The night before, no matter what. It would probably be different if my work were more simple, or if I were better at limiting the amount of work I set out for myself. In most scenarios, I am drawing tons and tons of stuff, which, as you might expect, tends to take tons and tons of time.
thegoodnaysayer said: Do you have any advice for other illustrators and/or comic artists when it comes to "making it" in the industry?
Mostly it’s just to try to figure out what type of work you like to make and why. Make as much of that work as you can and show it to people. There are a lot of different avenues for illustration these days, and it’s most important to figure out what drives you to make artwork first, rather than try to fit your work into a prescribed template for what you think illustration or comics are. You might flounder in one part of the industry but blow up in another. It’s important to figure out what your strengths are and where you can best utilize them.
I never really wanted to make comics. I don’t live and breathe them, like I know a lot of people do. I don’t actually read very many, and they weren’t a part of my life growing up. After a few years of working, however, I sort of came to terms with the fact that I’m more a story-teller than a conceptualist, and comics are obviously a good avenue for telling visual stories. They’re more effective than, say, a series of finished illustrations. And I was always a doodler. These things sort of fit together, though it took me a long time to figure that out.
I don’t even feel like I’ve really “made it” in the industry, no matter what kind of work I’m doing, despite all of my money coming from drawing. There’s always something I could be doing better.
rlopezortiz said: If Lebron and KD were D & D characters. What would they be? Not sure about Lebron but KD would be some kind of elf.
Lebron is a half-giant and KD is an Eladrin — they both have gamebreaking stats and are way over-levelled (very good question, btw).
caseyboots said: You're a real color master, I'm wondering if you've got any tips or resources on the matter? I am a great admirer of yours.
I think trying to keep things simple, using tried and true color pairings as your guidelines is helpful. I like to think about each piece as having a dominant color (or color pairing) and then support colors. Look back at my work and there’s probably one or two “key” colors, which all of the other colors respond to. It’s a real struggle for me, sometimes. Lots of trial and error.
My only real, solid advice is to date kalidraws.
I don’t really do warm-ups or anything, though I probably should. I’m always loathe to spend my time doing that stuff when I should be working, though it would probably increase my productivity level overall. I mostly just worry that time would get away from me.
I usually listen to podcasts and audiobooks and stuff…I almost always start my day with a basketball podcast (like I’m sure all of you do). My favorite albums of last year were Anamanaguchi’s Endless Fantasy, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, CHVRCHES’ The Bones of What You Believe, Yeezus, that Haim record, that kinda stuff. I’m really looking forward to the new Future Islands album.
alkarinque said: ooh! how many thumbnails, typically, do you go through before you find one that feels right for the image?
I used to go through like, 20-40 discreet thumbs before hitting on something I like, but because I’m sketching digitally these days, it’s sort of hard to tell. If I’m working on my own stuff, it’s less like thumbnailing and more like revising different iterations of the same image until I land on what I want. If I’m doing client work, then it’s typically 2-3 sketches, usually with a few false-starts. I’m less methodical with my process than I used to be.
I’m drawing all night but I am DOWN for some Q’s (if ya got em).
thestitchboy said: You've probably been asked this question before, but do you leave your line work on tracing paper or mylar?
I used to use a lot of translucent papers — duralar, marker comp paper, drafting vellum, tracing paper, that sort of thing. I occasionally still do, though I’m not too picky these days. Mostly I draw digitally.
*Either. I use a lightbox if I’m doing lines on something like watercolor paper (to paint over), but mostly it would be on translucent paper.
hey guys! Steven Universe is back for the new year! Here are some paints I did for this weeks episode, Serious Steven. The continuously awesome Sam Bosma did the layout for this episode!
Hey! I drew most of these! All except for the top one. I haven’t seen this episode yet, but as far as I know it’s about triangles and strawberries (a great shape and a great fruit). Shoutout to Amanda for her bonkers colors, as usual.
Some miscellaneous pieces from the past year than I never posted for one reason or another. They’re not doing me any good just sitting on the ol’ HDD, though, right? I’m probably forgetting a few things.
1. A spread for Entertainment Weekly about a series of set visits in London. Featuring Brad Pitt, Chris Hemmsworth, Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Lily James, Nicole Kidman, Ron Howard, Paddington Bear, and the writer, Clarke Collis.
2. The back cover for Winger, by Andrew Smith, from Simon and Schuster. I did some interior comics as well. The cover is a photographic version of this, based on a sketch that I did. Very strange.
3. Private Network, for Network World magazine. About businesses building their own proprietary networks rather than relying completely on the cloud. This is the last cover for the print magazine, which went fully digital immediately after. Turns out the shark in the water was a bit of a premonition.
4. A piece for The New Republic about what Michael Bloomberg is going to do now that he’s no longer Mayor. Word is that he’s going to be headed back to work at his newspaper, The Bloomberg View, which is a little strange.
5. Lastly, another poster for Streetlight Manifesto featuring the same cast of characters from the previous one. I think this went unused.
I felt like I didn’t do a ton of work this year, just taking into account the single, finished pieces I completed. Have to remind myself that I also wrote and drew and self-published a 40 page comic and drew around 120 backgrounds for Steven Universe.
Both, actually. These were a sort of digital composite version of all those inkwash/ebony pencil drawings I did way back when. I wanted some more control over values and how the final scan looked, which sorta led to this method.
The line drawing came first, in ebony pencil. That was thrown onto the lightbox with a sheet of watecolor paper over it, onto which went some really loose ink tones. Enough that I wouldn’t really have to render much digitally, just enhance the values.
After that I put in some gray tones in there to flesh out the structure and start to build whatever atmosphere I could. The tone on the wings is from a separate ink wash texture that I had previously scanned and filed away in my texture folder. The last image is everything fitted together. Very easy.
Anyway, this is another monster from Scare Scape. He’s sort of a demon/dragon? The wing on the left there is all goofy since that’d get cropped off about midway through. I don’t actually think the author liked this one very much (can’t win ‘em all).
usedtailwhip-deactivated2014043 said: Hi there! I ordered a copy of fantasy basketball a little bit back and it said it was supposed to ship late october early november but I haven't gotten it and I was just hoping you could update me on the order and stuff if indeed all of that junk is run through you! Thank you very much, you rock all of the socks off
Hey! They should ship in the next week. I’ve had a bunch of delays recently, work related and otherwise. Every one is put together by hand (my hands, to be specific), which, as you can imagine, means it’s a pretty slow process from the start. That said, they’re all put together, finally, just have to trim them down and pack/ship. Sorry about all the delays. Nobody wants these things shipped out more than I do.
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