Monday, May 28, 2012

Book sketching tests

The time will soon come when I'll be working on book sketches for the artist editions and those who buy the sketch package at cons.  Sweet!  Now, how should I handle it?

Every artist handles things differently.  I wanted to offer something more than the typical pen and ink approach, so now it's time to find the look.  I've seen some wonderful book sketches Darc of Code Name: Hunter did with monochrome colored pencil, so... monkey see, monkey do.

What you see here are various tries to find the best combo of pen and pencil application. Do I sketch in regular pencil, or no-copy blue?  Should I erase the pencil or show the process lines? What type of pen should I use for the inking?  When should the inking stage occur?

The first try was Tiffany.  I began with blue lines, then inked with the glorious Fude pen that was recommended by Becca of Nattosoup.  It was all awesome until the coloring began. SMEARS! Noooooo!

Darn it!  I want to use that pen whenever possible, so that was disheartening.  The next try was Jacob, where I colored him first and use the pen overtop the pencils. That looks great, but it does make coloring more imprecise.  It should be OK, though.

Autumn is the standard sketch, using regular tech pens. I erased the pencil after inking, so it's a little cleaner. No problems here, but it's harder to pull off line variance.

Bud's inking went the other way.  I left the pencils to show process and used a brush pen, which gives nice lines despite my complete inability to use it.  The downside here is that error potential is high, and I take it a bit slower in drawing.

And then there's the blue. I've been on a monochrome kick for a while, so this should be no surprise. It's also practical.  It's a lot easier on the logistics to keep it in one color family, and I think it's a nice touch.  It doesn't have to be blue.  I just like it, and I can use the blue pencil for sketching.  (Although it doesn't scan well AT ALL. This is an iPhone photo you see.) There's a chance I could switch to toning with markers, but there's a bleed issue there.

The actual book sketches will be a bit larger, of course.  Gotta come up with some scenes to draw, especially since I need to have 21 unique sketches for Autumn.  (Yes, that's out of 25 pre-orders. Dang, guys.)

I know I'm getting ahead of myself.  Most book sketches won't be happening until August.  Still, it's a fun thing to practice!


Iron Ed said...

IMHO... ;-)
I think the line-work looks best on Tiffany and Jacob; not much difference between them.
Bud -might- have a bit too much line variance, but still good. He's a good balance for Autumn with, maybe, too little. :-) :-) :-)

Autumn needs some kinda prop too. She looks a little out-of-touch in there with the other three as-is. ;-)

Come to think of it... Give Autumn a prop to match the others and you could probably sell this practice sheet for a few bucks too!

Anonymous said...

So which kid got left out?

Iron Ed said...

Left out of what?? These -are- the four 'primary' characters; Bud, Autumn, Jacob and Tiffany.

Christopher J Paulsen said...

The practice sheet is either going in my con portfolio as an example or into some scraps folder. It won't be sold. It's for reference.

And none of the main kids were left out. One Bud, one Jacob, one Tiffany, one Casey and THOUSANDS OF AUTUMNS.

Iron Ed said...


Heh.. There's another one every year. ;-)