Monday, November 24, 2008

Dr Manhattan: Who Watches the Watchkids? in watercolor!

On an aside - watercolor blocks are the best (in my opinion) thing to work on, when doing watercolors. I learned how to watercolor back in college and it was a miserable job. You had to find a board to lie a soaking sheet of watercolor paper down on (and we always worked big, so we had to use a giant, hard to carry, board), then you wet these gummy strips of paper to glue the edges of the watercolor paper down to the board. And finally you had to staple or pushpin the areas that looked like they needed help staying down. All of this work went into just getting a piece of paper ready to work on (to prevent bowing and warping). It was ridiculous. So anyway - watercolor blocks are sheets of paper that are tape bound together. You work on the topmost sheet - and you have to cut it out (I use a palette knife, it's been the easiest to cut the tape without being too sharp and cutting into the paper) - and then you can start working on the next sheet. Because all of the sheets of paper are taped together, they never bow or warp. It's the greatest. The only problem is that they don't come in terribly big sizes....

I spent about 2 hours at the bookstore cleaning up the lines and then starting my color (I use Dr. Ph. Martin's watercolors, because they're the best. You don't have to work too hard, if at all, to make the colors vibrant (which is a problem I've had in the past with other watercolor brands). It took, about, another hour or so at home (later that night) to finish up the color.

This was the first of the Watchmen characters I painted. I was sitting in the Barnes and Noble in Glendale and was flipping through the 'art of' the Watchmen book when it struck me that I would really like to do my version of these characters. Lacking a computer to do a digital color job, I did a couple of thumbnails of Dr Manhattan (the first one was too stiff). Based on the second thumbnail I redrew it on my watercolor block (that I always keep with me).

I had previously scanned in this painting a few weeks ago. I hated the way the colors translated. It was so washed out and desaturated. I rescanned it this morning at work, and it turned out quite nice - the colors are a lot closer to my original painting. So, of course, I thought I'd post it.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Illustration Friday: Opinion - Lil' Roarshach

I finished my lil' Roarshach painting yesterday, but I wasn't happy with it. There was something missing from it, and other things that were just off. In my opinion (see, this is how it fits into the IF) I needed to make some changes. There were too many light sources (in the original painting) in the alleyway. There needed to be more of a defined shadow under the garbage can. And the words "Who watches the watchkids" needed to stand out more...I did the words in three different colors (previously) and didn't like any of them...well, I liked them okay, but they weren't working out as well. I toned down the texture on them (because that was one of the biggest problems in making them readable) and I think the piece works a little bit better. And it always bugged me that the buildings in the background didn't have any lights in them.

I also put it up on my blog at a bigger size (the original size of the piece is 9x12 and when I posted it last time I shrunk it down to 7 inches). So...I really like how it turned out - I feel that it's a stronger piece now.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Roarshach: Who watches the watchkids? Finished painting

This is the finished painting.

I'm still wondering about the words on the wall (is it the right color?)...I've recolored it several times...I ended up choosing this one...


Roarshach: Who watches the watchkids?

I've already done a version of Dr Manhattan. I have several sketches for the remaining characters, but one of my favorite character designs from The Watchmen was Roarshach.


I finished the cleanup this morning (before work) and will be trying to finish up the painting part of this piece as soon as possible. So far I have the brick wall of the alleyway and a garbage can - but I really like how they turned out, so I'm going to post them up here. My next post will be of the finished Roarshach painting.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Illustration Friday: Pretend #2

I have this image that I did back in August. I originally did a watercolor version, but because I want the book to be consistent, I had to redo it as a photoshop painting. I did the original lines in Illustrator and then imported it into photoshop (keeping the lines as vector art).

I need to start submitting my book "Adelia" for publication - and what the book needed most of all was a cover. This way I could not only make a complete 'dummy book' to submit, but I could also add my contact information in case the query letter was lost.

It's been a long time in the making - I finished "Adelia" last year and sent it out at christmas time to Chronicle Books. I always meant to send out more submissions, but freelance jobs distracted me.

I decided to put my cover for "Adelia" up on Illustration Friday because this week's topic, Pretend, is what my book is all about. Adelia and her balloon spend an afternoon enjoying life the way any child does - by using their imagination and pretending.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Illustration Friday: Pretend

This is for the 11/14/08 Illustration Friday topic: Pretend.

It seems appropriate, seeing as how Halloween just slipped by (all sly like). Of course, it might have been more appropriate on the actual halloween weekend, but it's close enough. Pretend obviously will mean different things to different people - but the first thing that came to my mind was halloween costumes. I've always wanted to dress up as Freddy Krueger or Jason from Friday the 13th (that movie where they battled was pretty awesome for a horrible horror movie) this halloween I was doing these drawings where I took a movie or entertainment icon and drew it as a stuffed animal or small child (depending on the subject matter)...and it was appropriate to do horror icons during the month of October.



I should put these two in a drawing together....maybe next halloween.

Lil' Darth Vader

This was one of the first drawings of this sort that I did. It almost got lost in a page of character drawings - but I was going back through what I had drawn and I really liked the death star behind Vader.


Last week I cleaned it up in between my real job (during any downtime)...


I tried to simplify the computerized mechanical elements of the death star by adding some lines. When I was finished with the cleanup I felt like it was missing something...sure it had Vader and a death star behind it...but I felt it needed something else. I drew one tie fighter and copied it (for the back two tie fighters)...originally it was three of the exact same tie fighters...but I changed the wing lines on the front tie fighter because Darth Vader always flew in a different vehicle from the storm troopers (and possibly it helped the audience to identify which one was his).


So I added that to the drawing, and it was ready to color. This is actually the biggest one I've worked on so far. I had to enlarge it to fit in the tie fighters. Usually these pieces are about 8 1/2 x 11 - but this one ended up at 11 x 13. The only downside to it was the slowdown the computer had when I used a bigger brushstroke or when I was applying a filter (which I did very minimally - I just added a little noise to the mechanical elements of the picture to add some texture). And that's it. Darth Vader was done.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dr Manhattan: Who Watches the Watchkids?

I finally had the chance to read the comic "The Watchmen." I've always heard a lot about it...and, most recently, because of the talks of a movie adaption, I had to see what all the fuss was about. Was this going to be another horrible take on a movie like The League of Gentlemen was (I never saw that one, because of how bad the reviews were)...but there have been good things said about The Watchmen movie.

So I read the comic - started to anyhow - I'm about three quarters of the way through. It's quite a good story. And I hear the movie is supposed to be quite faithful to the book.

I got the idea to do the Watchmen this last Saturday while I was at the bookstore. I didn't have my laptop with me, but I wanted to get started with it, so I this first version with pencil and watercolor. The colors turned out quite a lot nicer than the scan lets on...but even still, I wasn't going to be satisfied with it until I could get the drawing into my computer and do it for real.


This version I changed a little bit - I actually got some reference for the earth, so the world looks a little more realistic. I would have done stars in the watercolor, but lacking salt, I made do with a starless sky.

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