All Part of the Process

Go get a drink. I’ll wait.

Cool. One of my favorite pieces that I’ve worked on recently is this Wonder Woman I drew up for my Aunt Janet. If you didn’t see me mention it on my FB page originally, my Aunt is a massive Wonder Woman fan, specifically the Lynda Carter show. I’ve drawn a few things for her in the past, but I really wanted to knock it out of the park for her when I sat down to start drawing.

For the most part, all of my “finished” art starts off as a sketch in my sketchbook. I don’t spend a ton of time at this stage since I’m just trying out the pose or composition. Sometimes I’ll spend a little bit of time tightening it up like I did here on this sketch. In fact, if you look closely, you can see that when I scanned in the sketch, I placed the stars on her briefs and tiara as a guide for later.

Once I’m sold on the basic drawing (or the client is, if it’s a commission), I take it to the drawing board. I typically draw on 300 or 500 series 11x17 Bristol Strathmore.

For this drawing, to save some time, I taped my sketch down to my lightbox and traced out the basic forms quickly. Then I do the heavy lifting. I try not to leave a page on the lightbox for too long. I’ve noticed if I do it tends to make the drawing pretty stiff and my enthusiasm also starts to wane. I like drawing, so I try to do as much “natural” drawing as possible.

I use a lot of different tools to ink with. Sometimes it comes down to what is near me or easiest to work with at the moment. This was inked almost completely with PITT art pens, but most of the hair was done with a Pentel brush pen I recently picked up.

Once I’ve done enough damage with ink, I hit the scanner and let the computer do the rest of the work for me.

I kid.

Actually, the next stage is one of the most fun parts of the process for me. I scan in the art at 600 dpi and crack it open in Photoshop to start laying down colors. I use the techniques mastered by Hi-Fi Colour Design. The parts that aren’t purely artistic are practically a science.

The first step in coloring for me is flatting the colors. Just like a kid with a coloring book, I put down solid colors on each and every element that I know I will have to go back and render individually later.

Once that’s done, I use a combination of channels and layers to render the final colors. I generally hit undo a bunch, drink a lot of coffee, and wish there was a ctrl+alt+magic button at this point.

Once I’ve finished rendering out the colors and special effects (like the lasso), I’m left with something that hopefully resembles this:

At this point, there’s usually a COPS marathon on TV that demands my lack of attention. This is all pretty general, but the end result is a very happy Aunt with a drawing I put a lot of energy and love into.