The other day I was scanning some photos my mom let me borrow. This little guy is me, drawing at the table with my Nana behind me. I'm guessing I was probably 3 or 4. I tried to make out what I was drawing. It looks like a bunch of scribbles, but my name is fairly legible (B-O-B-B-Y). I don't remember not being able to read, and I don't remember not enjoying to draw. I guess because I did both at an early age. My Grammy (not to be confused with my Nana above), used to sit with me and have me practice drawing shapes. The most advanced thing she showed me how to draw was a pumpkin—clever of her because they were made out of the shapes she was teaching me.
I was 4 when my brother Shawn was born, and was expecting a baby sister (because I already had a brother, Matt). When I heard the news, I cried. My parents turned me around pretty quickly, though, and to welcome him into the family, I wrote Shawn's name and drew him a pumpkin. I don't have it handy; it's probably tucked away safely at my house. To this day, they appear in my doodles quite a bit.
One of the best parts of working at a company like FableVision is the opportunity to collaborate with talented people. I designed the above characters as cartoon extras for an animated web-series my friend Renée Kurilla is working on. The series revolves around a bunch of middle school kids, most of whom are pretty hip looking. So I figured the hallways could use a couple of dweebs.
These characters came out of some back and forth with another artist friend, Keith Zulawnik. We've been working on a math game with MIT that includes a story told through comics (previously mentioned here). Keith did one more iteration of these monster guards after I handed them off to him.
I'm normally inclined to draw weird animals and creatures. But you can get a lot of variety in a human face as well, which is something I have to remind myself of every so often. This gang of twelve is the result of a couple hours doodling in Flash.
I've been talking more about process lately. I got home from dinner tonight and decided to doodle around in Flash. Normally I rough out a gestural pose of some sort—whatever comes to mind at the time. I then turn on what's called "onion-skinning," where you can see a ghost of the previous frame. The gesture appeared to be a grief-stricken figure, and ended up becoming a tormented beast.
I normally try to limit the amount of steps from a thumbnail or loose drawing to the final picture, as I find that life gets drained with each iteration. The final rendering is more line-conscious. Something about the weight and energy of the figure is lessened. The gesture is all about loose curves, blocking out the form, and implied movement. But it lacks definition. And don't get me wrong; I like the final drawing. But it is all about me obsessing over detail. Interestingly, the middle step is a mixture of both extremes.
I finished coloring my 4-page comic for ARGH! over the weekend. Spurred by DB Dowd's request, I've decided to share a page with everyone. It's my favorite of the bunch and doesn't give away too much of the story. I also thought it would be a good chance to demonstrate how I use color and line.
Here's the inked version of page 2 of the comic. On it's own, it kind of works, but I would never design a comic to look like this if it were to live solely in black and white. I use line, knowing that color is on the way to punch up the visual impact. Which for me amounts to tone, design, and a contrast in value that this linework doesn't fully achieve.
The comic artists who work on ARGH! all share a common color palette. In previous issues, we've used black and one color, which amounts to a two-color print process. This time around, Félix decided to go with two true colors (no black). For those of you who speak Pantone:294C (a dark blue) and 021C (a deep red orange). I have to say, it's a weird way of coloring in Photoshop—you have to paint in spot color channels with grayscale sliders. Especially when you have to mix the two colors in combination. He sent along this color grid to show us the possible variations you could achieve. For instance, 100% of each color essentially gives you a black, half of each gets you in purple-gray territory.
And here's the final product. I wrote the comic around color, knowing I wanted to use the full spectrum. So, it takes place in a blue serene forest that is being ravaged by a two-headed fire dragon. The last panel is the one I posted previously, featuring Drip.
What's also great about a two-color process is that it forces you to work in a limitted palette, which is generally how I prefer to handle color. That's all for now...look for the full comic this fall. The issue is due to come out in September, I believe.