Friday, February 05, 2010

Saturday Matinee Dream Team

Thought I'd share with you something of a process post. This was an exceptionally large commission for me and an oddity in that I actually pitched it. I had done an small, black and white commission of Rocketeer and Indy for this same person. Doing the drawing had really whet my appetite for the subject matter and had said that I would love to tackle this with a bigger canvas, as it were. To my surprise, he agreed.
I draw small. I always have and I'm very comfortable working small. Basically, I suck when I have to try drawing big right out the gate. For that reason, every time I do commission (or a cover or splash page for that matter) I draw the original at a much smaller size (no bigger than 6" x 4" and sometimes as small as 2"x 3"). I'll then I blow it up (usually final image size is 9"x 12") and I'll put it on a light box and trace it. In this case the final piece was much larger--this one was done on 18"x 24" Bristol board) so the initial sketch (above) was done on a sheet of bond paper.


I then blew it up onto four sheets of paper and taped them together and threw them on the light box to trace and clean up (above). As you can see in the sketch, the image is still pretty rough so I'm really doing more than just tracing the image. I'm tightening it up and tweaking it on the page. The original sketch just gets the composition, the proportions, the overall basics, down. Most of the detail work is done on the light box but a lot of the fine details (ones that require reference) are done after I light box it. That's why you see the laptop in the upper corner of the above image. Google image search is a life saver. In this case, I also pulled out some books and DVDs for further reference. I remember getting reference on guns, tanks, cars, the Sphinx and Pyramids, our heroes costumes, horses, saddles, etc.


Below is the piece after doing the light box work.


My first step was to go in with a light wash and start dropping is some values.


I then went in and dropped in all the solid black that I would use in this image. As you can see there really isn't much here. I knew from the get-go that I good deal of this commission would be done in various tones of ink wash...


...and that ended up being a bit of a nightmare. I came in too light in my values and found myself giving the drawing pass after pass of tones trying to build up the drawing. I blame my nervousness--I was apprehensive because of the size and scope of this drawing. I was worried I'd screw it up and have to start all over.



In the end, it worked out fine and I was better off for having taken my time. I'm really happy with the final piece and I'm less nervous about tackling larger pieces in the future!
Here's the final image:

PLEASE, click on the image to super-size

10 comments:

Dan C said...

Fantastic job, Brian. Thanks for the step-by-step process, it's always interesting to see how artists go from rough sketch to finished drawing.

Great idea, too. An Indy/Rocketeer comic would be a lot of fun to read (especially if it looked this cool).

Fred said...

Beautiful piece!

Shane said...

The commission is amazing! Really great job on that Brian!

And thanks for showing the process, that is very cool to see.

Anonymous said...

Bri, not sure what kind of "earthy" critiques you may get on this beautiful piece but, for me, you can quit worrying about doing horses--this one is great! Above all (below all?), your "toning" is superb. Great job!

Joshua Smeaton said...

That's great.

Brian said...

I love process pieces so getting to see this piece go from rough sketch to finished commission was a great treat.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

Russ said...

Wow. That is incredible, Brian. This may even finally top that Spidey/Kraven piece you did a while back as my fave of your posted commissions.

Andy V. said...

this commission is truly one of your best! thanks for showing these additional images, as it's a great insight into your process as an artist. i absolutely loved the way it turned out! thanks again!

Esteban Pedreros said...

Thanks for sharing BRian, beautiful piece

Shawn said...

Very cool behind the scenes view point of the commission. The art is fantastic.