Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Break it down



Wonderful Wizard of Oz #2 is in stores today.  Go grab your copy!

This has been a very interesting ride so far, and we've got along time yet to go.  I've been drawing monthly comics for the last 8 years and I this project is a big first.  Despite how fun it can be to draw Spidey, Wolverine, or any other classic comic, the thrill always seems to simmer down.  Don't get me wrong, drawing comics is always fun.  But sometimes you may think a project will be the perfect one, and something always seems to change your mind.  We all have specific tastes.  Sometimes my tastes don't mix with the style of story I work on.  Sometimes my skills weren't ready to achieve the goals of the project.  Oz has changed all that.  I'm almost done with issue 5, and I've not gotten bored, frustrated, or stuck at all.  Every page feels like the first day a job you've always wanted.  It really doest go to show that unless you find the thing out there that fits who you are, it won't meet your expectations no matter how cool it seems.

The best thing about being a few years away from the 10 year mark in comics is the comfort in the process.  The first 4 or 5 years I spent hours trying to figure out the process of getting to a final page.  Now the process is like walking, it just comes natural.  It was hard road getting here, but it was worth it.  Here are a few things that I've learned over the years and you'll see them at work on these examples.

1.  The thumbnail is your friend.  I layout an entire of issue before I start penciling.  If you take your time and really think about the page in the thumbnail stage, the rest of the work will run very smooth.  I like to keep things simple...no breaking into the gutters.  Keep it clean and tell the story inside the box.  This lets the reader stay focused and it really lets me focus on telling a story and not creating a puzzle of drawings.  

2. If you are an all around illustrator who pencils and inks, then this is a biggie.  Keep your pencils loose.  Go in and start to hammer out details, but don't over do it.  I like to keep the energy flowing around the page and never try to pretend that my pencil is a brush or pen.  It's not.  Building a line with a pencil tends to deaden the line.  I just "jot" down the information.  I don't want to spent too much time on the page.  Too much time equals too much thought and then I start to second guess myself.  I tend to push things far.  If I think about them too much, I will scale back and get boring.  

3.  Inking is fun.  I leave things loose in the pencil stage so that I can still make creative choices while inking.  I'm not a technical person.  I hate rulers and I loathe repeating myself.  When I used to try and pencil tight, inking felt suicidal.  Why would I choose to be an artist for a living and spend the majority of my workday doing non creative things.  Every stage needs to feel like things are being creative, not just redone.  Inking has become very fun for me and I look forward to that part of the process.

If you notice these two examples, my process has allowed me to move from the thumbnail to final with very little change.  Once you have your own process down you'll start to trust yourself more and know what you'll be capable off in the later steps.  Drawing should be fun.  Find a process that keeps it fun for you.  For me, illustrating comics isn't about the finished, printed product.  I rarely even look at that stage.  It's about he ride to get there.  I barely remember my graduation fro highschool, but I sure as hell remember the four years I spent getting there.  

Thanks again for all the support on this book everyone!

20 comments:

aaron said...

thats awesome to get a chance to see a look at the begining to end of your process dude. pages look great. the book is awesome all around.

Jordi said...

It's really amazing see how the things in your head becomes a sketch, and how this sketch becomes the bests drawings ever!

Thanks a lot for share your experiences with all us! It's very appreciated!

Rodrigo said...

how many issues is ythe run? id love to buy the trade PPB too!!

Odd Voodoo said...

Great insight into your process. I really dig how you keep the flow moving from pencils to inks by staying loose. I really enjoyed your New Warriors mini, but the way your illo's have evolved is mind blowing! Awesome!

The Black Samurai said...

Thank you SO much for your insight and tips. This is just what us illustrators need! Please keep it up!

Joe Romano 2 said...

Skottie, awesome stuff. As an artist wanna be I learn so much by seeing how the pros go through the process. I love the raw sketches. Thanks for the insight. Can't wait to pick up #2 tomorrow. As always, keep up the great work.

Mike said...

Awesome advice Skottie as always. I had a question though, instead of drawing on the actual bristol board do you just scan the board in and draw on it digitally, and if so, where can you find a scanner that will scan that big, and do you send it to marvel as a actual board or just a digital file? : )

jt ford said...

Well done Skottie! Finally a peek inside your mind as a creator. I loved the episode of you on Around Comics where you spoke out about being an artist. You bring a tremendous amount of energy to the page and the details make the drawing.

Well done, sir!
(Now where's the next Devil and Me?! I'm dying for it!)

Dave said...

Awesome stuff Skottie!

Mike: Google "mustek A3 scanner" for some inexpensive large format scanners capable of scanning in 11x17 boards.

odracir72 said...

Hey, Skottie! I've bumped into your stuff years ago at another site (can't recall the name) purely by accident, and I've been a fan ever since. It's been cool watching your web presence evolve over the years, but it has been ever cooler watching your art SOAR. The range of styles and techniques you employ boggles my mind. The part I love most is that energy you have about you that say, "Good, but I want better." Keep pushing those boundaries, man. Your shit is tight, tight, tight, and only getting tighter. Keep pushing it.

pablo said...

that was a great post, thanks for letting us in a little more to see your work process.

Mike said...

Great, Thanks Dave!

Doktor Mostro said...

your art is great and an inspiration for me, i believe OZ is your best work so far and is a classic so hell yeah! =)

Justin Beef said...

Hey Skottie:

Do you use a light box on stages 2 to 3?

Thanks!

Justin Coombs

RaMosDef said...

i just finished issue 2 and absolutely love how the cowardly lion looks. and i just finished i love you beth cooper, thanks for shining light on that book otherwise i would not have read it

Krhonan said...

Great job !!!

I wonder if you know the French's "the wonderful Wizard of Oz" (le Magicien d'oz),because there is a real nice one there :

http://www.editions-delcourt.fr/catalogue/bd/le_magicien_d_oz_1

Have a look and tell me what do you think about it later.

See you.

Steve Daniels said...

Any tips from you is awesome, got issue #2 and of course it's a classic. Take Care

Anonymous said...

Hey Skottie,

How do you do your panel borders?

Luke.

Jon Roscetti said...

I think the key word here is workflow. Finding a way to stay energized and keep the work moving foward, without hitting snags and walls, is an important part of the process.

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