No jobs for an Artist?

I was watching over a stall on the local market when a customer enquiring about the artwork for sale started to discuss their experience as an artist and the fact that they gave it up. I asked them why and they told me it was because there were no jobs in drawing.

I was amazed by this and began to discuss the options that were out there.

As an artist you are in a position to bring clarity to the world, visually we can interpret the world and our experiences. As a job purely from an illustration point of view our options are in comics, books, film, animation and games.

The conversation carried on as they listened to this. It seemed the real issue was that it took too long to develop skills and experience to gain that dream role. Clouded by the fame element and the misconception that your work would suddenly make you a millionaire seemed to be the only reason for putting in such a large amount of effort.

This made me think. What is it that truly made you start to draw? Was it for the attention alone? Was it the escapism? What unique property about drawing made you put that pencil to paper and carry on?

This post will not try to find that unique element but instead give you an insight into my own working method, because my point of view is all I can give you.

It may have started out as a childhood interest but once I went to college and studied Graphic Design, I was introduced to other students that were interested in comics. Before it became cool.

In my next post I will start there and tell you more about how I developed this passion. I hope you will find some comfort and interest in it.

Stage 1


Having an interest in drawing is not enough, a passion for it seems to be the key. A frustration that drives you to improve and move forward to the next stage.

At a young age I wanted to get work as an artist and worked on making it better but something was missing. I asked around and at the time Graphic Design seemed to cover everything, drawing included. At school the art teacher was an exceptional artist and showed some great ways of developing things from a thought. At this point there were the images that you cut out and developed into a larger image. Writing of making thumbnails from an idea to break down the composition, the colour or the basic layout you were going to go for. I know plenty of artists that seem to start on one part of the image and draw from that point, getting bored and more frustrated that it wasn’t right when complete. Almost like starting from the top of the screen and drawing from left to right, top to bottom like an old dot-matrix. Boredom setting in as they went further. Having no idea where to start, what to draw or how to go about it.

Recently I have re-discovered that the old masters of the 16th Century developed a more realistic rendering of the real and imagined. Imposing what we now see as standard. Perspective, anatomy, colour and shape. Working with different medium to find the one that they prefered.

I needed guidance. My family could only help so much and their input was great, if they couldn’t tell what it was, then I started again.

Adding to this I worked in Graphic Design College and was introduced to a few key elements. One was a series of friends interested in comics, the other was lifeclass.

Working with a real person and drawing them in different poses helped immensely, my work was moving forward. Drawing the figure was less taxing and holding the pencil out in front of me to measure distance between one point and another became unnecessary. One of the tutors saw what I did and gave me pointers on using the Rigor. A long thin brush, size 4 by Prolene, could do a line from thin to thick and back to thin again. The line gave more scope when implying depth and shape to an image. My friends interest in comics introduced me to books like “How to draw the Marvel Way”, which I dropped after a while, and my all time favourite “Comics and Sequential Art” by Will Eisner.

THE BASICS

So let us get started. The first stage is to learn how to draw. Believe it or not I don’t memorize everything that could possibly be drawn. That would mean being telepathic and perhaps some magic powers. No, to be a good artist you need to practice, practice and practice some more. I guarantee that if you draw for an hour every day, or even half an hour, your work will improve.

But what should you draw? I hear you say.

A very good question. Draw anything, what is in front of you when you go to a cafe or a train station. Out for a walk or watching TV. Anything will do. You are drawing and copying, learning how things look around you. Scale, shade and shapes. If you break down those shapes and with experience learn to draw what you see, then you are part of the way there. Here is a rough example of something. Basic shapes for all things will help you render a fast “thumbnail” of your drawing. They will help you break down the basics of an image or object you are trying to portray. This along with perspective, colour theory and contrast will get you part of the way. I have intentionally drawn these rough shapes to get you started.

Practice them, practice drawing them in different lighting, texture and materials. If you want to draw fur, look at something with fur. Chrome or glass, study those. You will find that just by practice with the basic three shapes, a sphere, a cone and a cube, you will be closer to tackling anything. Practice with photoshop, watercolours, acrylic, ink, markers, byro or a burnt stick,it really doesn’t matter. What you are aiming for is experience and finding out how to implement it during those half or hourly warm-ups. As time moves on you will get faster and better. As they say in the Karate Kid “Wax on, Wax off”.

LEFT AND RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE BRAIN


Another week has gone by and this time I thought that I would tell you a wonderful little tip that I learned, or rather re-learned as I remember this tip from school, that will really help nail down what a client ACTUALLY wants. You get a client, they know what they like but they don’t what they want or vice-versa. The trick is to bombard them with number of rough visuals. Something simple that will start the ball rolling. Now this will work in writing and sculpting too. A simple principle called web thought. The visual version of this would look something like the samples below…

A series of rough silhouettes or thumbnails of the basic shape of the thing you are trying to draw or create. Here is another to clarify…

Simply put, it’s a series of schools, settings for an animation. This was for an actual commission for my role as an animation artist. With the application of colour you can also give the client options of shape and mood. They chose one of the number for the shape and I produced three versions based on that shape. This is the one they chose.

From this I was able to create the set in 3DS Max, rendering simple shapes for the setting and also giving them an option to create any camera angle they liked. Therefore future proofing the work flow and making it simpler for the client.

Now although this was for an animation you can quickly see how easily you can put quick ideas down in place and move forward, finding the basics, moving on to the detail and colour scheme and finally in this case a 3D model of the setting.

You can see that starting out from those simple shapes, whether they are characters, environments or plot threads in a script, you will never run out of ideas.

BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DRAW


By using the last method you can soon find your way to creating things at the drop of a hat. Whether you are a writer or an artist you can quickly do random images or pick random words from a book and add to them.

With words you simply pick the key words in the document your client has given you and then think of the first word that comes to mind. Google the words and see the connections between them, use them as metaphors, lateral concepts or even a hint of an idea.

With thumbnails you can create characters for games, comics and animations. An hour just doing really rough thumbnails of your characters pose or basic silhouette.

Once you have your pose, putting your proportions straight away at the key stages frees up your brain for developing that character. Straight away you have a believable posture that can be built on. Working straight away in detail is too taxing, it will tire your imagination and boredom sets in when you realise the amount that is left to do. A friend did this with a pile of skulls and did a great job, however he has given up on drawing as he finds it tires him out and he feels he could do something else instead. A lot of artists give up this way and find that they have lost the heart to carry on with the whole thing. I suggest that you put down the rough, less detailed stuff first. The foundations if you like and build on that. Straight away you have something you like and are adding more things you like as time goes by on the project. I avoided this for a long time and discovered so many problems that occurred without this basic planning. Examples of this would be animation, film and comics. Without a rough version of the entire thing you won’t see any problems with it until you have invested way too much time on it. By then you are so far into the project and so close to the deadline that you won’t care or won’t have the time to fix anything. What you get instead is disappointment and disillusionment. The blocking, thumbnail or web thought methods are better. They keep you fresh and inspired. Constantly keen to view, study and practice the things around you that improve the work you are doing at that moment.

So I chose the first pose and did a rough version of it, finding myself interested straight away in the way the jacket folded and creased, the buckles and fastenings, the facial expression.

You can see, straight away what wants fixing, what needs further study. Next week I will go into more detail about this.

LAYOUT AND BODY LANGUAGE

You are telling a story, first and foremost, nothing else. We are not creating a cure for cancer or reinventing the wheel. It is not a guarantee to fame and fortune. Take your sketches and throw them in the recycling bin, move forward and ensure you are not too attached to your work. It will change and you will improve, that I can guarantee. But what I cannot guarantee is that a magic brush or working process will suddenly make you richer or solve world famine. That is something you will have to figure out for yourself.

What I am going to write about is how I approach these mini worlds. As a comic artist you are learning a number of things such as acting, physics, anatomy, colour theory, timing, composition etc. The list goes on. We can’t be brilliant at everything but we can be strong at one or two things.

So let us get started.

First, comics. Comics are a wonderful storytelling medium and cheap to produce and aid in your discipline for different working methods, finding your feet. Assuming you have a script and it looks something like this…

Then we have something to work with. This is how it should work, a direction with the dialogue or boxes. The way I work with a script is straight from the lessons of experience and practice. Timing can be made to work straight away without drawing the entire thing. A thumbnail for the boxes to see how large the dialogue will read across the page from left to right, top to bottom. As I have mentioned before you can move very quickly with the character sketches, poses and layout of the entire thing to help tell the story. Testing how it reads without committing too much time and effort to the other role in the production. My first thought is to treat each panel as a beat, a pause. As Will Eisner mentioned in his book when I was first introduced to comics, like Morse Code. Dot, dot, dash.

You have the pose and the very rough thumbnails of the layout. Here I even blew up the image to fit the size of the page, adding the dialogue to make sure it would fit nicely into the page and tell the story without causing any breaks in the flow. This is something you learn with time and patience. You are making sure that from the ground up that your page works. With this you can build on and gain a solid foundation.

I have intentionally shown you a comedy so that you can see how important the body language is. Simple things like the lowering of the shoulders to suggest negative moods. Raising them suggests a positive one. From there you can build and edit emotions very quickly, getting it the way you want when it comes to the inking stage.

The rest is simply embellishment.

Trial and error to find the right medium…

Here is another in watercolour. But you see my meaning. Next time I will go into the basics of anatomy, body language and acting.

BLOCKING

When producing something for a client or for yourself, these basics will help you. Blocking is a method used in sculpting, painting and animation where you put a large part of the work together in one go. For example, in sculpture I would piece the wire frame to hold the clay in the right pose. Add tape or foil around the wire and then add blocks of clay or plasticine on the wire and start adding and removing the pieces that I want. In painting I would do large overall brush strokes of colour, nothing too detailed and use reference or my own experience to add detail to the colour applied. In Animation I would draw all the key positions of the scene or character and then go back and add the in between frame. Then go back and do it again with those in betweens, adding and altering as I go. Checking each time that the animation works well. This helps you craft and amend your work to a degree that is always complete. The longer you spend on it will make it more and more detailed. Allowing for things to occur to you while you work and not to get bogged down by the details too early on. You end up with a structure and a foundation you can literally build on.

Here are a few examples of this process in action.

LAYOUT


When working with layout, in this case comics, it would be worth mentioning that panel shape, size and omission is key to the physical reading of the page. As an I work from the Eisner school of thought of the ...—… (dot dot dot dash dash dash dot dot dot) method. A fast Morse Code version. I am seeing dot (small panel) and dash (large panel). The dot is the paces, like a metronome in my head of the speed I want the reader to see each panel. Small panels of similar height and barely any dialogue read faster than large panels with loads of dialogue. A large panel can be used to influence the amount of time the reader stays on the page and by doing so pauses before moving on. This pacing is key to the success or failure of your page. You want your audience to read without knowing this is going on, is should be second nature to them and help follow the story, rather than the fancy way you have put it together. I believe the story is the most important element and a name on the cover secondary. A good artist telling a bad story won’t help either.

Here is an example of a few panels using shape for suggesting direction, speed. Leaving space and choosing the camera angle can suggest open areas, loneliness or despair. A sharply angled panel, speed and direction. A long panel going from the top to the bottom can suggest falling.

I have dug out from my archives an example of this in action. Space is used to infer the edge of the building, while the space is used to imply a distance the character is being pushed and give him freedom to wave his arms around in panic.


Working as a comic book artist at the beginning of a very staggered career I fell into the film industry doing storyboards. Don’t get me wrong, this is great stuff but payment is staggered from one job to the next. You find yourself without any work at all for months and then too much at a time. While things are slow I still work on comics but more to do with assessing my chances of getting into a publication. There are more comics now in the fan based arena than is suitable for a business model. More and more publications come out that are being produced for the love of it. The big companies have stopped taking submissions and will only consider you if you are already successful. So why even send anything? My answer to that is it’s great practice for the work you will get and a sounding board for your work.

The panels above are examples of using the rule of thirds, 3x3x3 divisions on any image, taking into account this division you can apply movement. The first panel shows you the looking space. It can also be used as a close up shot and by leaving space to the left of the panel you can imply the other person they are talking to. If you use a head shot on the left, then the subsequent shot will be another person that is being spoken to, on the right.

This only works with Westerners, Eastern cultures flip it the other way with right to left. By implementing an arrow in the composition you can also imply depth. A direction of movement and suggestion of speed. By tilting the shot you can find other rules that effect the flow of your story. Try tilting the shot down to the right or left. I discovered that tilting the shot down to the right I could suggest speed or an uncomfortable mood change. By tilting the shot the other way I could still have the reader scan the image from left to right but with the tilt going up on the right I forced a jarring of the way they read the image, which is great for a sudden stop. Like something hitting a wall.

The high angle shot and the distant shot are great ways to distance the viewer from the reader, suggesting loneliness and despair. While a close-up suggests a more personal emotion. Getting close, too close for comfort. While the distance shot can suggest the opposite. If you have a script with this in mind you can play around with the way it comes across. But too much usage will distance your viewer and lose their attention. Be sparing with the shots and subtlety is the key.

COMICS-LAYOUT


As a storytelling medium the shape and size of a panel can be used to great effect. I use a variety of shapes to help tell a story when it comes to comics as they are essentially the pan and tracking shot of the comic strip. A wide rectangular panel can suggest direction to name one. If you I am wanting the pace to stay steady and regular in the pacing then I use the dot, dot, dot method mentioned before. This is only a starting placing to help layout things quickly in my head while reading the script. Again a short hand post-it note for timing. In the following examples I have only used my method of telling a story, as I believe there are as many methods to do this as there are artists. One rule of thumb is to break up the page into three tiers or rows and then subdivide this according to the panels you want to fit on each row. As a rule my starting point would be a 3×3 grid, with a 10 mm border all round, with a 15 mm gap at the bottom or bleed and art safe space. Here is an example of a typical comics page printed for the artist to work with so that printing is made uniform at the printers.

I have worked on a number of formats and each of the publications seems to be slightly different, so it would a good idea to get all of these details before starting out.

I was asked a number of years ago by a guy in my local town if I could teach him how to do “manga comics”….sigh.

I told him no and pointed out that this would only be possible if I taught him the “English Manga”. “Manga” is simply the Japanese word for comic and to teach him how to do “Manga Comics” would mean two things, the first would be for him to learn how to draw, practice every day using the variety of samples you can find online, and for me to be Japanese, which would be impossible as I was born in England.

As far as I know he has still not put pencil to paper and is waiting for a chance to visit and see what magical powers I possess that have made it possible to become a mediocre artist like myself.

I like flattery of my work, don’t get me wrong, but I can see that with a limited amount of success in the comics and educational fields does not make me an authority in the subject. For that I would suggest instead the books of Will Eisner : Comics and Sequential Art. Now I have been told that he is not for everyone, but let me remind you that his work spans about 90 years of success. He was there before Todd MacFarlane, Adam Hughes, Jim Lee and wrote and drew all of his stuff. Now if that isn’t a success story then I don’t know what is.

As for storytelling, take a gander at the following pages for suggestions in using shape to help tell a story.


Perspective

Here is a very simple way to get your head around perspective.

Your scene has an horizon line and a vanishing point. The horizon line is simply the line across the page that represents the horizon, as you may have guessed. Choose a point on this line and draw through it with equal spacing, I suggest using a tool similar to the one here or by following steps that help you create them in the software of your choice.

With the perspective lines drawn you can now work out the rest.

To start with, you have two lines and you need to find the line in the middle. If you draw a line from point A to Point B you can find the centre line going through point C. Now you may be wondering how would that be of any use to you? Well here it is, in perspective view. The lines converge to give you an accurate in-between of the two lines, shown in the three images below.Now, if you take into account that this is useful for creating buildings, lamp posts or railway lines going into the distance then it can also be applied to a figure if you know the basic shape of the characters proportions. I have applied this to the size of a persons hand next to the face. By taking the same principle I can guess the basic size of that hand when extended toward the viewer, giving us foreshortening that looks believable. Here is one image drawn for that reason. Implementing basic blocks and shapes to find the way to a reasonably correct looking figure and creating a dynamic shot that would fit well in the world of comics.

Taking this further you can also work out the rest, 2 and 3 point perspective. But bare in mind that the closer to the centre of convergence you create this shot, the more distorted will be your lines. Creating a fish eye effect.

Proportions.

Something very valuable to our development as an artist is to become familiar with the proportions of the human body. Hands, faces and feet are notoriously difficult to master. With a little study we can find a faster way of working by applying simple procedures to help find the right proportions. At the moment I do preparations for every main character in any project I am working on, you will find this is also done by most of the best artists in the world and has been practised for centuries.

I regularly sketch and study to make sure that things are sharp and that knowledge is fresh. But when it comes to doing a comic, animation, portrait, caricature or storyboard then this is where the basics help. It ensures you can take on anything, create anything and gain more professional work as time goes by and your confidence in your work develops. So here is a short reminder.

Leornardi Da Vinci drew these studies to help understand the construction of the human body, it is a very famous image and has influenced artists for centuries. The figure is worth studying and studying often. Try sketching people in a public area. Small and fast sketches to help you understand what is going on around you. If you have trouble with a certain area, studying that area more will help you break this restriction in your work. Be aware of your own laziness and push yourself more and more. Build this encyclopaedia of visual reference as you practice and your skill for tackling anything will grow with time. Here are a few studies to illustrate what I mean.

The front and side shot of a character can be a useful tool to draw the same person over and over in different moods, lighting and angles. By doing a front and side shot you can easily sculpt the head in 3D software or with clay. By practising these simple techniques you can understand form, weight and light. By drawing at least these two versions of a face the only thing you have to do then is understand how the muscles of the face work to create the different expressions. Study and practice them, find a life class and sketch while sitting in a cafe, train station or on a bus. Regular practice will stick like muscle memory. The world around us is a fascinating place when you really learn to see.

Acting for beginners…


During my time in the comics industry I discovered a few limitations in my skills. Acting. A convincing performance threw me into a world I was already interested in. The film industry. During this time and partly to do with the Drama classes I took at school, 3D animation at University and generally a passion for the variety of areas that required acting to be a major body of study that was worth exploring, I took the subject more seriously.

There are a few key areas of the face that do specific things when expressing emotion. To start the basic emotions I thought a number of expressions would help us along.

Happy, sad, anger and fear. You can find so many more by mixing a few of the key elements to expressions. Here is a simple graph to illustrate and by applying these to the expressions I showed you before of the front and side shot of a generic character you can find your own characters motivation during your search for the right camera angle and facial expression to help propel the story along.

I have applied these simple rules, extended them and combined them with body language to great effect. In comics, storyboards, animation and concept art.

When the eyebrows are raised, this would be surprise. Apply this to open eyes and the bottom eyelids pushed up too becomes fear. Bunch the eyebrows into a crease makes this whole expression discust. You see my point is to find the basic rules and apply them to your character you can make so many subtle changes to your own performance. Animation in particular becomes more realistic and believable when you study these basics in practice. Use reference and study what is happening beneath the surface of the face to find how and why the muscles are relaxing and tensing to produce a creasing and bunching of flesh in a way that registers as an emotion. This may sound like a cold and flat description on the subject but the result will make you a more desirable commodity in whatever field you find yourself.

Have fun with the subject and try them out on your character sketches. When getting to grips with a character do a number of poses that will help you try out the full range.

Here on shutterstock http://www.shutterstock.com/s/expression/search.html are a few examples. You can easily find reference or a guide to help you trying out a few by typing emotions into your search engine but keep the first ones simple. Then apply your own recipe to your characters. I recommend Will Eisner again. Also “Stop Starring” by Jason Osipa and the “Animator’s Survival Kit” by Richard Williams. Those have been invaluable aids in helping me understand better the mechanics of body language and emotions. By taking on board these simple rules you will find you can handle anything, from any angle in any lighting.

Enjoy and “break a leg”.

Colour theory

During the 1600’s Sir Isaac Newton proposed a continous spectrum of colours going from red through to violet. The association of each of these colours relates directly to the colour opposite to it. Yellow for example can be placed in direct relation to violet. Why would this be important?

Well in a nut shell it helps you understand the basics of colour in real life. Study the colour wheel and find it’s opposite and you will find the corresponding tone that can be applied to the shadows of that subject. Here I have done a study of just the lights and darks. The cells in the human eye see two sets of information. The rods and cones. The rods reference the light and dark, the contrast of the subject, or the “ambient occlusion”. The cones reference the colour information, or the “beauty pass” of that subject. In 3D animation you can use this information to render multiple passes in less time and create a more realistic image, which I will go into later. For now though we can test our own knowledge of the things around us by drawing either the shadow and light, then applying this information to the colour and tone. If your lighting is yellow for example the the opposite or absence of yellow can be applied to the shadow, which in this case would make it violet or puple. Here is a test I tried out for myself.

By using the blocking method we can quickly find our basic colours and tones, shadows and light. Then add more and more detail, refining as we go along. Try starring at a block of yellow and then looking away at a white page. The after image will show you the opposing colour to the yellow. Which should be violet. Try the same with red, green and blue. Your eyes see the colours much better than any camera, digital or otherwise as the screen you are seeing it on is translating the information. Try this blocking method when studying your subject in a cafe or station and pay attention to the reflective light coming from the objects near your subject. Bouncing light from a window can light up a model, clothing they are wearing can do the same.

When you study glass or metal another set of additional information is given to you in the reflective, refractive and caustic lighting.

Skin tone is not complete opaque and the light hitting the surface is only part of it. Underneath the surface the of the skin, light is bounced back from the blood beneath and shows in the tones of the surface. The subtle nuances of the blood beneath the surface is reddeer and bluer in different places of the human body, this information will be invaluable when you study people that will make you think better about the tone of your painting.

Now you will see the world in a whole new light.

Know your tools

Avoiding a whole series of details about Photoshop or GIMP I would like to point out that first and foremost we are artists. Pencil and paper will do a perfectly good job but will not give you a clean and crisp line that creates a professional finish in all situations. I mean that you can’t do a painting with a pencil. Line thickness in comics takes practice with a brush so here are the tools of my trade where I use an Edding or Staedtler for the best line on a hard subject, I use a brush on organic subjects. I used a variety of pens to find the one that would best cover up when I painted white over it. I found that the waterproof ones were the best and during this discovery I found that Quink was no good for inking the way I inked my comics, instead the Rotring drawing ink gave me the finish I wanted.

Now first of all the pencil, I use a 2B technical pencil because I don’t need to press on hard and they stay sharp all of the time due to their thinness. But if I am doing a portrait in pencil I would use a full series of pencils. Graphite pencils especially because there is nothing but graphite on them. You have to keep sharpening them to maintain a good point but overall this can be dealt with by use a craft knife or electric pencil sharpener.

Next Pens, or inking tools.

At the start of my drawing at College I was all over the place and tried a number of different tools until my tutor Don Parkin pointed out that my pencilling had a line thickness that could be achieved using a Rigor. I had never heard of one of these and discovered they were used by sign writers to painting the outline of signs. The other name for them is a Lining Brush.

These brushes have a long bristle and taper at the end. You can find others that have a flat end if you wish to work on signs but for my purposes I found that the tapered end was perfect for holding a lot of ink while giving me the chance to go from thin to thick and back to thin again in one easy stroke.

Be warned though, it took me five years of practice to get the hang of using a brush and I am so glad that I did. But it is tough on the hand muscles and I keep a body builders hand grip to help keep the muscles from getting weak.

This may sound like a lot for just inking but it is essential that any tool you use can be used for long periods at a time. Your hand will get painful if you are working on large projects.

I back up this skill with a Japanese Brush Pen, which you can buy from Pentel or any good art store. They used to be expensive but have become more popular in recent years and have come down in price. The ink for the Brush Pen come in packets of four and cost almost as much as the pen but they simply pop into the back and you can carry on inmking. These make them perfect for portable work like craft fairs and functions. I use them for doing fast caricatures during functions and events. The audience is usually in awe of this little tool when used properly and with apparent ease.

Copic Markers, perfect for adding tone to storyboards or caricatures when you are away from your graphics tablet. They come in a variety of colours and the nibs and ink can be replaced with reasonable ease. There are other markers on the market like Pro-markers but I spent enough on a full series of Copic markers that I am now building up the replacement inks for a time when I can do full colour caricatures.

The Putty rubber is another tool that is like putty and can be squashed and shaped into a point that makes it possible to add highlights and detail to a pencil drawing. It leaves no bits around and can be cleaned easily by needing it into a ball.

Brushes again, but this time for painting with Acrylic or Watercolour. Now Acrylic paint can be used in a way that gives you the feel of an Oil Painting but is waterproof and dries reasonably quickly. It is permanent when dry and you can paint on glass with it. This is something I had to do when working on pub blackboards and window displays. Painting on the glass so that both sides of the cartoon could be seen. If you can get Acrylic pots, they will work better on glass but the tubes work better on Denim and Leather, as the fabric acts like a canvas.

The brushes themselves though are different sizes because I paint in the larger sections first and go back in by adding increasingly small and smaller detail as I go. If I need to do a sign in the illustration then I use the Ruling Pen. Which you can paint into the grooves of the Ruling Pen and then draw straight onto the canvas or board with a precise and equal adjustable thickness.

From Chromacolour

I think I have covered everything I use but a few other things to check out would be the Helix Perspective Tool and the Flexi-curve. Both help to clarify things when working in perspective of with a curved zoom line for a comic strip. Bought and discovered the Peg Bar which will fit nicely under the lid of the scanner. Tape it down and scan illustrations or keys, thus making sure they are all lined up with each other. But I would suggest finding yourself an ADF all in one A3 Printer and save yourself some time lifting the lid and pressing enter hundreds of times.

But most of all the most important thing you should have is a chair you can sit on for a full days work. I used to work off the Sofa at home with a board on my lap. I then moved on to a bar stool and a free standing drawing table. Now I am so much more comfortable with my new desk and high back office chair.

A reminder…

I know I haven’t written anything new for a month but I gained employment from a “normal” job and through my freelance work. I appreciate that a lot of you have been following this article with varying degrees of interest and the one thing that stands out in the market is the ability to keep going. Life will take over, interrupt the status quo of your life but half an hour a day is not a lot to ask of yourself. You need to keep this going and as an added incentive I thought I would not only upload some recordings of my work, good or bad, I would also show you an example of a fellow artists work from the start of their career to the present. I had a nice surprise when I saw work by the artist Tim White in his book http://www.tim-white.co.uk/pages/bookillustrationpage.html and I could see that his older work was very much achievable, no magic skills, just perseverance and an understanding of the principles I have mentioned here. Now this was my first introduction to art in a way that inspired me, later I moved on to others and I am still inspired by other artists. Here is one I have asked permission to use here image as a great example of perseverance…

https://www.facebook.com/bomba.sylwia?ref=ts&fref=ts

Another option for an artist, outside of comics or games is to do films. By working with the principles of animation and comics, cartoons and life drawing you can gain work as a storyboard artist. Here is one such project I am proud of being a part of.

Rain Fire Films

Artoons website updates for more recent work.

Heavy Weapon is unleashing a fresh chance to get yourself one of the extremely limited Munition Edition collector’s sets! If you love the smell of napalm in the morning, then don’t miss out…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/strikecommando/heavy-weapon-precursor-of-war

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2 thoughts on “No jobs for an Artist?

  1. This all sounds fascinating, and way above my head! I draw cartoons, but they are limited to happy faces with a pen and paper. Yours are amazing! So detailed. Congratulations and good luck with your project.

  2. Thank you, You will find it comes with practice if you put enough time into it. I suggest to my students that they should do 1 hour a day on a sketch. That way it won’t take over their life. How are your own projects going?
    Andy Dodd

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