I think I’m getting the hang of this. The sketch took only 40 or so minutes to make, first with red pencil, then inking with rollerball pen, inking with reed pen and Indian ink, and correcting with white out. The digital clean-up and coloring took the same amount of time, 40 minutes.
Being able to work faster is important if you want to create comics. Now story-wise being able to draw convincingly isn’t that important, because you can still convey what you want to say. However in my own experience, if the artwork is really bad (chicken scratches), the attention gets shifted towards the artwork, and it is less about the story in that situation. If that is what you want, then ok, but in most cases you want the art to be an integral part of the story in words and pictures, so the reader gets drawn into the story. A certain story needs a certain type of artwork in my humble opinion as a wannabe comics creator. If that is true, a limited skill level as a visual artist limits what kind of stories you are able to tell that appeal to other people.
However great the drawing may appear to some people, I think I still need quite some life drawing, like I did yesterday. Brief sketches of people on the move force you to concentrate and simplify. Now that is an important tool to have as a comics creator.
As an aside, I’ve looked into doing figure drawing with (payed) nude models, through community college. However, the basic costs (330 Euros for 30 lessons) doesn’t include paying for the model (depends on the number of participants), nor the costs of the materials. I guess if you can afford that because you already have a descent income, it is a good solution, but not having income from my art at this moment, I really can’t justify such an investment. Mind you, these art lessons are still subsidized.
What I also dearly miss in this community college education are any guarantees that these lessons are any good, or just meant to keep amateurs busy thinking they actually learn something. Knowing some of the art teachers by having been instructed by them, I’m afraid it is the latter. Good art teachers are a rarity, alas. Many want you to do what they have been taught in art school, instead of managing and supporting an artist in what he or she wants. The latter might not be the direction in which the art teacher went. Some also never seem to question if what they have been taught is actually of any use in practice. Art school isn’t the be all and end all of art education, in my opinion. It is just something to get you started, to give you a bag of tricks, which you should expand upon when you bring theory into practice.
So for now I muddle on with what is available and affordable.
Even while I’m quite pleased with my colored ink drawing, I’m still a long way off from drawing characters from imagination. Drawing from a reference photo is one thing, and with imagination you can even represent the woman in the drawing as a magical creature. You can deviate somewhat from the pose in a reference photo, but if it gets too much, the viewers have to work hard to suspend their disbelieve, and they are taken out of the story.
I think that is because we see humans (or things that look like human) so often, that we instantly spot any deviations from the norm. That intuitive knowledge doesn’t tell us, though, how to make it right. If one doesn’t know better, it would involve a lot of redrawing until a good pose is found. I think it is much better if you understand how to construct a human being without any reference, and only use reference material to strengthen your initial sketch.
I think that is about all I have to write at this moment about this subject.