8 April 2016

Drawing process

After watching the trailer for Rogue One, I felt inspired to put some characters I've been developing into a Star Wars scene. I took progress shots as I went to hopefully show a little bit of the process.

1. I often draw freehand without any penciling but I knew it would be tricky crowding these characters around the display, and I opted for some light pencilling (H). I prefer only doing light pencilling when I'm inking with my tech pen, otherwise the drawing becomes too stiff. It would have been good to have a photo of just the pencils so you get and idea of how I build on the. The robot guy in the background gives you a pretty good idea how lightly I tend to pencil. I try and not add too much detail, preferring to leave that for the inking stage.

2. This is the final drawing after inking. As mentioned I inked with my Staedtler .05 tech pen, I also used a GFKP brush pen to add some thinker lines and fill in blacks. I also occasionally use this thinner fountain type pen to do the cross hatching. I'm not sure exactly what the pen is called. I picked it up from the excellent JetPens and it has 'Carbon Pen' written on the side. There's at least 3 areas where I made a mistake and just redrew the line. Also some practice for two of the hands (one's covered by the pen) and my son started drawing that squiggle on the right halfway through.

3. Final piece after being scanned at 1200PPI, cleaned up in Photoshop using curves and threshold. I then save a pure hi res B&W version. Reduce the PPI to about 300PPI (and save as) and convert to an RGB file. I then copy the line art layer and delete the black lines. I use this copied layer to add the colour and set the top line art layer to multiply. I was originally only going to do this in the light blue colour but I felt it needed some more tones, so I added the light grey too. I can grab a web version from this file but if I was setting up a print file I would save the colour layer only as a jpeg, then place it in an Illustrator document and place the high res bitmap art over the top then save as a PDF.
There you go. I hope you enjoyed a little behind the scenes. I should try and make another one of these but take more shots as I go through. Feel free to ask any questions.

13 March 2016

Start before you are ready

“If you’re working on something important, then you’ll never feel ready. A side effect of doing challenging work is that you’re pulled by excitement and pushed by confusion at the same time.”

11 February 2016

Act rather than think

Sometimes when you're caught in a bit of a drawing or writing rut you can't help but go over and over things in your head. I was reading a post on one of my favourite non drawing blogs, a fantastic blog on the process of innovation, and I came across this quote,

"...build a bias towards action, not thinking"

When you feel stuck it helps to get the pen moving, just get started on something anything. If you have new ideas, try the new ideas. Be ready for failure too, that's ok, but don't be scared to just jump straight in and try out some new things. This is one of the many reasons I think sketchbook practice is important, it helps you get out of your head and act on ideas, and you never even have to show anyone if you don't want.

In short, if you ever get stuck, just keep on moving.

30 January 2016

Paper tests with a tech pen

I decided to do a quick paper test for a new comic I'm working on. I was going to go with Bristol board as the drawing substrate and thought I'd give it a quick test.

drawing of a chair in a corner with lamp and side table
Test drawing number 1 (bristol)
I was a little unhappy with how the pen moved across the page, the Bristol makes my tech pen drag a little which caused a few minor errors.
I decided I needed another test drawing, and seeing how I mostly draw in my sketchbook, I gave that a go next.

drawing of a chair in a corner with lamp and side table
Test drawing number 2 (sketchbook)
This was definitely much easier to draw on and I found the pen flowing over the paper more easily. These kind of tests can be hard as by the second time you have drawn an image you have become better at it anyway and make less mistakes. I was sure the second one turned out significantly better, although after scanning, cleaning and saving they look almost identical to me!

Do you see any difference?

I like to follow blogs on creative thinking and innovation and a mantra that is often repeated is 'fail early and often'. By testing the paper out with one panel and then realising it's not going to work, I have made a small mistake instead of the massive mistake of penciling and inking the whole thing on that paper. I could argue that the difference would be minor, but you have to take any small wins you can get.

4 January 2016

Name change, back to the old...

After updating this blog from awcomix to anthonywoodward at the end of 2014 I have made the decision to go back to the original awcomix. After all the original is usually the best.*

Speaking of old things that are new, I'm finally putting some time into my long neglected GumRoad site. I must have set that thing up a couple of years ago and I never really felt like I knew what to do with it or how to use it properly. I have decided to upload my back catalogue of comics there for free. I have chosen to go with the 0+ model which means you can name your fair price, and to be totally clear and honest I am happy for people to put in $0, I am also happy for them to name their price too. I made a decision last year when I started making digital comics that I always wanted to offer a free option. I believe artists should have the opportunity to be paid for their work if it is appreciated, but I also believe in having things freely available. People can't always afford to pay or they might just want to sample the work before committing to paying.

Link to GumRoad store

*I originally did it as to not confuse this site with my main art site awcomix.com. A lot of google searches were still hitting old the awcomix pages, and the reason for changing the name were not as important as people not hitting dead links to old tutorial posts.

31 December 2015

End of Year Wrap Up 2015

It's been a weird year for me personally but luckily I have been able to continue my drawing practice.

Two major achievements this year for me, were the release of two new comics

George Bloop
This was a comic I started in 2013, but never completed. I resolved to not only finish it but add extra pages and expand the story. While it was not technically my first piece of writing fiction, it did feel like my first attempt at a longer story, coming in at just under 20 pages.

Imagined Mysteries : A Tribute to Leonard Nimoy
I felt inspired to write this after hearing about the passing of Nimoy. Being a Star Trek fan from my early teens I felt I had something to say about Nimoy's portrayal of Spock and our current political climate.

New designs on Redbubble
I've been trying to get some fresh designs up onto my Redbubble account. This shirt is still popular on Redbubble even though I have a new version here and this robot head.

What's next?
I'm going to continue posting drawings online and exploring different themes. I'm hoping that maybe a story will emerge from these doodles, but if not I can just enjoy them for what they are. I'm hoping to get a new comic out this year, I'd like to do something in B&W, maybe even something in a series. One of the things that took me so long to publish Imagined Mysteries was the colouring process. I feel a bit stuck with my comic writing at the moment. I'm going to have to design some small challenge for myself to hopefully get around the block (like the one I did above).

2 November 2015

Inktober is complete!

I’ve participated in Inktober a few times now but this year I had a few things going and wasn’t sure the distraction would be good. I ended up jumping right into it and set myself two rules, 
1-I had to post everyday, if I missed a day I was out! 
2- All drawings were to be done in straight B&W ink, no pencil.
I feel really happy about the body of work I completed and even have enough work to put together a selection of them in a new zine called ‘Ramshackle Shacks’.
I posted almost everything I did here, or you can see the full collection on my Instagram