Comics, Concept Art, Creative Ideas...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Super Lois in Color

I've been wanting to color my Super-Lois for quite a while. There's a bit of a challenge to coloring a piece like this, because I have this tendency to sketch to use a lot of lines to create form. I admit it, I like black and white, I like the way ink looks on the page. I like what can be done with black and white and nothing else. But I live in the real world, today. Maybe someday I will have the status where I can do whatever I want and get people to notice me, but today I need to do whatever it takes to get me noticed.

So it's a bit of a challenge to figure out how to get dynamic, dimensional color to interact well with graphic black lines, especially when I had all these rules about how color should never break up the graphic quality of black line art. So this is the piece where I really played around and decided to bend those rules a bit. It really opened me up.

I also cleaned up the art a lot. This drawing is actually a couple of years old and there are some "parts" of the anatomy that I have a bit of a passion for. Anyway, there are particular parts that are very important to me that they look "natural" and it's really important to me that form carries weight. So I cleaned up the drawing a bit as I colored it.

I don't draw like Kurt Schaffenberger, whom I love and whom inspired this piece, but I certainly tried to channel his "Good Girl" magic for this piece. I may not be there yet, but I'm pretty happy with this piece.


spideyfan said...

How long does it usually take to draw a portrait?
If you do this as a hobby it's a good pace.

Todd Merrick Novak (aka beanlynch) said...

spideyfan, I always hope that my art appeals to people and its always disappointing when it doesn't. It's also curious to me, sometimes, when people really respond to pieces I'm not personally enthusiastic about, and don't care as much for the pieces I dig the most. But that's just how it goes.

When I draw, it's always my own tastes and influences that affect the way I draw, more than anything else. I have my shortcomings as an artist, but I've also sponged some of the best lessons my mentors have had to teach me. For the most part, the way I draw something, is the way I intend it to look. I do get a lot of good feedback, through the web, about what works and what doesn't work, and it's really good for me because it helps me see how other people see things. Sometimes I take people's suggestions, sometimes I try to find a different solution to the problem they identify. But I'm always thankful when people bring those issues to my attention, because it pushes me to be a better artist.

I wouldn't call drawing a hobby for me. It's more like singing in the shower. It's something I do without intention. As a commercial artist I have to put more focus and discipline into it. It's rare that I get to do comic type work. Most of the work I do isn't something I'd display on this art blog, because it's not what I'm trying to promote here, and often it's not something I'm allowed to display separate from what's shown here.

If your question about time is a reference to the frequency I post art, I do wish I had more time to do more art like this to post. This is what I want to do but it's not the work that pays for me. I have two very young children, to which I'm an equal and actively involved in the parenting of, and of course I have a wife, mortgage, yada yada. So when I have time, I kick out a bunch of stuff and there are periods I kick out a lot. But then things get really busy for a while and I just can't kick out as much for a while. It would be a lot easier if I were ten years younger and didn't have my responsibilities. But it is what it is and I'm just going to have to keep plugging away where I can, because this is what I am. I love comics and I can't separate myself from them.

To answer the question, the best I can, because different projects require different levels of commitment, on a piece like this Lois Lane it probably took me about three hours to pencil and ink it. I can't separate those two chores because the pencil only does a rough layout for me. Most of the details are done in the inking process. That's pretty average for a drawing like this, that doesn't have a background. It can vary depending on the level of detail with crosshatching and any other elements that might come into play. This particular piece I can't remember because it's an older piece that I just recently colored (and you'll see there were a lot of modifications done to the line art since the original inks that I did a couple of years back). I personally like this piece, which is why I chose to color it.

Coloring takes me as long as the drawing does and that's probably because I'm less comfortable with the colors. I love ink and I love black and white but it doesn't look as good on computer monitors as it does in print, so I'm adjusting my approach to fit in color and that's a learning process for me. It's also going to affect the way I draw because what I'm learning is that what looks good in black and white, doesn't always compliment color as well. The line art is always the most important element to me but the piece has to work as a whole. So I'm really giving consideration to my approach as I go forward. Coloring this particular piece, for its strengths and weaknesses, taught me a lot, both about the coloring process, and also about inking.

I hope that answers your questions.


Anonymous said...

It does answer my question and more, thanks for the respond Todd