Sunday, September 05, 2010

Observing thoughts on observation...

So here are some sketches from to the last post. What I really want to blab too much about is the first image. Throughout my process I took note of visual things that popped into my head. Things that I remembered, observations of style or draftsmanship that I wanted to incorporate. And I jotted them down. It might seem completely unoriginal, but this is how the mind works whether you're aware of it or not. Someone once said "there's no such thing as original art" because our minds are constantly evaluating and being inspired to combine and create. Absorbing like the parasites we are...

When I was done with the illustration, I turned to Google and tried to find the EXACT images I was thinking of. It literally took hours just to find some pictures for comparison because these were so specific and I just had to hope some nerds had these pictures on their geocitites fan site or whatever. Plus my memory wasn't always correct and I went off on goose chases.

Notes are color coded with the image below:

"cute lines" - In my mind I was recalling an Adam Warren image on the cover of PSM. Back when PlayStation Magazine existed and had artists draw their original covers every month. Warren draws a lot of smiley "western anime" girls and often they'll have these little lines on their cheeks. Just little flecks that kinda imply cuteness. Combing through all the Adam Warren images, more often than not his lines were more of a horizontal slash across the bridge of the nose and/or cheeks. But my searches lead me to one of my favorite anime artists, Masamune Shirow (colored faces) who I was probably emulating and didn't even know it. I'd guess these "cute lines" derived from black and white manga where the artist is suggesting a redness/blush in the cheeks. WIth no color or gray scale, a few quick tick lines imply a little color. And in many cases those habits are carried over even when the work gets colored.

angular elbow line thing - Elbows and knees always seem like an area of character to me. A swirly Q, a nobby nipple, an "X", a dimple or two, etc. I couldn't quite find the image I was thinking of but the Neon Genesis plug suits is where I started. Again I found myself looking up Shirow's work on Ghost in the Shell though. To show the cyborg nature of his characters he often drew lines and seams suggesting separating plates or hidden panels of sorts. I think this is probably what I was drawing on mentally for these few little lines. This particular character isn't a cyborg nor is her suit anything special, but the way those lines/seams are drawn on Shirow's characters found it's way into my own illo.

curvy hips/legs - When drawing her hips/legs I was thinking of an OLD sketch from and OLD sketch book I did an OLD time ago. Some sorta anime girl (yes, I had an anime phase in college...) with curves and skin tight pants. In my mind this looked...different. I was recalling a body that flowed right into the hips and thighs. Simple curved lines. When I actually dug the image up, I see back in the day I emphasized the hip bones and the amount of space between her thighs so it wasn't exactly what I was trying to capture but it is what I was thinking about. You'll also notice the lines on her cheeks are here as well by complete coincidence. Or is it? Isn't that how inspiration works?

raygun - I didn't have anything specific in mind for her gun other than I wanted it to feel real - like it was made of pieces. Not a spacey, curvey, George Jetson, future gun. I've see prop guys at conventions that make real retro-styled raygun so that's what I looked up and used almost directly.

Savage Dragon hand - Her far hand gave me some issues as I tried several poses trying to decide which I liked best. This Savage Dragon hand by Erik Larsen is the exact hand I was thinking about. This specific hand I couldn't get to work with my image, but the idea of cascading fingers rolling over one another is what I set out for at first. You can probably pick a couple that match more closely in the sketches. Larsen (and surely other comic artists) have a great way of separating out fingers and putting them in reusable, dynamic poses. I'm not sure if it's a smart way of working, or a weakness, but I find myself "calling up" my own mental library of hands to complete a pose on a character. Instead of thinking about the correct had to put on the end of an arm, my mind cycles through pose 1, 2, 3, 4, until I find the hand that looks like it could fit. I generally think that's how comic book artists work in order to make their deadlines. And repetition just stokes the fire of this process. Combing through a ton of Savage dragon art made me want dust off the back issues - fun stuff.

side boob - This was an easy one. Jim Lee all the way here. I was thinking of the Psylocke pose (in purple/blue) more than anything, but the Polaris image (green haired girl) was dead on too. Kinda like I was saying about Erik Larsen's hands - every artist has their go-to poses. This is Jim Lee's 3/4 boob pose. I was remembering how Scott Williams would ink these mammaries with the shading/underlighting underneath suggesting roundness. Also, Lee had a tendency to draw his boobs with a subtle point instead of completely round. Which could be the costume or could be more natural. I wouldn't know... When Williams ink 'em he often starts and end his lines at the "nipple" - intentionally being vague with the form. Does the line complete? Is it round or pointed? I think it's just a matter of when to commit to the line if you're an inker. You pick and choose where those hard shapes/corners are. Jim Lee and image comics in general was a BIG influence on me in high school.

nose knob - In my drawing I was trying to emphasize little nose bump at the end of the bridge. An anime-ish type thing I suppose. The eyebrow flows right into the nose at what seems like a decreasing angle, pretty flat, and then any semblance of nose pops out at the end. I was specifically thinking of how the designers treated many of the characters on Venture Bros. There's a lot flat nose bridges and then an upturned nose knob at the end. And the girls are no exception. So while my nose doesn't completely reflect this style, it is what was rolling around in my head as I was laying down the lines.

That's all I got. Man I love this stuff.



ridd said...

a great read with even greater sketches. thanks!

Tom Dell'Aringa said...

This is just awesome, Bob! I so appreciate all the hard work you put into this. And it's really interesting to see how you put this together. No wonder it looks so great.

I think you are right about comic artists choosing their poses. I think many of them think of them almost as 'symbols' (I know I do) where you fall into which one do I need. Because it is a time issue.

There are certain poses where I want them to be dynamic, or something I don't normally draw where I grab references or pose my daughter or wife or something.

But when you gotta get it done, you go with what you know I think.

John__Michael said...

Great sketches and drawing. It's super interesting to see what inspired you for this. Also, props for the Venture Bros. mention. I love that show and its artwork.


Emir said...

What up BooB! Good to hear from ya. Yeah, so I jumped out to L.A.. I just wanted a change of pace. Other than that everything is pretty good.

That Demo reel of yours is looking pretty sweet.


Octavio E. Rodriguez said...

Cool post!