Monday, January 19, 2009

Dead Pets - Sample Piece

Before being given the go ahead to start, I did a sample piece to give a general idea of how the strip might look. The characters changed a little from this initial piece, Frazzle the cat, in particular. Part of this piece was used for the Doodler section on the inside of the Comic in the same issue as the first episode of Dead Pets. Here's the pencil roughs, I can't remember but it looks like I might have drawn them over an even rougher scribble that I printed out very faintly as a guide.

These are the more finished pencils, I was definitely drawing over a blue printout of the previous picture here.

The line art, inked with a Kuretake brush pen, which I may write a little something about in a future post.

And the finished art - I coloured it and added the window shadow on the computer.
It was while doing this sample that I realised I didn't want to have the dead pets slightly or semi-transparent but to suggest their lack of solidity by having their linework in colour - apart from a few details here and there - and no shadows cast on them or by them. There is a shadow on Gus the snake in this picture but I was still working out what the rules were at this point. I'm still unsure as to whether my ideas to make them seem ghostly are entirely successful but I didn't want to go down the see-through route, it would have been a pain to deal with technically and far too time-consuming. Not that doing colour holds on the linework of the pets is a speedy process either, as I've discovered.


Rob Davis said...

This is good to see. Frazzle certainly got better with the final version and the boy here is quite different to the published Sam. I'm interested in your brush pens - those inks are lovely.

Faz Choudhury said...

Cheers, Rob. I was never entirely happy with the Frazzle designs I toyed with before beginning Dead Pets but I think it came together a little better in the strip and it seems like he evolves slightly every time I draw him (along with all the other characters), I guess it'll settle down eventually.

Sam did have more cartoony proportions at this stage and I'm I'm still not sure whether I prefer him this way or how he looks now.

Here's a link to the brushpen that I've taken a shine to of late:

That link goes to Jetpens but I think they're sold out at the moment, Dick Blick and Amazon US also sell them. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a supplier over here. Jetpens do seem to dispatch quickly, I ordered something from them the other day, standard postage, and it arrived in a few days which is pretty speedy compared to other things I've bought from the US. Maybe I got lucky though.

The cartridges for the brushpen aren't waterproof so I use a Platinum pen converter: and fill it with Koh-I-Noor Ultradraw ink which is also available from Dick Blick. You can most likley use another similar rapidograph ink but the Ultradraw was recommended along with the pen. Another good thing about these pens is that you can order a new replacement tip and save half the cost of buying a new pen.

It's been a bit of a quest to find one that I'm truly happy with for finished work. I love using a traditional brush but not having to dip it in ink and having the sense of freedom, comfort and different mental attitude that holding a pen brings is a good thing for me.

I still do a fair bit of cleaning up mistakes and tidying up of the occasional wonky ink lines in Photoshop though...

WJC said...

You do some great scenic panels Faz. Really nice work. And I do love a good 'process post', thanks.

Chris said...

Hey Faz,

This is a lovely pic. I think you're right about the coloured lines over the see-thru-ness. You could play with making the outlines a real ghostly colour if you were concerned they didn't look dead enough...

The way I colour lines is a bit of a faff, so maybe yours is the same technique? I copy my line art into a new alpha channel, invert it, select it, then use the selection for a quick mask...

I'd not heard of those pens before...the one I use is the Pentel brush pen, but that Kuretake looks pretty swish...

Faz Choudhury said...

Thanks, Chris!

Channels have always confused me, I often wish I had a better grasp of them and how they work, this is why I tend to do everything in layers. I really ought to experiment more.

I read what I thought seemed like a fairly straightforward method of colouring linework in PS that I've started using of late: You make a new layer and have it selected, then select your linework (or the parts of it you want to colour, then at the bottom of your Layers palette/menu thing click on the Add Layer Mask button. You can then colour all the linework that you selected on that layer and nothing else is affected. Oh, before you start colouring on the Layer Mask layer, you need to deselect it and then select it again first, it won't let you start using colour on that layer until you've done that, not sure why.

That seems to work pretty well but separating characters out and all that is still a bit of a faff. I'm sure I'm not being as efficient as I could be!

I really like the Pentel brushpen too but I find that the ink can bleed on some papers and the brush is a little longer than I might prefer. The Kuretake, is a lovely pen, it's a quality build and the nylon tip is very good and comes to a nice point. I've used it for all of Dead Pets and I've enjoyed using it, along with the odd fibre-tip and bit of PITT brush pen. It's also close in size and shape to my traditonal brush of choice, Winsor & Newton Series 7, size 1, so that's probably another reason why I like it.

Having said all that, I'm playing about with Manga Studio at the moment. The first results of which will be seen on Huzzah!!

Sketchybeast said...

That layer mask business sounds like the same thing I do Faz, just from a different angle.

The two things you mention about the Pentel - the brush size and the occasional bleed are the two flies in the ointment for me, so I reckon I'll have a go of the Kuretake.

Not heard of Manga Studio. The new panel looks ace.

Maurizio Ercole said...

Today I have buyed a Kuretake... sometime I use the Pentel Brush very usefull in critical situation like conventions. Great ilustration! Remaind me the Pet Cemetery of Ramones! I put your link in my blog. See you soon.

Faz Choudhury said...

Hi Maurizio, thank you for stopping by especially as I've not updated in so long. Thanks for your nice comments and for adding me to your blog too.

I hope you like the Kuretake pen!