Tag Archives: Star Wars

Character design, parts 4 and 5

4 Aug

I did quite some sketching with a colored pencil and picked the drawings I thought were the most promising, which I inked with a Micron pen.

Character design, part 4Character design, part 5

This is not the final version of the design. I will keep drawing these characters as long as I see that they are getting better. My inspiration is the Star Wars 5 motion picture.

That is all.

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Character design, part 3

3 Aug

There are some things I don’t actually understand and have to study more carefully. How does Princess Leia wore her hair in Star Wars 5? How do you actually draw a Chibi character? What does a woman wear if it’s not a t-shirt and pants?

character design, part 3

I checked my local public library and they do have some magazine for women’s fashion. Alas I had forgotten my pass, so I couldn’t lend the magazine.

That is all.

Character design, part 2

2 Aug

So this book by Tom Bancroft, called Creating Characters with Personality is giving me all kinds of ideas how to create stronger drawings. What you don’t want is bland drawings, that evoke no special appeal or message. It also means that you need to have a good idea of what you’re going to draw in your head, and not just draw because you can.
Character design, part 2

I guess it is clear from the drawing above what was my inspiration for drawing Princess Blandy (with her pompons on the sides of her head) , Look Allthumbs, and the one who has a dark patchy thingy on his cape, Lord Dork Mannor. Of course, you should always use your fork.

I’m sure I could make this much stronger. According to Bancroft there are two types of character designers, those who design new characters (which he calls blue sky designers), and those who refine characters which were made by the blue sky designers (which he calls character polishers). Most character designers are one or the other, a designer who can do both is rare.

Anyway, the book tries to teach you on what to concentrate, so you don’t waste your time on things you don’t want to create. As always (and Bancroft agrees with me on this in his preface), there are many ways to skin a cat. Furthermore he is a character designer for animation, and writes that, for him, drawing American mainstream comic book characters is exhausting, because of all the detail you put in those characters. I guess that means you have to interpret his words, and translate the ideas behind to what applies to your particular craft, for instance comic books.

I think once I have done the exercises in this book, I will write a review and publish it here.

That is all.

Use The Force to get an F

1 Aug

Let us be clear. Star Wars is not science fiction, not a fictional work based on science. It is a fairy tale, a fantasy story. That it is based in space does not make it more real.

Use The Force to get an F

I’m sure if you would try to write an essay on The Force in Science Class you would be rewarded with an F. The Force stands for failure. It brought Anakin Skywalker nothing but grief. Lord Helmet, oh sorry, Darth Vader was a big failure. You cannot command people with fear and threat, however powerful you are.

But then, the people in Star Wars aren’t people, because they live long ago in a galaxy far away. Human beings live on Earth not in the Star Wars universe. To give them human emotions is just as unfair as giving human feelings to our pets. More unfair even, because the creatures in the Star Wars universe aren’t even related to life on Earth. We have more in common with an earth worm than with a humanoid in the Star Wars universe.

In fact, why do we care? Those creatures aren’t even human and are devoid of human thought, emotions and motivation.

Star Wars makes no sense whatsoever. It is a fun series to watch though, as a piece of fiction, that is. Some people take it far too serious, as if it could really happen. Yeah, when pigs fly.

That is all.

Slave Leia, part 9

31 Jul

Slave Leia, part 9I 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.

Slave Leia, part 8

28 Jul

Of course, the previous drawing couldn’t continue its way into the oblivion of being forgotten by the artist on purpose, without at least one retry, so I could perhaps learn something from it. I penciled this one completely from memory, with the exception of the weapon. I peeked a little bit at the original reference photo, although not too closely.

Slave Leia, part 8

I first roughly sketched her pose with a true-line, a line true the core of her body (or where her body is supposed to be. That didn’t work out completely, but it helped me to get there 80 percent. That last 20 percent was just hard work by drawing, redrawing and re-evaluating the overall pose.

If you look closely, you can see I used a body length of five heads, giving her a more teenage appearance. I tried to accentuate that by placing the eyes a little bit higher in the head than you would when drawing an adult. On the other hand, I took great care to make her legs longer than half the her body length, which is more like the proportions in an adult woman. I think this combination works great in comics.

In hindsight, I could have given her a somewhat broader hips, not much, just a tad. Drawing is often about those seemingly frivolous details, not because of a nerdy deposition of the draftsperson (although it helps), but because such details are unconsciously noticed by others. It says something non-verbally about your character.

I guess if you design a character you have to weigh all these factors, visualize it, and then draw like crazy to get the right feel in your motor neuron memory (aka muscle memory).

In short, it is a lot of work, and you really have to like doing it, if you want to keep doing it. Drawing comics art is not for the lazy among us. But if you’re eager to work hard, long hours, and curious about the world, other artists and learning new things, you have what it takes to draw comics.

That is all.

With great freedom comes great responsibility

28 Jul



Steps to Freedom

Originally uploaded by coruscantcouture

I used this photo as my reference for a new drawing. It has the title “Steps to Freedom”. I took the liberty to change the perspective. However, you have to think it through some more, otherwise you end up with an unusable drawing, like the one below.

Slave Leia, part 7

I can see why the photographer has chosen his point of view. He wanted all of Leia and her weapon to be in view. In the perspective I have chosen for my sketch, that is not really possible without making Leia really small (or draw on a very large piece of paper. There is a logic to picking a camera angle. As a draftsman you have the freedom to pick your own angle, but I guess you can’t just pick any angle. It has to make sense.

That is all.