doesn't matter. If the drawing isn't appealing, then it is the drawing itself and not the finish. There are several construction problems to work out:

The left side of the hair shape.
Sword hilt.
Sheath clasps.

You have to be able to consistently draw well constructed layout drawings before doing faster versions from which to ink. Let me say that again: There are no shortcuts. Pay attention to what you're drawing and ask whether what you're doing makes sense or not.

Steps for improvement-
1) Have model
2) Construct drawings

Begin with those two steps and record the results.

Looks like most of the old problems are solved. Honestly, it isn't that drastic a change. It looks like the sword hilt is better constructed. My hands overall need work. The line quality is better, but not great. I think the shopkeeper's head should be lowered significantly and replaced with sparkles and such.

I'll stop working on this drawing for now and pick another panel.


Ok, so I've done quite a few things in the last few hours. I seem to have built up a bunch of problems subconsciously, resulting in an overload of failures. So, let me see if I can't define all the problems down one by one and decide what to do next.

I don't have all the variations of this panel, but what was going on during this time was experimentation with line thickness and stroke. I dropped the thickness from (probably) .80 mm down to .70 mm in .05 mm intervals. The goal was to get the same 'default' line that Akira Toriyama has. This also led for a brief experiment with stroke. The only purpose was to give the option 'another shot' to try to emulate the g-pen look. Stroke on definitely does achieve the g-pen look but it doesn't look like Toriyama's style nor my own.

Here is a panel with what I consider to be the ideal thickness to shoot for. Actually, the balance is very good too, so I should say this is the ideal drawing. This drawing was not achieved with stroke on, and it was drawn in the .80 mm range. It doesn't necessarily emulate on the surface Akira Toriyama's inking style.

Also during this time, I began to experiment with blacks and shapes. I don't have any examples and I'm not going to make any new ones, but as an example I took the shopkeepers hair and made it black and then played around with the proportions. This didn't last very long, but I imagine it contributed to some of the anxiety build-up.

I was reading some One Piece during a break and I noticed that the character lines are inked quickly and almost crudely. Actually, I've noticed this before. The main point is that the drawing has to be appealing without the finish in order to be a good drawing. I keep gravitating toward the line quality instead of finding out how to fix the drawing itself.

So now that I've resolved that conflict, it's back to work.

Here's the best solution to my problem so far. I've found a pen with a uniform line that I'm drawing with. I seem to be able to cut right to the chase in terms of seeing construction problems right away without distractions.

Here are a few successes:

These all look like they're constructed just fine. I'm glad I barreled through this problem. Maybe for the next step I should ink a couple of these and see how they turn out... Or maybe I should draw some other characters. Hmm...

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