Thursday, January 13, 2011
Drawing Before Drawing - Character Sketching
Inbetween writing and drawing there is a disjointed step where you know what you want to draw, and you know how you want to pace it, and how you want to show it...and somehow you're still stuck with questions about the details. It's like when you move and you have the final table of little random crap that you don't know what to box with what and it all ends up in a box together.
In this case, that one size box would be what I call the design stage. The truth is, I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want and just need to refine the details well enough to draw it. I find myself doing all my concept design sketching the first day of a page block when I do thumbnails and layout, and then do pick-ups and clean-ups on those as I keep penciling. This keeps is kind of exciting to me while I'm actually drawing it.
The last issue (55-76), current issue (77-96) and even some of the next issue (98 -120) relies pretty heavily on the map that is tattooed on Karda's body. The map that somehow, I had always been implying rather than actually drawing and I had never sat down and figured out exactly what it was a map of and what it looked like. Easily one of the dumbest things ever. "The main character has a body tattoo of a map. Why should I know what it looks like?"
Posted above is the turnaround I did for the map. The great part about doing turnarounds for yourself is you can change the pose a little bit and be fine. Those arms down were blocking his sides and I wasn't down with drawing disembodied arms. Also, drawing this map is a lot of fun now that its not this thing I always feel like I need to avoid (though leaving it vague did seem to fit the story better back then).
Thankfully this stage is usually just drawing supporting characters and new places. Above are some of the concept work from the (33-54) issue. Again, I always have a pretty good idea of what I want out of a supporting character's look, and that step tends to go fast. On the main characters, I try to re use articles of clothing from earlier issues, both for continuity and for speed. It also makes me feel clever about something no one else gives a damn about but me. "Ah, and in this final scene...Karda will be wearing the sweater he wore two issues ago! I am so clever! IT ALL TIES BACK." The only main character who needs regular concept work is Issa, since she doesn't really reuse her wardrobe. I'm particular about how she should look scene to scene.
Also, Issa gets extra concept work because I like drawing hot curvy girls in dresses. There, I said it.