Friday, July 20, 2007

Details and Distractions

I'm guilty of making a "rookie" mistake - I'm over-thinking everything!

My assignment is a simple one, create a cowboy character then use that character in 3 panels. The 3 panels are classic in structure; establishing shot of a town, full shot of the character of horseback then a view of a second character looking at our hero.

No problem, right?


I'm spending way too much time trying to figure out where this old west town exists. Should I go for a mountainous, Dakota look or stick with the desert, Sergio Leone look? What time of year is it? What time of day or night? How large is the town?

And if you think that I'm spending too much time on the details of the town, imagine how much time I'm wasting on the character!!

A few years ago, I created an old west gunfighter (no name) that was blind. Actually, he has no eyes at all because they had been shot out (it's a long story). I was dying to use this guy for the assignment. Well, I began worrying that my instructor might not like a character whose eyes are hidden behind a blindfold. I mean, this assignment is to show off my ability to draw the human form and I would be covering up the most personality revealing feature on the character. But the blind gunfighter is so damn cool that I almost can't resist it!

See? Rookie mistake. I'm stuck on the details instead of focusing on the overall story.

On top of what I mentioned above, the wife and I were on vacation all last week. We stayed at home and painted the kitchen and living room, played the Wii till we threw up and had an EPIC party last Friday! I mean EPIC!! We had a bonfire in the backyard of Hearn's Half-Acre and ran out of seating so my buddy, T!X and I brought out a couch from the garage and partyed on. How "hillbillly" is that?

Oh, and we fed bats for about an hour with little bits of hamburger. The bats now have high cholesterol.

Things are back to normal now and my deadline is approaching quickly.

Smell ya later!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Perspective Pain

Hey there! Welcome back to the Manic Mindfart.

Did lots of drawing this past week. Only two and a half weeks until my first project is due and I think I'm on the right track. It's a simple project; a Character Design and 3 story panels.

No problem.

Although I tend to create my own problems at times.

You see, I really hate drawing in perspective. That's not true, I hate setting up to draw in perspective. All the straight edges and my triangles, figuring out which perpective to use (I dig mutiple point) and the endless piles of crumpled paper that gather around my feet because I have to "do it over".

The thing is, in comics, backgrounds are everything! They set the scene, the mood, often they hint toward genre as well. The proper "camera angle" will tell the story more effectively than a word balloon.

This is where my trouble lies. It takes too damn long to experiment with angles using a pencil and paper!! In an ideal world, I should be able to draw a page a day. On that page there might be 5 to 9 panels, each with different camera angles. It's a knucklebuster to draw and I can't experiment to my satisfaction.

Well, I found a way to cheat.

I've been using Google SketchUp to set up my backgrounds. SketchUp is a program to create 3-D models from 2-D shapes. I've found that I can layout my background, create a 3-D model then move my "camera" around to find an intertesting angle to best convey the story. All I have to do is take a screen shot and drop it into a comic page via Photoshop, print it then draw the actual page over a lightbox, add detail and...

...Presto! Perfect Perspective!!

Figures are no problem at all since you can create people out of geometric shapes (and I do that anyway). Thanks to my handy dandy computer, I can place my figure sketches right onto my previously created backgrounds and get them perfect before I actually draw the page. Plenty of room for experimentation and hours upon hours of time saved!!


Smell ya later,