Inking Prince John (from Disney’s Robin Hood)

There’s this middle-era of Disney animation that I just love. One of the movies from that era is Disney’s Robin Hood.

The villain of that movie is the scheming Prince John, a lion (and lyin’) king that’s a pretender to his brother’s throne. But, as conniving as he is, he’s actually a pretty funny Disney villain.

So I inked him with a brush pen and finished with some ink washes, while RunRedRun and I discussed Disney movies and what we liked so much about the art style in Robin Hood. Here’s the video:

Inking Raphael (for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Commission)

I like turtles. Do you like turtles? Everyone likes turtles.

Raphael_process01

Despite that, I’d never really drawn a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle until a client commissioned one as part of a group project where 4 different cartoonists contributed a different turtle. I got Raphael.

Raphael_process02

I had fun with it. And I had fun talking with RunRedRun about ninja turtles, inking, and the renaissance. Here’s the video if you’d like to listen in:

Inking and Coloring Scooby Doo’s Captain Cutler and Trying Out Neon Markers

Had a little fun with another Scooby Doo villain. This time it’s Captain Cutler, the creep in the glowing diving suit that chases the gang around Rocky Point Beach.

I inked him with Sakura PIGMA Brush Pens, and colored him with some Copic Markers and Winsor and Newton Neon Markers that I ordered just for this little project.

And while I do all that, Run Red Run and I talk about markers, old-time diving suits, and that one time I went fishing. Here’s the video.

Making a Maze in Clip Studio Paint (for the National Cartoonists Society Activity Book))

I’m no mazologist (is that a word?), but I was asked to create a puzzle page for the National Cartoonists Society Activity Book. If I had to do it on paper, I might still be working on it. But Clip Studio Paint made it easy and quick. Oh, and I’ve added a link at the bottom letting you know where to download your own copy of the activity book!

Inking

This maze is packed with illustrations of my Untold Tales of Bigfoot characters. And since I know how to draw those guys, that’s where I started. I sketched in their shapes roughly in digital pencil, then used the Layer Color function to turn that sketch a light blue.

Then, on another layer, I inked with a brush tool. Doing it this way is low pressure since I can fix errors on the fly and get the work done much faster than I’d be able to with ink on paper.

Halftone Greys

Since this activity book will be a black-and-white publication and not color, I use Clip Studio Paint’s halftone dot patterns to add screen tones. The first step is to create a selection of where you want your dot pattern.

Then, from the pop-up menu, select the second-to-last option, New Tone. This brings up another pop-up that gives you options on the density and type of dot pattern you’d like to drop into the selection.

Once you pick one, click OK and the pattern appears on another layer, in a MASK that you can add to or subtract from— giving you the option to paint in (or remove) the dot pattern with ease.

Curve Rulers

Again, I’m not a maze-maker. So it took me a few (dozen) tries to digitally pencil out a path for Scout to take through the woods in his quest for Bigfoot. Doing it digitally made it easier to start over when I screwed up. But once the paths of the maze were set, I clicked the Layer Color option so I could turn the pencils blue and ink over them on another layer.

The lines of the maze aren’t ramrod straight or particularly smooth curves, but I used the Curve Rulers anyway because, besides helping you follow a designated path, they also help you keep a consistent line weight.

Drawing these lines freehand would’ve resulted — for me, at least — in inconsistent, bumpy lines that wouldn’t look very good. The Curve Ruler helped make the lines smooth and evenly weighted, but with a natural, hand-done feel.

Text Tool

For very simple typesetting like adding a title to this page, the Text Tool in Clip Studio Paint is a breeze. Just grab the text tool, plant the cursor where you want your text, and type it out. You can resize with the point size dropdown, or just grab a corner of the bounding box and stretch it to fit.

Eventually I used the font dropdown to change the font into something I thought fit better.

Finally, I used the Rounded Balloon tool in conjunction with the Text Tool to give Bigfoot and Scout something to say.

So that’s about it. Nothing too difficult. Just some very simple tools in Clip Studio Paint that make a relatively basic job a little easier and a bit quicker.

Now, the NCS Activity Book is packed with all kinds of puzzle pages from some of the most well-known cartoonists in the world: Sergio Aragones (MAD Magazine), Mo Willems (Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus), Jeff Keane (Family Circus), Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman (Zits), and many more. The pdf download is a pay-what-you-can deal of a lifetime and the proceeds go toward the NCS Foundation. You can find out more about that in this video as well as watch me put this Untold Tales of Bigfoot Maze together in Clip Studio Paint.

Inking Ratigan (from The Great Mouse Detective) and Talking About Vincent Price

The title pretty much covers it. I inked another Disney Villain — this time, the insidious Professor Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective.

Ratigan_process01

And, if you’ve seen the movie, you’re well aware the character is voiced by the amazing Vincent Price, one of the great horror actors of the 20th Century.

Ratigan_process02

So Run Red Run and I used my inking practice as an excuse to talk about our favorite Vincent Price movies. Here you go:

 

Coloring Bluto with Colored Pencils

Do kids in this era even know who Bluto is? Doesn’t matter. They know what bullies are. And Bluto’s the quintessential archetype of a classic bully. Bluto_colorscrop

Run Red Run and I talk a little about Popeye, the Bluto/Brutus name switch, and about my eleventh hour decision to try crosshatching with colored pencils. Honestly, I didn’t even plan on finishing this doodle. But it is what it is and I am what I am.

Inking Donald Duck

Disney’s second banana, Donald Duck, gets the inking treatment this time. And while I do that, RunRedRun and I talk about inking, Lonesome Ghosts, and other Donald Duck trivia.  Here you go:

Mickey Mouse Birthday Card

Wow, it’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been prepping and shipping my book out to my Kickstarter backers, so I haven’t had time for much else. But I just inked up a quick Mickey Mouse Birthday Card for a friend and thought I’d snap some photos during the process just to have something to post.

MickeyBirtdayCard_process_VinceDorse

This was the initial rough sketch. I tweaked it a little in Photoshop and printed it to size so I could trace it on the lightbox.

MickeyBirtdayCard_process_VinceDorse

The pencils, up close. I darkened them a little for the blog so they’d be easier to see, but I generally try to work pretty light (4H pencils) so the rough lines aren’t so visible in the finished piece.

MickeyBirtdayCard_process_VinceDorse

I’m inking with the Sakura Pigma Brush Pens again. Working on larger areas (like Mickey’s ear) I get to use that massive Bold Brush.

MickeyBirtdayCard_process_VinceDorse

Most of the figure outline is done with the Fine Brush. It really does have a pretty dynamic range of widths. In some cases I might use the Medium Brush too, but mine’s getting a little chewed up so I didn’t want to risk using it until I picked up a new one.

MickeyBirtdayCard_process_VinceDorse

This is the finished piece. 8×10 on Bristol. Just a fun birthday illustration. I scan this in and resize it to fit the card template I created in Photoshop. And then…

MickeyBirtdayCard_process_VinceDorse

Here’s the finished product! All ready to stamp and send. Hope everybody has a Happy New Year! -v

Rush Job! City Paper Cover.

Right before the weekend I got an email from Charlie Deitch, Editor at the Pittsburgh City Paper. “I know it’s short notice, but do you have time to do a cover this week?” The answer to this, even if I don’t have time, is always yes. Yes, I do. Because money. And because I could use another portfolio piece. Not to mention the CP staff is great to work with. And, honestly, I kinda’ like the challenge of a rush job. So here’s a quick process breakdown.311_citypaper_digitalcover_sm_vincedorse-copy

Lisa, the art director, wasn’t in the office this week. But vacation be darned, she still managed to scribble her idea for the cover on the back of what looks like some humorous, cat-themed notepaper and get it to me. I hope she won’t mind my posting this, but I thought it’d be fun to show the process of building a cover from start to finish. 311_citypaper_process_dorse_02

That first, rough drawing is really all about getting the idea across. And Lisa’s not the only one who scribbles out wonky doodles in a hurry. Here’s the one I sent Charlie for approval.311_Process_DorseTerrible, right? Still, it’s about getting the idea across. I thought it’d be fun to spin the angle a little and have the girl walking right out toward the viewer, but basically, everything Lisa mentioned in her scribbled notes is here. Approved! Next step, polished pencil sketch.

311_Process_DorseWith these covers, I always begin with the file of the City Paper masthead that I keep handy. It helps me lay out the composition. Here are the polished pencils I sent in to Charlie, done in Clip Studio (Manga Studio) with a basic pencil tool. The brief didn’t indicate “Fall” but the first day of Autumn had just gone by and I thought it’d be appropriate to do a cover with a bunch of warm, Fall colors.

Initially, I was planning to ink over these pencils, like a traditional editorial or comic illustration. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt the image would work better as kind of a softer, storybook illustration. So I left the pencils in as my main lines and started in on the colors. Clock was ticking, too, so not inking over the pencils saved me a little time.

311_CityPaper_process_VinceDorseClip Studio has dozens of brushes I like for this kind of work: chalk brushes, watercolor, airbrush, and plain old flat fill brushes. I used all of those (and more) to start laying in color under my pencils.

311_CityPaper_process_VinceDorseI think most of what you see in this detail was done by various chalk brushes, layered on a little at a time. I enjoyed figuring out different textures (like the hair and sweater), and I’d be lying if I said drawing a nutty squirrel didn’t make this job twice as appealing.

311_CityPaper_process_VinceDorseThe water was done with a couple different airbrush tools in Clip Studio. I wanted the sidewalk to look a little wet and sparsely covered in fallen leaves, so I used a watercolor brush to get a bit of a wash effect on the colors.

311_CityPaper_process_VinceDorseThe manhole cover was textured with a pastel brush and some pencil tools. Same with the hole in the sidewalk, and then I blended it with a watery blender.

311_CityPaper_process_VinceDorseThe thing that took the longest was this tree. It was easy enough laying down colors in the trunk and then blending them, but those leaves! I know I could’ve gone with a red/orange/yellow watercolor wash. And I almost did, because I was under the gun. But once I started painting in the leaves (pencil tool) I really liked the look of them. So I just kept doing it until I was done. I turned in the illustration the next morning and it’s on the stands today! Here’s the finished illo without the cover text:311_CityPaper_process_VinceDorseThis was a really fun job. I got to experiment with some brushes, made the folks at the City Paper happy, and added another amusing illustration to my portfolio. Wins all around! I hope the City Paper considers me for their next rush job. I’m up for it. -v

Here’s a link to the online issue of this week’s City Paper.

Giving MediBang Paint a try

I recently watched a review of a drawing app called MediBang Paint by Brad Colbrow and thought it looked pretty good. An app that’s set up for the iPad Pro/Pencil setup but also a desktop application. And best of all, it’s freeeeeee! So I figured I’d give it a try.  Since I’m new at this program, I thought I’d start off slow and just doodle canine superhero, Underdog.

Underdog

I’m really just getting started with this program but, as you can see, MediBang a very simple, clean interface. Most of the elements you’d expect in a drawing app are there.

Underdog_Dorse01a

Looks like the color slider works in an RGB colorspace, as I’d expect for a simple, free app. The brush/tools palette has a decent number/selection of brushes and tools. I haven’t sampled many of them yet, but I plan to. The preview palette gives you just what you need, as well as easy to access size/opacity controls. And since a layers palette is a necessity for me, it’s nice to see MediBang provides one.

Underdog

So, for this quick Underdog doodle, I decided to try a few different inking brushes. The “Pen” tool has a nice, smooth line, and the “G-Pen” had a rougher edge. Both were fine for variable weight linework controlled by pressure, but I’d like to experiment more with the app. Maybe see if there’s a way to customize the brushes a little.

Underdog

I’ll admit, I only tried out the “Watercolor” tool to color this piece. It felt…well, not really anything like watercolor. But it got the job done in a smeary, blendy kind of way. For a few minutes I tried the “Watercolor (Wet)” tool and that seemed a little softer, more transparent and, possibly, closer to a watercolor feel. But that’s not what I wanted for this illustration.

Underdog

And there he is. No need to fear. Underdog is here. I ended up using “Pen (Fade In/Fade Out) for those lines denoting brickwork. The tool is very similar to ClipStudioPaint’s  “For Effects Lines” brush in that it gradually fades in and out after you lay down the stroke. A handy brush to have. Overall, Medibang Paint is a simple app to use on the desktop. I don’t have an iPad Pro (yet!) but when I get one, I’ll likely download the mobile app. And you should consider it too. Like I said, it’s free! And that’s hard to beat. -v