Wednesday, October 21, 2009

day38- terry dodson x-men

The original image is from the upcoming cover to uncanny Xmen 518 by Terry Dodson. Terry is a remarkable artist, as his figures are so damn solid. I don't think I pulled it off too well, but I am glad I gave it a shot.

When I first looked at this image, I was really scared. I thought to myself ' why put yourself through this? its just too complex.' Then I decided to try it.

First off the gesture image is a real mess. I approached this image the same way I approach all the images -which is to gesture all of it first, then build the shapes in the 2ND stage. The result was that stage 1 was a real jumble. The only advantage of it was that I knew it would all fit on the page. I wonder how Terry did it?

Probably the next time I come to doing an image like this, I will try and go back and forth. Gesture out 2 characters, then block in forms, then gesture the next character and so forth. I think this will help me with the relative proportions and also allow me to keep the page cleaner as I go through the process.

A reminder about the bounding box I use on each of these pages. I draw the box in, to give myself a false end of the page which forces me to fit the image on the paper. If you find you are drawing off the page try adding the bounding box and drawing within it. It really helps. If you find you still go off the page, draw the box even smaller and try and draw within that. That way, if you do go out of the box, hopefully you are still on the paper. ha ha.

When I got to sage 3 (the details), I realized that I was off in quite a few places in my compostion, in terms of placing the characters relative to one another. A clear example is the girl with the mohawk at the top. I drew her too high up compared to the original.

A note about construction.

The other day, a young lady stopped in the shop and showed me a drawing she did of a statue at the ROM or AGO in her sketchbook. She was very proud of it, and it really wasn't bad, but some of her proportions were off. I suggested trying construction but she was adamant that it wouldn't work for her. I didn't have time to discuss it further with her, as the group she came with was heading out, but what I would say to her is - you need to practice it to get it working for you. She admitted she had trouble working from her imagination, but even still - can you imagine working on a drawing like the one above by Dodson and not use construction. Figuring it all out would be much tougher.

By approaching it step by step, I was able to work through it in a relatively reasonable amount of time without completely wanting to kill myself. ha ha.

Finally a note about the materials. As you may have noticed, I am using a pencil for stage 1, blue pencil for stage two and a brush marker in stage 3. I am really enjoying this combination as it allowes me to work in layers (one on top of the other) and still be able to see all the steps. When I was using all pencil, or pencil for stage 1 and 2, I was losing the early stages when I got to the end.


  1. Hello,

    I must say that I'm inspired!!!

    I came across your blog over the weekend and I have just dive into it.
    I went back and start to read from start and would really like to join you in your journey.

    I'm currently an animator student at AM with no art background. I did my bachelors in Mechanical Engineering but have decided to follow my stars, dreams and just dive into this awesome medium.

    I will really like to do the same, so I guess it's up to 1 hour a day, right?

    I'll stay tuned.


    - A.

  2. Is that a special blue pencil or something? Why blue? Is it erasable?

  3. the blue pencil is indeed erasable. it just happened to be what i had lying around. It's called 'col-erase'.

    btw: new posts are coming. My camera completely stopped taking pictures. All the images are coming out white now. Expect a whack of art shortly.

  4. I've been doing this for a month now and it's really been a lot of fun. Thing is, I tend to go over the 1 hour mark and finish the piece off instead of stopping. My question is, should I be concerned about speed or taking the time to understand what I'm drawing?

  5. It depends on you. If you can learn from your mistakes and try and improve incrementally on the next drawing, then speed is good. slowing down from time to time is good too. It's not important to finish the drawing. its about process. so spend more time in the areas you are finding challenging.

  6. this looks really complex, not sure if id try doing it XD

  7. these posts seem to have come to a stop, it too bad i was looking forwards to seeing more. i myself like to do everything digitally; i find it tends to be much cleaner, takes up less space. but all the theories, the principles are essentially the same. id like to figure out how to implement something like backgrounds better in a format like that

  8. I really liked this part of the article, with a nice and interesting topics have helped a lot of people who do not challenge things people should know.. You need more publicize this so many people who know about it are rare for people to know this... Success for you.....!!!