Saturday, January 24, 2009

Basic Inking Process Tutorial

I just posted this tutorial on deviantArt, and now I'm sharing it everywhere else:

To start, I draw out small sketches on a page in my sketch book, trying out various ideas. Once I have something I like, I scan it into the computer at a high dpi (600dpi or so), and reprint it at a much larger scale. From there, I can retrace it onto a clean page in my sketchbook and refine the picture, fixing mistakes, and adding details.

Now with a better pencil sketch, I scan it into the computer once again, and convert it to a faded cyan (called non-photo blue or non reproductive blue) in Photoshop. To do this, I convert the image mode to Grayscale, then to CMYK. Then I go to Image>Adjust>Channel Mixer. From here, I leave the Cyan Output Channel untouched and move directly to the Magenta Output Channel. I drop the Magenta level from 200% to 0%. Next I move to the Yellow Output Channel, dropping the Yellow level to 0%. Then finally I move to the Black Output Channel, dropping the Black level down to 0%. You should be left with a Cyan image. The next step is to change the layer opacity to 50%, so the Cyan isn’t so intense.From there, I print it onto bristol board. This way, my pencils are left untouched by a possible ink mishap, and my pencil illustration is perfectly replicated onto illustration board without blemishes like heavy erasing or pencil smudges.

Here, I begin my inking process. I use Higgins Black Magic Ink, and two Connoisseur brushes, one small and one fat. I also use two kinds of Bristol Board. I use Strathmore 300 Series 9”x12” vellum Bristol Board for Illustrations like this, and Canson Fanboy 10”x14.25” Manga Art Boards for manga pages (or Comic Art Boards for comic sized books). I prefer vellum to smooth because it grabs to the pencil pretty well, but its only a personal preference. I also enjoy Canson Fanboy’s Art Boards because they come bluelined with rules for panelling and marking bleed room, safe area, and actual page size.

I decided to scan this at about 80% complete. If you notice, there are a couple inking errors, but I will fix them with acrylic titanium white paint when I am finished. At this point, everything has been done with a brush, but now I am going to use a Micron Pen to ink her fine hair lines, her eyes, and the fringe on the cloak/serape. I have left these specifically because I will be using a french curve for inking the hair lines, and circle templates for the eyes. I am using a pen for the fringe because they are so small, I don’t trust myself completely yet with a brush to get all that line work done without making a fatal mistake so close to the final product.

Finally done with line art. I scanned it in at 1200dpi as bitmap, which removes any of the non photo blue that can still be seen. From here, I’ll convert it to grayscale, and rescale it to 300 dpi at the correct size it will be printed at. With just some minor cleanup of stray spots of black, the image is now ready to be colored!!

At this point, I’m sure everyone has a grasp on the actual digital coloring process in Photoshop.

So, this is my Caperucita Roja (Little Red Riding Hood), which I am planning on making a manga sized comic book. If I can work fast enough, the book should be printed in time for the Spokane Comic Convention, May 30th, 2009.

Okay, here’s a run down of the most basic tools that I use. First off, I have a set of Speedball nibs and nib holders, and I’d use that over the Micron pen that I used for the fine lines before. The ink in the Microns pulled up slightly when I did some erasing, and its just not that strong of a pigment compared to the rest of the inked page. Next, I have a wrist rest for a computer mouse. This elevates my hand when inking, keeping me from dragging my palm into fresh ink. Next to that, I have a Gerber baby food jar. I use that for my water. I am currently using Higgins Black Magic for my ink, it looks very dark when I am done inking. I also use a metal lid from an energy drink can to dispense my ink. I can use the dropper in the Higgins Black Magic, and drop a few drops in the lid, and I can visually see how far I am dipping. If you dip too far with your nib, ink can soak into the wood of the brush and start to ruin it. Secondly, I don’t have more than a few drops out at a time, which is better than an unopened bottle of ink that could cause major damage if spilled. Lastly, I have my brushes and Bristol Board, but I’ve already mentioned the product names.

I hope this tutorial gave you a basic understanding of my process, and maybe you learned something that can help you excel with your art.
-Jesse 1/24/2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


So, today at school today I was given the opportunity to play "crime-fighter"... I was hungry, so I stopped in the campus cafeteria and bought a Starbucks Frapaccino and a breakfast sandwich. I went to the cashier and she rang up my total as $5.16 or so... But as I handed her the cash, she voided one of my items and the total dropped down to $2.00 and some odd change. This was a big red flag to me, as I worked ten years in food service. Five as a waiter in a restaurant, and five in the kitchen and cafeteria at Sacred Heart Medical Center. As I walked away, I kept an eye on the cashier, and she pocketed the extra two dollars from the voided item...
Yeah, so after eating my sandwich, I decided it was the right thing to inform the kitchen manager. I asked for the manager, and told him of the situation. He went ahead and checked the sales records on the computer in the back... I don't know the outcome of the situation, but I felt really conflicted because of it.

On one hand, I really dislike theft. Honesty is a big virtue in my book. It really bothers me to see my cash that is meant to pay for the food, as well as pay for my college experience, end up in the pocket of a cashier. It disgusts me to no end.
But on the other hand, I really feel bad about putting the cashier's job, integrity, and college education in jeopardy. A lot is at stake here, but I have to keep telling myself that I essentially didn't put her in that situation; she did it on her own.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Caperucita Roja

So, I think I have a final design for Caperucita Roja here. The coat has changed since last time because a standard serape covers a lot of details on the front of her body. I want to add some thinner lines in her hair, and maybe a pattern in her dress, but I haven't come up with one yet.

This has been pretty difficult to work on lately with Winter Quarter going on, but I have really enjoyed my classes so far. I'm taking Intro To Film and Ethnic & Racial Sociology. In Film, we just finished watching Casablanca. I hadn't really watched the film since I was a kid, so I didn't really know how good of a movie it is. I'd definitely recommend it to everyone, there is a lot of great dialogue, comedic wit, interesting characters, and a fun setting (Casablanca, Morocco).

BTW, tomorrow (Sun Jan 18, 3PM) at Merlyns (19 W Main Ave, Spokane, WA 99201) will be another Comic Artist meetup. Its been really nice to get together with other like minded artists, if you're interested, I hope you can make it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Caperucita Roja -I think this is it-

If you've been following my blog, I've been working on the character designs for a Little Red Riding Hood comic. FINALLY I think I have come up with the perfect Little Red. I just need to refine it a little bit, and play around with her cloak, and then I think I will have it.

One of my major issues was dealing with that hood... I finally decided to go with a more Link like Cap instead, mainly because the original is called: Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (o en Español, Caperucita Roja) meaning Little Red Cap... Previously with a hood design, it was difficult to attach the hood to the cloak, while still showing her hair and face.

So I'll do a model sheet, showing her at several angles, and moving in certain actions to get her design down. Then I think its time to move onto Abuelita, El Cazador, y El Lobo... ;) I'm very excited for this project!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school and I'm pretty excited. My first class was Intro To Film, and after reading the syllabus, I am pretty stoked. I have seen the majority of the movies on the film list already, and sometime in the quarter we will be storyboarding a Children's Story/Fairy Tale... I love it when my classes give me the opportunity to draw, I get to show off a little!
My second class is Ethnic and Racial Sociology. The topics we are already talking about are pretty interesting, and the instructor seems very knowledgeable. She was born and raised in China, and has a PhD. In class she asked a few students about their racial background and what it means to them, of course she had to pick me. I hate talking in front of strangers, I get pretty nervous; then to talk about myself is even worse!

So today I bought my parking pass, my film book, school supplies, paid off my JC Penny card, and several other errands... all during this nasty weather we are having. I did a lot of errands today and started school, I feel like a weight has been lifted now.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

School is CANCELED!!!

So school is canceled for tomorrow... I'm kind of happy because I know the blizzard coming tonight will be awful, but I just bought some new clothes and school supplies. I was ready for class damnit! So school is postponed until Tuesday..maybe....

Thursday, January 1, 2009

More comic work, and more

So I'm still working on this Little Red Riding Hood design. I keep looking at other people's works for ideas for children, but I'm still not hitting it on the head the way I'd like to. I want to make a little 12 page comic with this, once I get the character designs down.

So here's another that I did a few days ago:

I like that its cleaner and much more streamlined, but I don't like the face at all, and the hair isn't what I envisioned at all... It seems the more manga direction I go, the more I lose what I was aiming for.

Now she has become too tall, I wanted her to be very young and short, kind of like Lilo from Lilo and Stitch. I want to give her an ethnic appearance, but with the pigtails, it looked more Native American:

Here's the newest attempt:

I shrunk her head down because it looked too big and manga like the previous time. But now it looks too big and her shoulders too wide. I'm also having such a hard time drawing girl hair. I guess I've just never had to pay much attention to pig tails and bows, and all that frilly stuff.

Besides Little Red, I was sick for a couple days. I had a stomach flu, and couldn't do much but watch tv. There was a House marathon, so I watched that. I really enjoy funny asshole characters like House. I don't generally watch the show, or many shows though, because I don't like to get caught up in it and have to watch it weekly. But since I was sick, I just kicked back. After 20 episodes, I noticed medical shows really bite for tv, and how can anyone watch them for very long? Every episode is the same situation: patient in extreme situation comes in, banters with doctors, doctors have inter-work relationships and fight with themselves, patient almost dies, they misdiagnose (generally Ive noticed on House, they think everyone has MS), then they try a surgery for the patient to almost die again, and then they solve it.

I also watched Magnificent Seven again. I think Magnificent Seven and Seven Samurai are the best movies to look at for dealing with a story with multiple main heroes. That movie is so perfect, you could take it to any setting and retell a great story. You could replace Yule Brynner with Aragorn, Steve McQueen with a fast arrow shooting elf, and other characters with various fantasy characters and it would be a great fantasy movie.

Anyway, its a brand new year which is very exciting. There's a lot of stuff happening this year, so I'm pretty happy for that. School starts on the 5th, so I'm going to have to learn how to balance school in the early morning and working in the afternoon and everything else in the evening. It will be a challenging quarter, but I'm glad to be getting more credits out of the way.. I feel like I'm digging myself out of a ditch, I should be able to go to Eastern by next Fall or Winter if I keep up the pace.

Anyway, everyone have a Happy New Year.