Thursday, June 23, 2011

Never stop the learnin'

One aspect to my job I never thought I would love so much is the research that is involved in drawing comics. Each project or book I work on takes me to new places, across all walks of life. With every script I get, I do an initial read through to get a feel for the story. I immediately read through it again and start sketching in the margins page layouts, poses for figures, facial expressions or scenic shots that come to mind. I also highlight or circle all the things in the script that I don't know how to draw off the top of my head. Turns out, that ends up being quite a few things!

Then comes the research. I usually hit up Google images, or various magazines and reference books I own to compile an image bible for each issue. I keep that with my script as I work through the book so I have it handy whenever I come to that particular scene where I need to make specific things look.... well...specific.

Here in Snake Eyes #1, for instance, I have never gone mountain climbing. I've done it indoors or repelled a few times.  But obviously nothing to this extent growing up in Illinois where the highest elevation is the quesadilla I just dropped on the ground. Hence the research.

Or in this case, for the Savage Sword anthology for Dark Horse comics I had to draw a convincing 15th century France.  Convincing being the key word. I'm not an expert, or even incredibly educated on the subjects I research out by simply compiling photos. But I like my work to seem real enough that it's a believable scene, and a believable environment. That means I need at least a base knowledge of how things look and work to convey it properly.

That also means that when I have to make something up and fill a space with a combination of real objects and fictional items, they look believable together.

Stark Industries (Iron Man)

Village in the Mountains (Forgotten Realms)

The PITT (GI Joe)


  1. You seriously seem to excel at this aspect of drawing. I am most impressed with being able to "fake" tech and things of that type and still make them look believable, I would never be able to do that!

  2. Thats why I only have you do my commission backgrounds. Can Popa draw buildings?

  3. We just need some templates and we'll be fine!

  4. I totally forgot that you had done Forgotten Realms, amazing environments as usual. Pretty Jealous...