Saturday, October 10, 2009

Skull drawing and process

I went for a walk in a snowstorm the other day, and drunk a bunch of beer that night. The combination weakened me and now I'm pretty sick.
Since I'm just up to easy stuff today, I sketched the head for my undead dragon out...

Concept art with markers
Chartpak cool grey markers #1-5, warm grey #1
Pad of marker paper, pad of manilla paper
2-3 black ink pens of various thickness
detail brush and bottle of Daler Rowney FW Acrylic Artists Ink: white
Col-Erase Light blue Prismacolor pencil
Kneaded eraser

I use either white marker paper (prevents bleed-through) or plain yellow colored manilla paper. The marker paper is cleaner and more precise, but the manilla gives you a nice mid-tone start.

Using the white marker paper, start your drawing with blue pencil; I use Col-Erase Light blue from Prismacolor. This soft, light pencil allows you to erase easily and draw loosely without getting messy or overly dark. You may not really know what you are drawing as you begin, since you are experimenting with new shapes and letting the form evolve. Being loose and making many changes is easier with the blue pencil and your design never feels overworked because it remains light and malleable. Think of drawing the underneath structural forms before you add details and costuming. “draw through” and construct the forms so that everything is solid and the 3-d construction is understood.

Using the manilla paper, I draw directly and immediately with a warm grey#1 marker, which is basically the same yellow as the paper, only darker. This marker will optically “fade away” and you won’t notice this part of the drawing after darker, cooler tones are established, and since the color is similar to the paper.
The blue pencil and warm #1 marker beginnings achieve the same goal: of a forgiving starting point that never gets messy and is unnoticeable in the end, allowing you to both think and draw from the ground up.

After establishing your drawing with one of the methods above, use the #4 cool grey marker and flatly block in the “shadow shape” and cast shadows. After this step, the drawing should look quite graphic and full of light and contrast.

Using a thin black pen, re-draw the concept and add line details. Using a thicker one, establish the very dark black areas, undersides and heavier line weights. Concentrate on cleaning up the design and enhance the lines using a line weight which indicates the light direction. (thin lines on top, thicker underneath, thin in the distance, thicker coming forward, etc…)

Next, use the #2 or #3, or better yet a maker that is drying out and fades with the stroke to round the forms in the light areas, thus adding the mid tones that gradate from the dark to light side of a form.

Lastly, add any final highlights or make corrections with the white paint and brush. Avoid putting white into the flat shadow areas if possible, and use the paint sparingly for crisp details.


Calydon said...

thanks for the tutorial - have you ever considered doing a live demo?

mike said...

I suppose, but I'd probably be too slow, and it would be boring! Maybe when I get time in the future I could video tape things and speed them up or something.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog. Really nice work and I like the way you describe your work process.