Advice to grow as an artist
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    Advice to grow as an artist

    I'm looking for some advice as to what to focus on as an artist, whether it be fixing anatomy or learning Photoshop. I'm aiming to be a comic book artist and I've been practicing for about three years now. I've gotten a lot of compliments over my pencils but I still feel as if I'm lacking something.

    I want to know what I should do next to grow as well-rounded artist. I can only draw with a pencil; I can't ink or color or paint or even use a tablet that well. I want to work for a company and tell stories soon, but I don't want to stop growing and learning.

    I've used Photoshop a little, but I don't know how to color or what method would go best with my drawings. I don't want to do super-realism, just stick with my comic look. But I also don't want to be limited by superheroes in tights. I'm looking for any idea on where to go from here.
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    Colored by someone else, but I thought the style went well with my drawing.





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    It's been six days now. A little bump. I'm still looking for advice.

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    If you want to work in comics*, you don't have to learn anything beyond penciling if you don't have the desire to. What you do have to do is start looking at stuff besides comics. Do some life drawing. Draw real people, not just superheroes. Your rendering is pretty good, but there are underlying structural problems with your figures and faces; you need to get a better grasp of how the body is put together and how the parts relate to each other.

    *Mainstream comics, that is. For independent and self-published stuff, you're more likely to have people inking/coloring their own work.


    Tristan Elwell
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    I'm not familiar with the comic penciller's career path, but as a broad artist, I'd be interested in seeing some work with a greater range of values. Most of your shading appears to be in service of indicating where the solid patch of dark ink will go.

    Also, colour. Spidergirl is coloured "correctly", but dully. Can you try a composition where the lighting is fundamental to the success of the picture?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuseboy View Post
    Also, colour. Spidergirl is coloured "correctly", but dully. Can you try a composition where the lighting is fundamental to the success of the picture?
    Like I said, I didn't color that piece. I don't know how to color or ink at all. Just thought it was a good example of what could be done with my work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    but there are underlying structural problems with your figures and faces;
    I feel that that is a bit vague. Could you be more specific? I might interpret it the wrong way and start heading towards the wrong direction.

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    Your penciling looks strong. I can't tell if those are unique comics or you made them up (which is a compliment if you made them up). I'm not a big comic book guy, so I don't recognize the work. If it is your work, then your anatomy is strong, and my only advice is to color the images. Setup a portfolio and get cracken on the job search. If these are copies, then you need to post some original work to get more accurate comments. Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eb_sculpt View Post
    Your penciling looks strong. I can't tell if those are unique comics or you made them up (which is a compliment if you made them up). I'm not a big comic book guy, so I don't recognize the work. If it is your work, then your anatomy is strong, and my only advice is to color the images. Setup a portfolio and get cracken on the job search. If these are copies, then you need to post some original work to get more accurate comments. Good luck.
    I drew them myself in the past couple of months.
    I don't know how to color either. I like the works of Alex Sinclair, Laura Martin, and Paul Mounts, but they use a lot of techniques I couldn't comprehend.

    I wasn't sure whether I should just try to use Photoshop, or to use a physical media. I love the paintings of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, and would love to get the same vibrant colors he does..., but again, it's a lack of knowledge problem.

    I'd like to also add that I'm currently taking art classes at a University, but I'm only allowed to take the basics right now (so we're going over crap like what a line is, or how making it thicker makes it look different... it's driving me crazy).

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    That picture of Harley and Ivy... are they..? I mean, you know >_> If so, hawt

    As for actual advice, well - if you're going for the comic style, I think you have it down pretty well - at least for the "normal" superhero types. I noticed a few anatomical issues (like Red Robin's right leg - it looks a little wonky and hard to make out behind the batarang, IMO), but otherwise it's pretty good. I'd personally branch out and make some more unusual characters (stuff like Killer Croc, Beast, Toad, guys like that) so that if the script calls for something out of the norm, you can still nail it.

    As Elwell said, you don't HAVE to know how to do inks or coloring if you want to be a straight-up penciler. That being said, if you want to branch out, pick up some technical pens (or a cheap calligraphy set - Speedball has some nice off-the-shelf ones) and give inking a crack. I found a few tuts online, bought some "expensive" copier paper and used copies of my pencils for practice (it messes up your nibs faster, but you're not wasting primo paper when you first start out).

    If you want to learn how to do Photoshop, see if you can get an Educational version from your university, and look at some of the "How To" tutorials here. Granted, if you want to delve deeper into coloring, you'll have to do more research into color theory itself, and possibly put PS aside for a while.

    I guess it all depends on how well-rounded you want to be, you know? But even stating that you want to be well-rounded and came here for some advice is a good start, IMO!

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    Yeah, if you look closely, Ivy's doing exactly what you think she's doing to Harley.

    I tried to show some fluidity in Robin's body, with the action lines, his twisting torso, the direction of his cape and his legs, but if it still looks wrong, then it looks wrong. Just trying to push myself, make it look like a snapshot in the middle of very fast motion.

    I never thought much of inking. I just always thought it was simply copying the pencils. I never thought it could affect the drawing and its tone so much.

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    I tried to show some fluidity in Robin's body, with the action lines, his twisting torso, the direction of his cape and his legs, but if it still looks wrong, then it looks wrong. Just trying to push myself, make it look like a snapshot in the middle of very fast motion.

    To maybe build on what Elwell said, you might want to focus on accuracy rather than "drama" or "fluidity." If you can't find some reference, get one of your friends to pose in Robin's pose, take a photo, and then think about exaggerating that pose rather than doing the whole thing out of your head.

    The other thing I'd note is that on your penciled pages, I can just barely figure out the story. If you want to work professionally, I imagine that producing pencils where the narrative is completely clear before the words go in may make you a lot more employable.

    Just my two cents.

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    Your farther down that path then I am so I don't know if I should be giving advice but what everyone said is spot on. Elwell has a point about study more then comic art. I was told to find one comic draw out of it and then stop! after that it's life drawings and figure study.

    I'm the guy that does his job! You must be the other guy!

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