Drawing on some down time

Does a journalist ever rest?

It’s the new year – and after wrapping up my last semester with some great work experiences for Canstar Community Newspapers and The Winnipeg Free Press, I immediately went into working full-time as a portrait photographer over the very busy (and frightening rude) month that is December.

But it’s always worth it – change of pace, spending good times with friends and finally working on a creative project. Yes, that’s right: on my time off all I wanted to do was dive into more work!

I’ve always loved sketching, and probably the last time I took some alone time to work with pencil and pencil crayon was for my cartoon blog image.

Since I’ve become a HUGE graphic novel fan – in almost all parts due to Colin Enquist persuading me to be open-minded about the genre, I decided to think 2D. We often compare our favourite panels, and his favourite was the inspiration of the project.

Have I mentioned I LOVE pencil crayons? They are a gorgeous medium to manipulate; although, finding the right colour and texture requires layering multiple pencil colours – but they’re so cheap, my pack of 50 varieties of colours was only $4.25.

So here’s what I did – I created an enlarged recreation of a two page spread from Fathom by Michael Turner (#12).

1. Gather my materials: I picked up two poster boards and a large frame (later reduced to just the white poster board and a smaller frame sized 22 X 16 in). One pencil, one sharpener, scissors, ruler, kleenex,  two fine sharpies and my no-name brand pencil crayons.

2. Make Your Grids: Whenever you enlarge an original image, you must scale. To make this easier (and less frustrating since I’m a detail freak), I made a grid scale of 1 to 2 inches per square (in light pencil, to be erased after). Then commenced with a pencil outline.

3. Fill in the pencil details: What I love about this image in particular, are all the rich nuances and details in the character. I pencilled in all my details first.

4. Start ink and colour: Some believe one must ink entirely first, and such is the case for comics where there are separate inkers. However, I wanted to clearly show my progression, and decided to ink and colour as I went along.

5. Nearing the finish line: My last push to complete this work was tough, the background was just as nuanced as the character. Colin told me  he didn’t care too much for the dialogue bubble (it says “yeahhh Baby!”). So I focused on capturing the shadows and fine details of the background.

6. The sign off: I did a soft shaving rub technique for the sky colour. While in the original it was a lot darker, I really wanted my details to pop, and be an even soft colour up top. Added my signature and gave it to Colin for Christmas.

Here is a slide show of the process:

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