What this year needs right now is a little light-hearted pick-me-up.
This is the Marvel/DC Snowpocalypse State Of The Union 2011.
Drawn and colored entirely in Adobe Illustrator CS3.
OK. New Year. Let’s see if I can update this blog a little more often.
I have always enjoyed drawing on people. I once saved a buddy in the Marines from getting a tattoo of his girlfriends name. I told him I would draw her name on his chest as the stem of a rose. It worked out great. It looked like a real tattoo. We took a bunch of pics of it, and he sent it to her. She loved it, but as all things go when you do something like that and put your heart on your sleeve, they broke up a few weeks later. He was glad he didn’t get that done for real. I’m glad I was there to keep him from doing something stupid. He never forgot that favor.
Cut to years later and I’m still drawing on people. My friend Molly let me draw Iron Man on her stomach. I thought it would be cool to show it off, she doesn’t mind me showing it here. This image took less than 2 hours to complete. I drew it from the famous Adi Granov image.We are going to do some more when we have time. Some Alice In Wonderland, some zombies, more heroes, etc.
I like how the chest piece lines up with the belly button. I’m a professional, people. I didn’t plan it, it just worked out that way. She was cool enough to wear a Punisher costume that my buddy made. I included that pic in this post.
What do you think?
If you would like to get in contact with me you can reach me at the following…
See more of my artwork online at…
I had a lovely Thursday. I Drove out to Dallas to draw on sketch covers of X-Men #1 at Lone Star Comics. There was a pretty decent turn-out despite the rain. The wonderful staff had X-Men cupcakes at the ready, vampire teeth and free drinks. I sat down at 2pm and finished drawing on the sketch covers at 8pm. My cell phone died toward the end of the day and I was not able to get pics of a few of the sketches I drew. Here are as many as I could take pictures of. The rest of the covers are going to be emailed to me and I’ll share those later.
Thanks to everyone who came out. I had a great time.
More classy comics from my buddies at Antarctic Press. They loved the art I drew for the Sarah Palin: Rogue Warrior comic and asked me to contribute a cover for the upcoming comic; Steampunk Palin. I love steampunk. This was a real treat. Although I’m not into Sarah Palin, you cannot deny her presence at this time in our history. I will be doing several more Sarah Palin covers later this year.
I did a random search on my droid phone for Star Trek near Dallas. Just wondering what kind of cool things could be found this way and look what I found- a street named Star Trek! It’s even at the corner of Apollo! Like that episode where Apollo was real and held the Enterprise in his disembodied space hand until Kirk beamed down and cock-blocked him from macking on Scotty’s hottie. Too bad for Apollo. But what a cool way to immortalize this clash of space titans. Here’s a shot of the street I got off Google Maps.
A recent commission of Captain America in WW2. I drew him sporting the costume designs for the upcoming movie. I am so excited for that movie to come out.
I pitched this concept art to Wildstorm in 2008. The basic premise involved the Argonauts assembling in modern times to stop Jason’s ex-wife, the sorceress Medea.
My favorite character was Perseus, one of the ancient heroes. His curse was to secure the head of Medusa. He can’t let her go. She is a constant nag and became somewhat of a motherly figure to him. He wears tennis shoes that allow him to fly and his hood allows him to turn invisible. He’s very disturbed and quite the emo.
The giant in the back is a Cyclops inventor named Brontes. He was one of three Cyclopes supposedly killed by Apollo.
The cute girl in the foreground left is a Harpy.
One of Hercules’ daughter is lifting the smart car.
Jason wields a magical shield.
The Argo is a Thunderbird style ship and Zeus lives as a businessman in Olympus tower.
There is also a character on a hover bike in the back left who was the only female serving on Jason’s Greek crew, Atalanta.
I had a lot of fun creating the characters and situations. It got a little watered down in the process and ultimately would have come off as derivative with so much other Greek legend stories coming out at the same time.
Maybe another time–
“Face Front, True Believers!”
This print was commissioned by Charles Briede, host of the Fellowship Of Fools podcast.
Charles asked for 6 prints to be made. One of them was a “Stan Lee Proof ” which was given to Stan at the 2010 Emerald City Comic Con.
The website at the top of the print is just a watermark and does not exist on the actual print.
I was a teen-ager when I met Stan for the first time.
I drew art samples and I was trying to show them to Stan at one of the Dallas Fantasy Fair’s in the late 1980′s. By the time I worked up the nerve to show them I overheard the show promoter talking about Stan having to head to the airport.
He was leaving with 4 escorts heading right for the door. I had my chance. I followed down the hall. I only made it a few steps before one of the escorts stopped my egress. He told me they had to get Stan to the airport for his flight.
I was crushed. I told the guard that I only wanted to show Stan my artwork. As I started to turn away I saw Stan stop at the exit and come back down the hall to me.
He asked to see my work, gave me a few words of advice, told me he liked my art, and to stay in school. A moment later he said goodbye and left with his escorts.
I will never forget how caring he was and that he would take an extra moment to talk to a nervous fan. It reminded me of that Mean Joe Green Coca Cola ad from the 1970′s. An adult can have an incredible influence on a young person by spending a brief moment with them.
When I go to cons I try to give everything I’ve got to the people who are kind enough to stop and see me. I have free stuff for the kids that come by the table and I will always do whatever I can to live up to that moment.
After meeting Stan I felt that everything I was working towards as a young artist was not just a fantasy. I knew from age 5 that I was going to draw comics when I grew up. Meeting Stan Lee made it real. I knew after that moment that nothing in the world was going to stop me from making it into comics.
At times, it felt like it was taking too long, but I have never given up.
It was a hard world before the internet to realize your dreams. Now you can reach out to anyone at anytime and be part of whatever tribe you wish to be a part of, and get advice and instruction along the way.
My dad was always fond of saying, “What one man can conceive, he can achieve.”
Don’t give up on your dreams.
Here is another Twitter requested sketch.
Jonah http://twitter.com/biotwist on Twitter suggested ” Draw some thing Kirby” so I took that literally and drew the Thing.
Total time to complete about 2 hours when I sat down to do it. I was showing my daughter the finer points of drawing the torso muscles, hands and feet. She was having problems with those areas. I told her artists never stop learning how to draw that correctly.
Here is “The Thing”…
I drew the cover for the new comic, President Evil.
It ships in July from Antarctic Press and will be shown in the May Diamond catalog.
But you don’t have to wait that long to see it. Here is the colored art!
I’ll be selling prints of these at the Emerald City Comic Con on April 4-5 in Seattle.
Stop my table, J-07 to pick it up while they last!
There are only 50 of these prints available!
Here’s the new deal.
I moved all the Illustrator tutorials over to illcraft.com along with all of my other posts I have made there since 2005.
I will put up a bunch of art and other news and happenings in my life at briandenham.com
It helps to seperate these 2 blogs into different sites. I think some people may just want tutorials and some just want to see my work.
More to come…
Here’s the new deal.
I moved all the Illustrator tutorials over to illcraft.com along with all of my other posts I have made there since 2005.
I will put up a bunch of art and other news and happenings in my life at briandenham.com
It helps to seperate these 2 blogs into different sites. I think some people may just want tutorials and some just want to see my work.
More to come…
I have some of the Comic Book Templates in a secret folder here on the site. It contains the Adobe Illustrator template for CS3 and a template for everything before CS3. http://www.briandenham.com/AI-Freebies/
I’ve been posting on Twitter for a year and a half and I never posted that info here. If you want to follow me I sometimes post cool links to other comics pros, artists and various geek related sites. You can follow me at http://www.twitter.com/briandenham
I just found this picture today. 11 years after it was taken.
I cropped it close but this picture shows it was taken on March 15, 1998 at the Florida Mega-Con.
I was debuting my comic American Woman at the show. John Byrne sat across from us and he had a huge line the whole weekend. I talked to George Perez at the end of the show one day, we talked before at a couple of shows in Dallas and I felt comfortable around him. I asked if I could get a picture with him and John Byrne who was leaving and walking right toward us.
George said “Sure!” and yelled for John to come over. LOL I was so excited. George explained that I wanted a picture and John said a joke about kissing me on both sides. They laughed, leaned in and planted the smooches on me.
Funniest moment in my life ever.
I laughed a bit to myslef thinking of the time I met Jack Kirby. I told the King that I didn’t want an autograph, but I did want to shake his hand. As we were shaking hands I told him maybe his magic will rub off on me. He looked at me like I was a nut, of course I was a teenager at the time so I probably was a nut.
I wonder what kind of magic would rub off through these kisses. I shudder to think…
Here I am with my new Cintiq on March 14, 2009.
I’m drawing on the Cintiq and I have a secondary monitor set up with Illustrator stretched through both screens.
I have a second instance of the image I’m working on, opened on the other monitor.
This way, I have one big image of the art zoomed out and the Cintiq is zoomed in so I can instantly check what I’m drawing from a distance.
When I used to draw on paper I would place the art on the ground and climb on to a chair to get a distant view of the art and ensure my proportions were all true.
Uploaded by Brian Denham on 14 Mar 09, 8.46PM CDT.
Here is a new piece I drew for the Hero Initiative. It’s also the cover for the upcoing How To Draw book from Antarctic Press shipping in July.
As it was to be a cover for How To Draw I felt like instead of using generic superheroes I would make a back story for each of these characters. I loved the story and the group so I’ll work on this as a comic over the next year. Originally I was going to draw some public domain superheroes, but I felt it might be better to show what new and modern heroes would look like instead of looking at the past.
I hope you like it!
Sorry the site is a little yucky looking right now. I’m trying to find the right theme and color match. Bear with me. I’ll have this all worked out soon enough.
I’ll post all the art from iron Man soon with guides for how I did things. I’ll also post up a lot of work all the way through my current run on The X-Files series I’m drawing for Wildstorm/DC Comics.
Got this from Tragic Antihero on Facebook via Mark Brooks…
Part of Mark Brooks’ plan to take over the internet, this cd cover exercise is a fun way to blow-off a little steam and create something that might just surprise you.
I hope all is well and this message finds you all in great spirits and even better health, and in the mood to create . . . if you have a few minutes to spare, and are so inclined, please participate in our social networking experiment.
This is super fun and extremely random. Ever wanted to be in a band and wonder what your CD cover would look like? Try it, you might be surprised with what you come up with!
Attention friends with basic Photoshop skills.
1 – Go to “wikipedia.” Hit “random”
or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
2 – Go to “Random quotations”
or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
3 – Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4 – Use Photoshop (or similar) to put it all together.
5 – Post it to Facebook as a note and tag the friends you want to join in.
Here’s my 1st try…
“African military systems after 1900″
“Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.”
Check out the review of X-Files #1 on Variety…
The X-Files #1 (WildStorm, 32 pages, color $3.50) is good enough to be mistaken for a stand-alone episode from one of the long-running show’s good years. Writer Frank Spotnitz — who was a writer, producer and exec producer on eight of the show’s nine seasons and co-writer this summer’s feature film — successfully recreates the show’s classic feel even as there’s no indication of when this story took place in relation to the series or the movie. The art by Brian Denham helps immeasurably with excellent likenesses and the kind of clarity in storytelling that’s often missing from this kind of project. Grade: B
Hey, guys and gals. I’ll be at Wizard World Texas on November 7, 8, and 9 at the Arlington Convention Center.
Friday night I’ll be at the hotel next to the con to attend the Heroes4Heroes Live Art charity auction.
Lots of comic pros in attendance will produce some wicked cool artwork to be auctioned off.
The money raised goes to send troops overseas comics and pop culture stuff to keep them motivated and entertained.
It’s a great cause and one which I feel very close to as a former Marine!
Come on out! I hope to see you there.
I found an awesome web page with the coolest gun ref on the net.
You can reference any gun from any film. Useful for ordering movies and getting good shots of the guns and the guys using them.It sure beats those static gun shots from handgun ref books where you can’t even look at it from both angles or even see how a dude holds one while lighting a cigar.
You can also look up your favorite film and check out every gun that appears in that movie.
This handgun was used in HARD BOILED…
Or this Extremely Short Barreled Mini Gun from Last Action Hero
Check it out!
I’m going to be at Comic Con International in San Diego from July 23rd to July 27th.
If you are going to be at the show stop by and see me at Artists Alley table KK-13. I’ll be drawing original art, doing some sketch caps, signing prints, and I have signature cards for $1. I know the show is crazy expensive, and if you come up short on cash, come over to my spot and get yourself some fine looking prints for a huge savings!
I’m going to be on the WILDSTORM BREWING panel with Jim Lee and a host of other artists on Saturday Night at 6:30 in Room 8. Come down and check out the panel, and hear all the latest X-Files comic news and more from Wildstorm. They’ll be talking Gears Of War, Lost Boys, Wildcats, etc.
If you want to commission a piece of art before the show I am opening a sketch/sketch cap list for Comic Con. I have only 20 slots for pre-orders. I will also be taking a limited amount of requests at Comic Con. It will be first come first serve. If you come by the show I’ll be doing quick-hit, 5-minute sketches for just $5 bucks during the show. These are on specially made sketch-cards that measure 5.5 x 8.5.
So, if you are going to be attending and would like a sketch and/or sketch cap, please feel free to send any request or question to firstname.lastname@example.org
All communication will be through email. Please do NOT send any emails to any other email address or through Myspace. This is to keep the requests organized and fair to all. Once received I will follow up with an email confirmation.
Hope to see you guys there! Bring your X-Files #0 to get signed, it ships that week!
Illustrator improved upon one of the greatest assests in Illustrator with the new CS3, the Dashed Line Tool.
I use the dash line tool so much it appears on almost every one of my pages, especially those with tech, or set in a sci-fi setting. Whenever I need to make interesting computer displays or GUI (Graphic User Interface) I make a bunch of random lines in the horizontal and the vertical way, and then I apply the dash line tool to some of these, randoming the settings in the Dash Line box. I make lines with small gaps and long lines, and long gaps and small lines, and all sorts of random goodness.
When I have something extremely cool looking with dashes and gaps, I go in on a Layer above that and create a few more random dashed lines in white to break up the randomness even more.
Once I have all that foolishness in hand, I ground it and then draw a box around it like a computer screen and place it on whatever open computer wall I have drawn on my page, and i use the Free Transform tool to stretch that yummy goodness into perspective to line-up with the “monitor” I have drawn.
NOW-this problem has come up before, ( I talked to Adobe about fixing this, and they finally did in CS3), the dash lines will not look right in perspective because they keep the horizontal and vertical line around the dashes that were right when I made them. AND THERE IS NO WAY AROUND THIS IN ANY VERSION PRIOR TO ILLUSTRATOR CS3! You can’t fix it by expanding or making outlines or nothin’!
But IN CS3 you select your dash line and presto, hit OBJECT>EXPAND and through the magic of little pixels Illustrator makes each dash you have created their very own individual item. You can now UNGROUP them if you wish, and delete one or two, or make some bigger, or smaller, OR THE BEST THING OF ALL, you can now use the FREE TRANSFORM tool to distort these items into perspective and it will look correct!!!
I’ll post another entry tomorrow with a bunch of examples of where I did this in Iron Man and it was wrong, and how I got around it in Illustrator 10. I’ll put up some version done in CS3 so you can see how cool this tool really is.
Try it on your own right now, and I’ll see you tomorrow!
I broke into comics in 94 and was working at Extreme Studios when I first saw a Michael Turner book. I was blown away by his work on Ballistic from Top Cow. This was the excitement and drama and dark, shadowy realism that I wanted to create. And this guy down the street was already doing it and doing it better than anyone! He was a big inspiration for me. We were in the same class of Image artists. Of course, he was top of the class and he lead with a magnificent guiding light.
Years later I was fortunate to meet Mike at a con, and he was just a guy. A pal to everyone he met. A few years later, in 2000 I was just recovering from surgery for a tumor on my drawing hand, and was invited to come work out the kinks at Top Cow. This was right after Mike’s 1st operation. He was already recovering pretty well and was getting around on crutches. He told us in the bullpen about his operation, and the skiing accident that led to the discovery of his cancer, with all the mirth and dignity anyone could hope for in that situation. we all felt for Mike but he was not one to take that sympathy. It happened…shit happens…move on and keep moving. That was his attitude. It helped me through my recovery, it helped fortify me for my future.
Mike’s like that. He inspires. He blazes and we just watch in awe. A few years later I was able to do a creator owned comic called Killbox, about my fellow Marines. While I served in the Marines and met many heroic people, I have never met anyone like Mike. My dedication in Killbox #3 reads “Dedicated to Michael Turner, comic book artist, visionary, and the bravest man I’ve ever known.”
To paraphrase one of Mike’s favorite movies… “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly, Mike”
And he could still kick your ass at foosball hopping on one leg leaning on the sticks.
Hard at work finishing the visual and sound effects on “The X-Files: I Want to Believe,” Frank Spotnitz, the co-writer and co-executive producer of the highly anticipated sequel, slipped away from the editing room for a few minutes to speak with CBR News about his upcoming Wildstorm comic book special illustrated by Brian Denham, due in stores July 23.
Spotnitz told CBR News, “We’re working on a very compressed schedule to complete the film. But it’s very exciting.”
Exciting, yes. But it’s also cramping his style a bit too.
“It’s really fun but I wish I didn’t have this movie distracting me from writing comic books,” laughed Spotnitz. “I never tried my hand at this before obviously, and it’s really nice actually.”
Spotnitz said when Topps Comics was producing its 42-issue run of “The X-Files” during the heyday of the cult television series in the late nineties, it never crossed his mind to write one himself. “Back then, I was so completely consumed by the [television] series,” explained Spotnitz. “I barely had time to read the comics, let alone write one, so this is a real pleasure. I still don’t have that much time but I have more time then when I was doing the series.”
The filmmaker said while he’s new to the medium as a creator, he has become an instant fan of what working in comics means creatively. “I know I am not the first person, nor the last person, to say this, but [comics] is so different than doing television or a movie because you don’t have to go through all of the layers,” explained Spotnitz. “It’s just you and your editor. It’s very pure. And it keeps you connected to what you love about the process instead having to deal with all of the politics that inevitably surround filmmaking.”
Asked how the comic book spinoff came to land at Wildstorm, Spotnitz acknowledged he had a little help from his friends. “It’s interesting,” he said. “We were talking about re-launching X-Files as a comic book series or a graphic novel series and the people at Fox were trying to figure out what to do and I just said, ‘I am going to call some of my friends and see what they think.’ And I called Brian K. Vaughan and I called Brad Meltzer and both of them ended up pointing me to Wildstorm.
“So I actually contacted Wildstorm and said, ‘Hey, do you guys want to do X-Files?’ And they said, ‘yes.’ I actually thought there would be some corporate conflict because they are part of DC, which is part of Time Warner and we are a part of 20th Century Fox, which is part of News Corp and I didn’t know if these corporations got along. But it ended up not being a problem and it’s been great.”
Unlike the movie sequel, set six years after the final episode of “X-Files” aired in 2002, the comic book returns to the scene of the crime, smack dab in the heart of the television series’ storyline. “My thought was that it made more sense to set the comic series in, I hate to use the word but, the classic period of the X-Files,” explained Spotnitz. “Mulder and Scully are both still at the F.B.I. working in Mulder’s basement office. The Lone Gunmen are around. Skinner is around. It’s the heart of what everybody knows and loves about the X-Files.
“It would just be too difficult to address how fluid the world of the X-Files is at this time. So it just made easier to set it in the past.”
Spotnitz revelead the special scheduled for July is a stand-alone, ‘monster of the week’ story set somewhere between Season 2 and Season 5. “It’s in classic X-Files mode. Mulder the believer. Scully the sceptic. And scary,” said Spotnitz. “It’s simpler than an episode would be because it’s shorter than the length of an episode. It’s fun to be back in that world and have Mulder and Scully investigating a new case. It’s a different mode than the mode of the movie, which is set six years after the series ended. They are both in very different places in their lives in 2008 then they were when the TV series was going on.
“It’s like revisiting Holmes and Watson when they were at the peak of their adventures, as well.”
Spotnitz sums up the major difference between writing comics and writing for TV or film with one word: precision. “It’s being very precise with dialogue, saying less and showing more, which I love to do,” said Spotnitz. “There is a reason why comic books translate so well to the big screen. It’s because they are cinematic and it’s telling stories with pictures instead of words. And I love that. The challenge is saying things so succinctly that they fit. You don’t have tons and tons of dialogue. I have to say it hasn’t been painful at all. It’s been really enjoyable. It’s just finding the time to do it.”
And if the idea of X-Files returning to comics isn’t enough for you, Spotnitz said wait until you see the artwork by Brian Denham. “It’s so beautiful. I was just blown away when I saw the first couple of pages that he’d done,” teased Spotnitz. “They came to me as a file on my computer. And I just opened them up and it was like, ‘my God, this is gorgeous.’ I just can’t wait to see it in print.”
Spotnitz has signed up to write three specials for Wildstorm in the coming months, and while the first one is a stand-alone, the second and third will tie-in more directly with the X-Files mythos of aliens arriving, and eventually invading, Earth. “The idea now is to make stand-alone specials but the next ones that I am going to write tie into the mythology of the show not in a way that changes the path but deepens it a little bit,” said Spotnitz.
And while an ongoing series is not likely at this point, Spotnitz said there are lots of X-Files remaining to be solved. “I think I’d like to keep doing them,” said Spotnitz. “As my time allows and then bring in other writers to do them. That’s my hope that we can make this a vital enterprise.”
Those other writers don’t include Brad Meltzer and Brian K. Vaughan just yet, Spotnitz said it would be worth the call to see if there is interest. “I’d be thrilled if they would [come on to write a special]. I haven’t asked them yet but I’d be delighted if both of them would. They’d be awesome. And I am going to make some calls to old X-Files compatriots too and see if I can rope any of them in, as well.”
“The X-Files Special” is scheduled for July 23, two days prior to the release of the movie, “The X-Files: I Want To Believe.”
THIS ARTICLE WAS TAKEN FROM WWW.COMICBOOKRESOURCES.COM
Instead of making birthday wishes, I’ve decided that me and my family will start making birthday goals. Goals are more attainable than wishes and I want to teach my kids to set goals.
So my new goal, besides losing 40 pounds before my next birthday, is to get some more content up on this site. I’ll post at least once a week. Starting every Tuesday!
Let me know what info you want and I’ll start posting the blogs and tutorials again. I’ll get more art posted up here and I thought about doing a webcomic as well.
Should I post the webcomic here or on it’s own site?
Do you want this site to remain focused on tutorials or do you mind seeing other content like drawings, my comic pages and possibly a webcomic.
Thank you all for coming to my site for the tutorials and if you come because you like my art I appreciate your interest in my work! It means a lot to me.
Take care, I’ll see you soon!
P.S Besides my birthday it’s also the day the original Star Trek series left the airways in 1969, AND William Shatner filmed his final scene as Capt. Kirk on June 3rd during the making of Star Trek Generations.
Just declassified and announced today! (Thank goodness! It was hard to keep it a secret!)
I’m drawing the X-Files comic series and here’s the solicitation for the first issue! It’ll be on sale the week the movie is released and the same week as Comic Con! How awesome is that!
Order it already! It’s from Wildstorm/DC Comics!
THE X-FILES SPECIAL 0
Written by Frank Spotnitz
Art by Brian Denham
Variant cover by Brian Denham
The hit motion picture and television franchise returns to comics! With July’s release of the brand-new X-Files blockbuster, WildStorm joins Mulder and Scully in a previously untold story from the film’s cowriter and producer Frank Spotnitz! Don’t miss this supernatural epic so large it will leave you screaming for more!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 10 copies of the Standard Edition (with a photo cover), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Brian Denham). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
Retro-solicited; on sale July 23 • 40 pg, FC, $2.99 US
UPDATED WITH MODIFIED TEMPLATE ON APRIL 3, 2008. THIS VERSION IS COMPATIBLE WITH ALL ILLUSTRATOR CS PROGRAMS.
Download the Template here…(make sure you RIGHT CLICK and SAVE AS) then load it into your templates folder to use. Comic and Manga Template
This is a Template for creating comic and manga art in Adobe Illustrator.
It’s preloaded with standard American comic and manga sizes like…
American standard Double Page Spread
American Standard DPS on one page
TokyoPop standard 1.5 x up
TokyoPop standard 2 x up
TokyoPop standard DPS
TokyoPop standard 1.5 x up DPS
TokyoPop standard 2 x up DPS
I’ve also loaded this document with a bunch of cool brushes that are all color-coded with a directory for what each color brush does.
The brushes are colored in the brush menu but can be assigned a new color when in use. I noticed it’s hard to keep track of dozens of black brush icons so I created the color code.
The page is set to 11″x 17″ dimensions but you can easily change the crop marks.
This document is set for use in Adobe CS3, but I’m sure you can use it in earlier versions.
If you load this document as a User Defined Brush Pallette you can use all the brushes in other documents.
This is version 1. I’m sure you may find errors in the brushes or typos, if you do please write me and let me know. I’ll fix them up as soon as possible.
Let me know what you think!
Some of the brushes used in this document were taken from the web. I’ve included a few of several different people’s free brush palettes but they have a lot more to offer if you visit their sites. I didn’t include whole palette’s just the best of the best for what I liked.
JOE WEBSTER–JW INK BRUSHES
First up is Joe Webster who has some awesome comic style inking brushes. Be sure to adjust your stroke to change the look. I like using a very low stroke of his detail brushes. Here’s where you can find out more about Joe, his awesome art, and cool tutorials and brushes…
Webcomics Weekly podcast episode 21, the hosts were talking about signing their comic strips in the comics.
Scott mentioned that he does not sign his strips because when he was a child his Dad mentioned that it looked like bragging to do so. So Scott has never signed his strips. He also mentioned that Image had asked him to sign his covers but he felt like the people who bought the comic knew who drew it and there was no need to sign the covers. He also mentioned that it brought back images of the early 90′s where everyone was signing their covers, and how huge and out of control it got.
He brought up the fact that I used to sign covers with a big pocket image. And I agree that the Image days got out of control with the big signatures on the covers and it’s also the reason I don’t sign my covers anymore. I want the art to speak for itself.
There are a number of reasons that an artist should sign the covers, one main reason is it helps publicize your work as an artist, and hopefully it will build your audience as well. Sometimes I feel that i just want the number of people who like and appreciate my art to grow on it’s own without any publicity on my part. Another part of me can see the multitude of talented artists who felt this same way and don’t get their names out there, who still sit in the same position in their careers.
It can go both ways. Which do you prefer? Signed covers or not? Publicity or no?
I hung out with Scott Kurtz today and tried to show him my technique for drawing comics in Illustrator. He showed me how he drew his comic first and I went in and showed what I did. We came to the realization that what works for me does not necessarily work the same for him, nor for Kris Straub of Starslip Crisis.
Some of the things Scott really needed was an accurate brush design similar to what he had already, and the eraser function to work without distorting his clean line art. The methods we came up with to do that added a lot of time to each page. He draws his webcomic very fast and does not need an added couple of hours correcting lines that could be fixed easier in Photoshop.
When I complete a page there is a lot of extra details I put in with an added layer on top of the layers stack where I go in and add white highlights or random extra details or highlights or correct ink lines. He does not need to do any of that because he works in very clean ink lines. Photoshop delivers clean lines for him quickly and easily that is just too time-consuming in Illustrator where the remedy might be using the pen tool which takes a lot of finese.
So Kris, Scott and I learned that what each of us uses individually is the right program for each of us. Simple. Except Scott needs his line art in vector format. So he posted this video on PVPonline.com today hoping that someone may be out there in internet land with the idea or ability to help. I know enough about Illustrator to do what I do, but I don’t know enough to help him achieve the things he needs.
Maybe someone out there can help. If you have any ideas send them to Scott at his www.pvponline.com strip. Or post suggestions here in this thread.
Here’s the video…
I am in the process of uploading artwork to the site so you guys can get a good idea of what I do with Adobe Illustrator.
I have uploaded Iron Man: Hypervelocity 1 already, and I’ll have the rest of the series up very shortly. Keep checking back throughout this weekend.
It’s a bit hectic around here with all the work I’m doing and various family emergencies. Thanks for being so patient.
We’ll get this tutorial back up and running soon enough.
Who needs fleshbag comic artists when you can get a droid to do the same thing in half the time. Plus they get even less money than real comic artists.
When I’m drawing close-up on the page and I’ve zoomed in really far to see close-up, I lose the ability to see the full page at the same time.
I need to see how what I am drawing affects the entire composition. Without having to zoom out and then back in to finish what I am doing I use this time-saving little tip…
I open the file I am working on and draw from afar with the whole page in my sight. When I need to zoom in I open the file again and reduce both documents on my screen so I can see them at the same time.
With one image close-up and the other image zoomed out I can draw looking at the zoomed out and checking my line quality on the close-up or vice-versa.
It works great and saves time by not zooming in and out.
My briandenham.com website was deleted over at blogger so I had to start it all over. Instead of using Blogger I’ve switched to wordpress. This will give me the added bonus of merging illcraft.com, my illustrator tutorial site, and briandenham.com which was used as an online portfolio/gallery.
So over the next few weeks I’ll be working to get this thing set up again. Hopefully it’ll be a painless process. It took a while to learn all the ftp and hosting stuff that I didn’t have to worry about at blogger, and i’m glad for that because I need to use my website for more than it was being used for already.
I have another site which you may be interested in at sketchcaps.com. I started drawing on trucker caps at conventions and the people who have bought a hat so far are on the site. I have a few more to load soon.
Anyway, that’s my update.
see you soon!
I downloaded the trial version of Illustrator CS3 a few days ago. I’ve been playing around with it for just a few days but I can tell you that this program is incredible.
The newest change they have made is having the tool menu boxes on a side panel. Once you need a Stoke you click on a little icon on the right and the menu box opens. Once you make your new stroke change it releases and goes back to it’s side panel. You can customize the side panels with your favorite tools.
It sure saves a lot of screen territory to have these tools hidden away in the side panel. I can now utilize the portrait feature of my 24″ monitor. The monitor has been turned on it’s landscape feature so I can see all of my menu boxes. Now I can just collapse the menus down and concentrate on my art instead of moving menus so I can see the work under the boxes.
They also made it so the side panels rest outside of the image area so they don’t cover up your art. Genius~!
I am about to buy the full upgrade and I am happy to do so. I have still been using Illustrator 10 because of the pencil tool. Something was changed in CS so the pencil didn’t work so well. CS2 was cool but I haven’t been using that as much as Illustrator 10. It may have been because there wasn’t enough changes to the program for me to care enough to switch over. Plus I had a collection of cool plugins that I wasn’t ready to let go.
With CS3 that has all changed. I care more about the side panel tool boxes than I do about my plugins. I can still go back to 10 and use them there and then just send them over to CS3 if I really need them. I am so very happy using CS3.
I was ready to dump my computer all together but this program made me fall in love with my old ass PC all over again. Even though CS3 blew out my graphics card! I was happy to upgrade that as well.
I’m using a 4 year old Gateway 700XL with 512MB of memory. Not a powerhorse but it does what I need.
My first comics work with CS3 was for Nova #5 from Marvel Comics. It ships in August if you want to check it out.
I’ll post some more tutorials before summer is over!
Now that my Iron Man Hypervelocity series is shipping from Marvel I’ll be able to show you some of the new tricks and techniques I’ve deleloped.
As a recap to some new folks who have linked to this blog, I’m showing how I have used Adobe Illustrator 10 to draw comic books. I draw directly in the program using a Wacom Intuos 2 on a PC. The best way to get the most out of this blog is to start from the beginning lesson. I cover all the basic things you need to do from the get-go to get up to speed using Illustrator. I cover all the tools and palette options that I use while drawing in Illustrator.
I’ve also stuck with Illustrator 10 for the most part because the pencil tool is better there than in later versions. It’s in wider circulation than the newer programs and won’t cost you a lot of money to get if you don’t own Illustrator already. I’m sure you can find cheap versions of Illustrator 10 on eBay.
While I’ve been drawing Iron Man:Hypervelocity for Marvel during the past year I’ve found a need to draw tons of speedlines in many different directions. There are many ways to create speedlines.
Here I’ll show you a really quick and simple way.
Here’s a preview pages of my 6 issue mini-series from Marvel.
The book is titled Iron Man Hypervelocity and will be released January 2007.
It’ll be offered in the November Diamond previews catalog
for items shipping in January.
Let your local comic shop know you want to order it and they’ll reserve you a copy.
The trade paperback will ship the second week of October, 2007.
Make sure you get a copy of the comic or the trade!
Once upon a time an artist saw a tree.
This was the most ordinary tree with nothing amazing about it at all. But the artist had a new digital camera and took a picture of the tree anyway. Now the picture was plain and not of any interest to anyone whatsoever, so it sat in a file on a computer for a year.
No one ever looked at it again.
Until one day when the artist had a new PLUG-In for his Illustrator program. The artist was curious and wondered what the tree would look like in vector form.
So he opened the little file of the plain tree and turned it into a magic Vector.
The artist was amazed at how beautiful the Vector Tree was. Its leaves look like an explosion, and it looked like bubbles and debris. why, it looked like a million Amazing things. So the artist grabbed the top of the tree and copied it and pasted it next to the Tree.
Why, now it looked like an Angel with evil wings.
What was this amazing Tree? It turned itself into many amazing things. Now the artist gazed into the eyes of the evil winged creature and it spoke to him in his mind.
“YOU WILL USE ME ON EVERY PAGE YOU EVER DRAW!”
The artist nodded stiff with fear.
“YOU WILL PAY FOR NOT LOOKING AT MY BEAUTY IN COLOR! YOU WILL PAY FOR UNLOCKING THE VECTORIZED SECRETS WITHIN ME!”
And with a thunderous roar the creature went silent and released the artist.
The artist returned to his work with his digital pen and his tablet of Wacoming. And everyday for the rest of the artists life he opened the Vector Tree file and gazed into it’s beauty and saw more and more things that could be used on each page of his art.
The Vector Tree laughed and waited until other people would see it’s beauty on the printed page. And then it would claim more minds for it’s Vectoring ways.
Be warned, something vector this way comes.
This will be a quick lesson with no pictures. Sorry. I know I can’t read anything without pictures so I hope you’ll bare with me.
I have been working with a better layer structure by using CLIPPING MASKS. It really helps to keep everything more organized.
SO—as I start work on my new pages I indicate where my panels will go. I block the gutters on the top layer by using black boxes all the same width. Just to be different than the average bear I put a 2pt. White Stroke in the middle of the black bars. I’m all for comics with black gutters, but when I am using a lot of black in the panels already, the panels and the gutters will run into each other and be too hard to see what’s going on. I got that tip from Jim Shooter at Comic-Con a couple of years back. That’s where I started putting the white line in to seperate the panels. Most of the ELSINORE work I did has the white line between the panels. Look at the work on www.briandenham.com to see the Elsinore stuff.
With my gutters indicated I now create my CLIPPING MASKS for each panel.
I start a new LAYER for each panel. I use the MARQUEE tool to draw a box in the shape of the panels. If the panels are odd shape I use the WHITE ARROW (direct selection tool) to grab the points and duplicate the shape of the panels. Then at the bottom of the LAYERS PALETTE I click the CREATE CLIPPING MASKS button and this makes my shape turn into a CLIPPING MASK.
—What the heck is a clipping mask? Well it’s a hole in the universe that allows us to see all of the art in the hole but nothing outside the shape of the hole. So once the clipping mask is created on a SUB-LAYER I lock that Sub-layer so we won’t mess with it again. Then I create a bunch of new Sub-Layers on this main PANEL LAYER and keep all of the art for this panel in those other Sub-Layers.
When I am ready to draw a new panel I got an do the same steps for that panel. Now I have a Layers just named P1 for PANEL 1 and keep all of the art for that layer there. P2 and so on for each panel.
I can’t believe how much of a benefit this is to keep everything in it’s place. I had to go back to do corrections on Iron Man 1 and I was amazed at how messed up I had all of my layers. It was so hard to find stuff when some of the layers were named 157. LOL
Pays to get organized.
So now all of my pages have the layers organized this way. If I have anything else I need in an exact shape I will create a new Layer and use a clipping mask for the shapes. Like I drew a jet with specific speedlines on the shadow areas of the jet. I drew all of my shadows out and created a clipping mask for them. I then drew the speed lines and placed them in the clipping mask and they only showed up where the clipping mask was. This was important for this specific effect because the area behind the jet had a different set of speedlines in the opposite direction. If I did it any other way the speedlines would overlap or I would have had to cut the ends of the speedlines off and that would take way too long.
I have recorded a new 20 minute video of me drawing in illustrator. There is sound and you can hear me talk about what I am doing.
This video is very basic and just a test. I should have turned my monitor sideways to create a bigger video. The sound is at times hard to hear and my voice sounds like Bobby Brady singing about “Changes”. LOL
Here is the link to the video download. It’s a whopping 60 Meg and it’s 20 minutes of your life you will never get back. All for a crappy head sketch of Spider-Man. LOL
But this is ONLY A TEST! You’ve been warned!
If you do download this sucker PLEASE comment here and tell me what you think. I’m going to get these more professional and the next time I post one it will be brilliant!
I’m also going to collect a bunch of them on a DVD and have them at conventions. But that is down the road a ways.
You know the Denham clan has a long history with the cinema. My great grandfather Carl Denham captured a giant 40 ft. gorilla back in the 1930′s. From what my family has told me it escaped it’s cage and climbed up a builing in New York. Crazy huh? I think his story has been made into a couple of films over the years.
Spidey 60 Meg avi file
This is a link to the download. It does not automatically start downloading. There are 2 options through Rapidshare. You can join the premium account or just download the video for free. Hope you enjoy.
Here is a Camtasia recording I made of me using Adobe Illustrator. Camtasia records just the image of my monitor so you don’t have to look at my ugly mug while I’m drawing. Plus I don’t have to get dressed. see! it’s a win/win situation for us all.
If this sucker posts ok I’ll go ahead and buy Camtasia and do more of these. Now If I can use my new mic to record my voice and Camtasia to record what I’m doing this site will be a lot better. It’s so much easier to draw and tell you what I did than to write words. Stupid words!
here is a little gem. Kind of the proverbial Lemonade from lemons. There is this strange thing my Mouse and Stylus do when they both want to be in charge. My computer starts bouncing between the position of the mouse and the stylus.
So as I draw in the PENCIL tool the lines are “echoed” and the computer draws the lines in the exact spot 3 times.
It creates these really weird effects as all the lines are still connected from one block of lines to the next.
The lines in BLUE in the picture show the effect in real time. I took a snapshot of the Screen so you could check it out.
The black lines in the background are the previous batch I made. This usually last for about 5 minutes so I make as many different lines and shapes as I can in the meantime. I used some of these debris patterns in Elsinore in some backgrounds.
WOW! I still can not get over the new feature I’ve been playing around with in the previous post. I don’t think I have drawn a page yet since discovering this little gem without using it on each page.
One problem I have had working from Adam Warren’s layouts for my Iron Man book is to create brush like speed lines and motion blurs like Adam does. Problem solved!
Here’s what I do.
Create a CIRCLE. Any size will do. Hit the E button and hold the CTRL (on a PC) and stretch that circle to a real long shape. Now hit the E button again and shrink it down to a smaller size. Now repeat the stretching process again and shrink it down again. Now you have a really long ellipse. THAT LOOKS LIKE IT WAS MADE WITH A BRUSH!
Duplicate these but shrink some even smaller and place them right next to the large ones. This makes a really cool combination. Once you have a whole stack of them you can select “e” again and hold CTRL to stretch these brush looking speed lines into a perspective. I did it in the background behind a race car and it looks great.
I also duplicated these once they were in perspective and shrank them down even more. I colored them white on a black background and it created a “spacewarp” effect like in Star Wars or Star Trek.
I’ve also created one slightly bent line to match the perspective of a curved street. Then I duplicated that line into about 20 lines on top of each other. keeping them really close together, by the way. I used the “e” and CTRL to distort them. Once they started to distort they kept the curved shape but did it IN PERSPECTIVE. I just laid it down on top of my street scene and it looked like speed lines with a french curve. Something that would have taken a long time by hand was done in a few seconds with this feature!
A NOTE ABOUT LAYERING–
When I drew the street scene I had my street and background buildings on one layer. Above that layer were my curved speed lines. Above that layer was a layer I call WHITEOUT, which I use for small white dots and street cracks to break up the speedlines. Above that layer was the shadow of my car, including the wheelwell Above that layer was the rims of the car’s wheels. I did the rims with circles and then distort them, (Again using the “e” CTRL but holding down SHIFT as well to keep the distortions horizontal line straight with the other side.) The rims I am using on every page that the car appears on and just distort it to match the perspective of the car! The layer above that has the body of the car and the layer above that has the shines and white dots of streetlights on the glass.
Pretty cool feature! I can’t believe how much I use it now and how much I wish I knew it a long time ago!
The picture to the left is a way to make bricks in perspective, but if you just need grid lines follow along…
PERSPECTIVE GRID LINES
1.-Draw one line. Make a copy on that line directly under it by Holding ALT (on a PC) and pulling it down.
2.-Keep it selected and hold CTRL+D and everytime you hit “D” it will duplicate the line as many times as you need.
3.-After you have as many lines as needed select all of them with the BLACK ARROW (Direct Selection Tool) , PRESS THE “E” KEY, and hold CTRL and pull them anyway you need perspective lines.
4.-Duplicate steps 1-3 and make new lines in perspective going the opposite direction. You will then have a criss-crossed, “x” shape pattern great for using for perspective guidelines in the background.
Pro artists don’t always draw perspective lines all the way to the horizon line. You need only have some criss-cross for your panel.
Here is a shot of how to make a picture out of some bricks. This spacewalk shot took less than 10 minutes. The squares were WHITE FILL and BLACK STROKE. The background was a black square on a lower layer. The lines in the back were created with my new buddy; the DASHED LINE.
Next time, I will show you how to make some crazy computer terminals with that little gem!
Whoops! I’m getting behind on this blog! I’m going to answer a few questions from the New Year’s post. (So it looks like I am posting again.)
What do you mean by “more often”?
More often now means “soon”. LOL This IRON MAN Marvel gig is taking up some of my time here and I was not allowed to show the art yet. But now I can! So “soon” I will have more tutorials up with some of the crazy new things I came up with.
I came up with this AWESOME feature last night. I’m sure you guys already know it, but I’ve never seen it or used it. So I’ll be posting that feature soon.
This should be called The Idiot’s Way to Draw in Illustrator instead of one of those Idiot’s Guide. LOL
It seems like every day recently I make a new discovery in Illustrator. I’m like Columbus. I discovered a new land…that some people were already living on. Oh well, enjoy my germs. Maybe you can catch something from me that helps you…
What is the difference between Pencilling and Inking?
(I assume you mean in the computer because on paper that’s a whole other blog!) My pencilling stage is basically my sketching stage at this point. Using the PENCIL tool with NO FILL and a .01 Stroke. My INKING stage is me drawing very tight final art with the PENCIL tool and a BLACK FILL. I also draw with a WHITE FILL to add extra little details over the black art.
Do you print out to give to the editor? How do you print out?
I don’t print out pages to send to an editor.
One of the advantages to drawing on the computer is saving a client’s Fed Ex money. No longer do I have to send pages to Marvel for approval and then they send them to the inker and the inker sends it back to Marvel. That’s a lot of last minute rushed Fed Ex packages! Now I can wait to the very last possible second and send my TIFF FILES to my editor via e-mail to get paid. Plus I don’t have to race through traffic, put up with FedEx guys who close the door when I get there, or forgetting my address as I fill out the Fed Ex slips. That really brings a guy down!
Plus my little ol’ heart can’t take that stress!
I went to a convention in Dallas this past weekend and met a lot of great people. You would not believe how the mouth’s drop when I tell people I am drawing in Illustrator. One guy was kind of funny because he was grilling me about drawing in Photoshop instead of Illustrator. “Why do it in Illustrator? Why not Photoshop?”, He would ask. I told him over and over how I am doing this or that, and how this feature is better in Illustrator. But he would not have it. I’ve tried to do this in Photoshop and it drives me crazy. And I know Photoshop! It just works a lot better and faster for me to do this in Illustrator.
Of course what works for one guy may not work for another. We all have our tastes. I prefer it in Ilustrator because I tried the other programs and this works incredibly well for me. I hope you are finding this tutorial helpful.
If you have any more questions please send them! It may help to know what you need to know.
My Resolution for the new year is to post more often. I haven’t been posting here as often as I wanted to and I’ll work to correct that.
I started this year with work from Marvel Comics. YEAH! I’ll let you know about that as soon as Marvel does.
Have a great 2006!
Sorry about the lack of updates to this blog. I’ve been very busy lately with a number of projects and I have been unable to post anything here. Since I have been working at a furious pace lately I have stumpled over some cool techniques and processes that I will be sharing here soon.
Before the end of 2005 I will start updating again more frequently.
I will be available to answer any questions you have so post them if you got them.
On a side note I have gone back to using Illustrator 10 more. The main reason for this is the Brush tool is very frustrating. I try to draw a circle with the Brush and it comes out deformed looking like a square. I have tweaked all of the tools I know of but nothing helps to rectify el problemo. This kind of sucks because CS2 has so many other cool features, but I can’t afford such slow moving or frustrating tools.
Anyway-see you soon!
Step 1.) Grab a brush with a thick middle and thin edges and quickly touch the screen in a pattern that makes some cool lines like in the picture. Under the Step 1 title you can see what the brush looked like by itself.
Now SELECT them all with the BLACK ARROW(Area Selection Tool.) then go into the MENU bar at the top of the screen and select OBJECT>EXPAND APPEARANCE this converts the brush lines into solid objects that Superman can look through. While you are there in the OBJECT menu go ahead and GROUP the brush lines.
Step 2.) On a new LAYER above the speed lines you just made draw a MARQUEE like the one shown. What we will do here is chop off the top of the speed lines to place them inside a panel.
Step 3.) With the ol’ Black Arrow select the brush lines and the Marquee and go into the PATHFINDER menu and select SUBTRACT FRONT. This subtracts the shape of the Marquee we made from anything under it, hence the name SUBTRACT FRONT.
Now we have this really cool Speed Line look with a straight edge that we can place against the panels edge.
If you really want to add some sweetness to this effect you can grab the splatter looking default BRUSH and a WHITE STROKE and splatter some white over the tips of the lines. It really looks cool!
Here is a Close-Up of the SUBTRACT FRONT tool in the PATHFINDER PALLETTE. It’s the one with the handsome Red Circle surrounding it’s little picture.
This effect works really well in Illustrator 10 as well as Illustrator CS2.
What a great day. I went out and got the upgrade to illustrator CS2!
I love this program so much. I talked to Todd Macadangdang from Illustrator last year at Comic-Con and told him some of the features I didn’t like in Illustrator Creative Suite and how I wouldn’t upgrade until some of the functions of some of my favorite tools were fixed. Something they did in CS really bugged me and it made it very difficult to do what I was doing in Illustrator 10.
Man! Adobe really change Illustrator for the better with Creative Suite 2.
Some of my favorite features so far are the ability to save Templates easily, the ability to arrange and save the toolbars to your prefereance, the ability to save brushes quickly and effortlessly. I still have no clue how to do it in Illustrator 10. Now it’s a simple button.
I really, really love the Live Paint Bucket tool. If you like coloring anime style you have got to get this program. You can color anime style with a few clicks.
Some features really speed up my drawing time as well. The LIVE PAINT BUCKET feature can fill in ink lines for me very quickly. Some things that would have taken an extra 10 minutes of redrawing can be done now in less than a second.
Don’t despair if you don’t have CS2 yet. Many of the things I will be talking about can still be done in Illustrator 10. I’ll still be thinking with an ILLustrator 10 mind for a while until I learn all the new features.
However some of the new features are easy to learn and very intuitive.
Let me know if you have CS2 yet!
I had to get rid of the BRUSH effects on this page because it slowed my computer down to much.
So I went it with the PENCIL and A GRAY FILL and STROKE to make the shading effects.
I did the dark Gray on one layer and the lighter gray on the layer UNDER the dark one. This really gives the impression of smooth shading.
I also created little light grey lines around the shading areas to make it look like I used a real brush and the hairs created some random Happy Accidents.
Once I created the black background I saw that the Thing didn’t pop out as much as he did against the white background. To correct this I created a small white line around most of his rocky outline. This helps pop him out of the page and away from his background.
I then added white dots to make it look like rocky debris was falling off from him as he moved and the rocks grinded together. That little extra attention to detail really pays off.
When I draw an effect that I know will be white I first draw it in a different color. Usually I make it a hot pink or other neon color that I can easily identify on the page.
Once I am happy with the lines I want WHITE I select them and change the FILL and STROKE to white by selecting white in the color picker or by DOUBLE-CLICKING the TOOLBOX colors. This will open a Fly-Away menu box and I select the color from there.
It’s a lot easier to do this than to color in white on a white background. That may have been fine in 5th grade art class when you drew a snowman in a snowstorm fighting a Yeti, but it’s not a good idea here.
I’ll use the blank layers to try stuff out. I’ll create new texture effects, brushes if I want to overtax my computer, and I’ll create some gray coloring in the middle to see if I want some of my lineart in grey instead of black.
When I choose to create some of my black lines in gray I do so because it really adds some cool visuals and depth to the shot. They are also there as guide notes for the colorist if I have a specfic lighting style in mind.
This shot of the thing has a lot of small details I have added to play up his rocky structure. I notice at this stage that some of the grit looks a little too purposeful. I want more of a random real-world look to his rocks.
So now I’ll go in with the pencil and add some white effects. I’ll use one of the middle layers and draw some patterns with my PENCIL TOOL set to a WHITE FILL and a WHITE STROKE and a .01 STROKE. With some of my black line-art on a lower layer and some on a top layer this will create some interesting effects.
I’ll then place another layer higher than my black line art and do some smaller splattering of white to help break up the rocks.
All of these lines were created using the info I told you in the last step. I have to draw the outline of these shapes with the Pencil Tool in order to achieve this look.
Take a gander at the lower image. These lines are the same as the lines on top, however I gave them an EMPTY FILL with a BLACK STROKE so you can see how sketchy my lines look. After I sketch out my artwork using a NO FILL and a .01 PENCIL TOOL setting I switch to a BLACK FILL and ink the lines.
If you click on this image for a closer look you will see a very pixelated jpeg. These lines are very smooth in Illustrator and just look a little distorted here on Al Gore’s internet.
The lines in the middle of the image that look like a real smooth brush are created using a reverse “j” looking line. Anytime you want a Pencil line looking like a brush I have noticed a “j” shape works well to achieve the look.
Why don’t I just use a brush? I noticed when I use a ton of brush lines my computer lags. My computer has a 200 gig hard drive and 512 memory. I must upgrade that. But for now the Pencil tool is a cheap alternative to Computer Memory.
I started with this shape as an extreme zoom-in of a small shape that could be used in a brick pattern on a wall, or a sweat bead on a manga character.
The purpose is to demonstrate one small drawback of drawing in Illustrator with the Pencil. You see how a shape that would have been one quick line with a brush has me drawing all the way around the shape to achieve the same effect with the pencil.
It takes a little getting used to, but once you can do this it will really pay off. It shouldn’t take more than a day or so to get used to drawing shapes like this and understanding where you need to do it this way and where you don’t.
One incredible benefit of Adobe Creative Suite 2′s Illustrator is you can use the paint bucket to fill some areas like this very, very quickly. I’m talking Quicksilver fast!
The BLACK ARROW–it’s not the latest superhero villain from DC COMICS. No! The Black arrow is also known as the AREA SELECTION TOOL. If you drew that red star from the previous lesson you would use this tool to grab the whole star in one mighty click and move it wherever you want to. Or you can draw a big rectangle or square around the star and the Black Arrow will grab the entire thing.
The White Arrow-or as his friends call him behind his back, the DIRECT SELECTION TOOL. If you don’t want to move the entire red star from the earlier example but you want to torture the poor star and bend it to your evil will then this is the tool you use. This tool is good at grabbing individual points on the star and moving those specific ones. For instance you can select one corner and pull it into the star until it cries out in pain, “UNCLE!”, or you can stretch it in any direction you want. When you click on a side of the star you will notice the WHITE ARROW goes all doppleganger on your ass and becomes the BLACK ARROW. You can then move the whole star.
If you select one point with the white arrow and hold down the shift key you will be able to select multiple points. All of these white points will now be a solid point and will be able to move. All the other points you didn’t click will remain in position until you decide to play fair and move them all.
Some of the other tools, in left to right order, are the MAGIC WAND, the DIRECT SELECTION LASSO, (Good at wild keg parties), The PEN TOOL for drawing those crazy Bezier Curves. “Freedom Curves as we call them in the States. You’ll also see the TEXT TOOL, LINE, MARQUEE, BRUSH, PENCIL(YEA! Our favorite!).
Also we have the ROTATE, SCALE,WARP which is fun to play with but won’t call you back after a one-night stand, and MOVE which um…can move things. Not a great superpower but can always get books down off of high shelves.
SYMBOL which is the little Homie style Spray Can, which I haven’t found a good use for as yet, Graph which I would use if I had a “real job” I suppose.
MESH which is cool for tweaking the perspective of Superman’s “S” Diamond logo for instance. Gradiant which can do some cool effects especially over a mesh. EYE DROPPER is great for changing the color of items, but one of it’s best features is matching text. If you write text one way and do it again in another font and size, but then you decide you want all your text to match you just select the text you want to change and then place the eyedropper over the good text and faster than you can say “Shazam” without looking silly your text changes and it’s all the same. Great for comformists conventions. Next is the BLENDING OPTIONS tool.
The 4 colored tools in the middle are from the Plug-ins I mentioned earlier. They are not standard in Illustrator.
The last 4 tools are scary and tell a grim tale. KNIFE, SCISSORS, disembodied HAND, and LOLLIPOP of the damned. Some people think the last one is a MAGNIFYING GLASS but there is no way in Galactus’s Shorts you can get me to click the LOLLIPOP of the damned.
The 2 boxes o’color…..ah…we have finally arrived at our destination….The full square box is FILL and it’s used to obviously fill a shape with a color. The square donut looking one is our friend STROKE…ah, s t r o k e …mmmmmm it’s nice to think about…Stoke fills the outside of a shape with the selected color, but not the interior which is FILL’s job. Fill is union so there is no way that Stroke can do his job. Even though he works harder…alas.
Under that we have the 3 Micro button brothers. First we have COLOR, then gradient, then EMPTY. You can click on these for instant access to the selection of your choice.
The 3 buttons below that deal with screen stuff and it’s best not to talk about in polite company.
There we have covered the basics. If you have any questions about this stuff please ask below. Some of the tools have fly away boxes that give you more options. Just double Click the tools to reveal if you are a winner.
If we are all buckled in then we can move on to what you’ve all been waiting for, DRAWING NAKED CHICKS, but before that…let’s start with a simple shape or 2 to get you in the mood to use your pencil…um double entendre not intended. Bad spelling not intended either.
It’s our new COMPOUND SHAPE! I placed a red star on a lower layer so you can see the magic of the Compound Shape.
Once you create the compound shape the previous 2 seperate layers named PAGE and PANELS now merge into one single layer.
You can rename this layer something dramatic, something silly, or you can keep your stuff well organized and just give it the plain jane monicker GUTTERS.
Place this sucker on the TOP LAYER and don’t move it!
Draw everything in the panels on the layers below it. You can sperate your art into seperate panel layers if the mood strikes you.
If you are into a goth book, or want your stuff to look like Ultimates you can fill your GUTTER with a BLACK FILL and BLACK STROKE. To do this just touch the Compound Shape with your Area Selection Tool, the black arrow at the left corner of your TOOLBOX. The set the Fill and Stroke to black.
I have this Compound Shape set to a WHITE FILL and a 1point STROKE.
What’s that? You don’t know what the heck I am talking about? You are new to Illustrator you say? Allrighty then, next lesson–the Quickie Illustrator tutorial
Create a layer called PAGE and another layer on top of that one called panels. The PAGE frame should be as big as your page. (Remember the red outline from the previous step?) The layer named PANELS should contain the shapes of the panels you’ll want for your story.
Once the PANELS layer is on top of the PAGE layer you’ll need to go up to the MENU bar and select OBJECT>COMPOUND PATH>MAKE to create a compound path.
A Compound Path is basically a stencil shape that will overlap the artwork. Where the holes exist in the stencil we will create our art on underlying layers.
Once the Compound Path is created we will color it with a WHITE FILL and BLACK STROKE or a BLACK FILL and BLACK STROKE.
Now that we have our page setup we are ready to start drawing our comic art. If at any point you want to change your COMPOUND PATH you can go back up into OBJECT>COMPOUND PATH>RELEASE and this will turn it back into the panel frames. They will keep the same colors so you’ll need to select them carefully to change.
Another way you can change your COMPOUND SHAPE is to use the DIRECT SELECTION (The White Arrow tool at the top Right of your TOOLBOX.) and select specific points (Corners) to move that into the shapes you need.
Let’s get started! You will need to create a new file. To do this go into FILE>NEW and this will open the dialogue box you see to the right.
Rename the new document as I have it here, Comic_Page_Template or another exciting title you provide on your own.
I have the settings set to pixel for any international viewers of this page who decide not to use the Inches menu.
Pixel is understood the world over.
Once your document is open make one layer that you will keep on the bottom. Draw 3 boxes as I have done in this picture at these exact sizes. You can use the MARQUEE TOOL to create the shapes. Once you select Marquee just click once in the center of your picture. Another dialogue will open and you can type in the exact dimensions of your boxes.
It beats trying to do it manually. That’ll drive you crazy!
Here are the exact dimensions I use for my page template. The RED BOX is the TRIM area once your art is printed. Anything between RED and BLUE may be cut off during printing.
The blue are will contain your artwork. The inner GREEN box is a lettering guide. No lettering should go outside of this box. It will look very unprofessional if it does.
Click on my image of the page template and it will open a bigger image. Save that one to your computer and place it in Illustrator and you can see if your lines line up with mine.
I keep 2 layers in my LAYER PALETTE with these guides. One is one the very bottom at all times. The other is on the very top. All of my artwork is contained on LAYERS between these 2 layers as I draw. Once I know that my art is within these guidelines I will delete those layers and continue finishing my art.
I work on a PC and keep my DESKTOP TASKBAR on the right side of the screen in a vertical manner.
The blue in this picture represents the space of the Taskbar. It’s hidden in this image however.
This setup is very functional for me because everything I need is on the right side of the screen. I don’t have to stretch my right arm across the left side of my tablet to get to any menu.
Another benefit of this layout to me is that I can see the names of the open WINDOWS I have on the right side TASKBAR in windows. I think I can read the titles to 15 seperate WINDOWS in this manner.
The default Pencil is nearly impossible to draw with. It’s even worse to try and draw fast with and fast is the name of the game when drawing comics.
DOUBLE CLICK the PENCIL TOOL icon in your tool palette.
A fly away menu will open and give you some settings to play with that look like this picture.
The .05 FIDELITY and 0% SMOOTHNESS settings are what I have found work best for me. Play around with them and draw with the PENCIL until you find what works for you.
It is Imperative to click the KEEP SELECTED option OFF. If you keep this box checked it’s very hard to draw with the Pencil tool to mimic a real pencil.
If you draw with the Pencil Tool and the Keep Selected button on then the computer erases each line you draw as you draw a new one.
I rarely use the PEN tool at all to draw in Illustrator. I find the Pencil tool does what I need and it’s a lot faster than the Pen tool.