December 9th, 2013, 2:27 pm
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of being a guest of Marc Bowker’s Alter Ego Comics as part of Lima’s downtown Christmas celebration. Marc was a great host, as always. He introduced me to the tasty food and great people at the Met. If you’re ever in Lima, I can’t recommend it enough.
I was doing sketches for a $5 donation to the Our Daily Bread soup kitchen. They do a lot of good, and in my four hours at the store, we managed to raise over $250. I’m proud to have been able to help.
The best part, though, is the people. Working on My Little Pony has brought me a new group of fans. It’s wonderful to see so many kids excited about comics. It’s the best part of doing these appearances.
I was also interviewed by the local TV station and taught a class on drawing MLP. There should be pics of the class and (shudder) even the video should be posted at some point. When it does, I’ll let you know.
In the meantime, here are pictures of some of the happy customers as well as Marc’s Holiday Display, celebrating the Star Wars Holiday Special.
December 8th, 2013, 8:14 pm
Day 08: Plastic Man
Today’s drawing is a mixed bag for me. I think it looks pretty good, but I wasn’t able to do the thing that I wanted to with it:
I wanted to make custom curve rulers to ink the arms here. But I couldn’t figure out how to do it, it was getting late, and I just decided to handle it traditionally. I did tweak some of the brush settings to make the arcs a little slicker. I’m not sure how well that worked.
I dig Plastic Man a ton, but stretchy characters like this are hard for me. Sure, it seems like you could do anything with them, but it’s that freedom that makes them a challenge. If they can do anything, what do you have them do? And trying to get the right mass to stretch ratio isn’t as easy as you’d think, either.
I’m sure I’ll use the technique I didn’t on this on something else, or someone will suggest Mr. Fantastic or Elongated Man or Metamorpho. It’s just delayed for now.
December 7th, 2013, 9:28 pm
Day seven: Shade the Changing Man.
Did I say I might be late? I don’t miss deadlines.
(I say that and who knows what will happen tomorrow.)
I had an awesome time at Alter Ego today, and I’ll write about that more later. For now, let’s do some drawin’!
I’ve arbitrarily decided that every seventh one of these will be in color. This was a perfect one to start with. The distorion field surrounding Shade was inked in Manga Studio as per usual, but on a separate layer. This made it easy to convert the whole thing quickly to the green color.
Not a lot of program or Nostromo experimenting here. Mostly I wanted to see how I would handle a transparent layer like the field around Shade.
I read a few issues of the original Shade: The Changing Man series when I was a kid. I kind of liked it, even if I totally didn’t understand it. And I didn’t. I really liked the Vertigo series that came years later, too, but I’d love to see the classic version revisited.
December 6th, 2013, 12:31 pm
Day six: The Creeper
Not a lot to say about this one, actually. I’m doing some work on my house, and I’m appearing at Alter Ego in Lima tomorrow, so time was at a premium. I wanted to do a different character, actually, but the limited time meant I didn’t have the time to do the experimenting I needed. So instead I went for loose, and tried to give the drawing a sense of energy.
Speaking of the store appearance, day 07 may be delayed. I mentioned that I may skip a day or two and catch up on the other side. Depending on what time I get back and how tired I am, I might let it slide to the next day.
December 5th, 2013, 1:35 pm
Day five: Ambush Bug
Quick one today of everyone’s favorite fourth-wall-breaking super guy.
Nothing new or challenging in the drawing, except maybe trying out a couple of different pens. The big thing I did was experiment more with the Nostromo. I figured out how to link the keys to an application, so their functions change when I’m in a different program. That way I don’t have to hop keymaps.
I did remap the keys so that the button for pencil is identical in both Manga Studio and Photoshop, and so on. Hopefully, then, when I need the eyedropper or magic wand, it won’t matter what the keyboard commands are, they’ll be the same on the Nostromo.
December 5th, 2013, 9:25 am
This Saturday, December 7th, I’ll be doing a signing/appearance at Alter Ego Comics in Lima, Ohio. for the Downtown Holiday Fest! You can support small businesses (Alter Ego and other downtown businesses), get 20% off your purchases at Marc’s fine store, and I’ll be signing and sketching… and teaching a My Little Pony drawing class at noon.
I’ll also have copies of the Love and Capes trades, my issue of MLP:Twilight Sparkle, and copies of the Pony Tales trade which features my story and six other awesome ones. My sketches will be $5.00, with the money going to the Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen.
You can read more about it on Marc’s Alter Ego blog, and get a complete list of Downtown Holiday Fest participants here.
It’s always a fun time at Marc’s shop. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!
December 4th, 2013, 8:55 am
Day four: The Enchantress.
Second female character in a row. With this one, I was less concerned about learning on the Manga Studio/Photoshop/Razer rig, and more about pose. I wanted to do a reclining pose.
It seems small, but changing the drawing to have a lot more left-to-right rather than up-and-down lines was very different. I found I rotated the drawing canvas a lot more to get a more natural movement while inking. I also did a lot more tweaking on the pencils with the transform tools.
At this point, the key commands are working well, but I’m debating changing some of them. Between Photoshop and Manga Studio, there are some common commands, like switching to the eyedropper tool and toggling the pencil and pen tools. It might be better if I used the same key for each.
December 3rd, 2013, 9:15 am
Day three: Superwoman, Earth-3 evil flavored.
I picked this one because I wanted to draw a woman after drawing two men. I did it as a profile because that’s not my normal way of attacking a figure. I concentrated on making a feminine profile, not as angular and pronounced as a male one. I also wanted to try inking hair and making that sawtooth pattern on the black bodysuit areas. Inking those on the Cintiq/Manga Studio is the reverse of inking on board. With a brush, I go thick to thin, to do these digital lines, I went thin to thick with kind of a flicking motion. It seemed to work well.
I also started assigning commands to my Nostromo to control Manga Studio. With the keypad, I can switch tools, zoom, undo, and use the eyedropper tool. I added undo to my Photoshop commands, too. I’m seeing that I might want to have two set of presets for the Photoshop keys, one for drawing/coloring, and one for more of the cutting/pasting/channel control that’s necessary to do some of my final process stuff. We’ll see on that.
I did manage to keep my pencil layer separate this time. Click to embiggen either, and feel free to suggest some characters to me. Use the hashtag #tzadvent.
December 2nd, 2013, 10:40 am
Day two of the TZAdvent project… Green Goblin.
Here’s what I learned on this one. I started experimenting with how Manga Studio handles curves and rulers. There’s a snap-to function that allows me to ink as if I was using a French curve, complete with variable pressure on the lines. This is huge. It’s something that is essential to the Love and Capes background style I have, and something I use a lot in other places, too. Finding a way to replicate that is unimaginably important.
Also, I need to talk about Doug Hills. He wrote the Manga Studio for Dummies book (which covers version 4, not 5… hopefully there’ll be an update soon), and has done a ton of YouTube videos showing how to use the most recent version. They’ve been an invaluable learning tool, and I bought his French curve set online. They were only 49¢, well worth it! Check out his videos if you’re trying to learn this program too.
I have pencils for this piece, too, but I got mny layers confused and inked the Goblin Glider over the pencils. I’m still working on my workflow for this project. I’ll streamline it and not cover any of my pencils next time.
December 1st, 2013, 3:08 pm
I’m trying to do a Advent calendar of sorts. All through the month of December, I’m going to draw a super hero or villian a day. I’m doing this to force myself to learn Manga Studio and my Nostromo Razer keypad. If I learn to use these tools better, I can learn to work more efficiently and faster, and that means I can do more things.
I’m also taking suggestions for who to draw. So tweet me suggestions, or hit me up on Facebook. Use the hashtag #tzadvent.
Drawing number one is Bizarro, Superman’s imperfect duplicate. Pencils and inks were done in Manga Studio, and tones in Photoshop. I’ve set up a few commands on my Nostromo now. I can activate the magic wand, do an expanded fill so that the tone area fills in underneath the black layer, deselect things, and do contracted fills. Some of the commands are Photoshop standard, some of them are my Actions.Ideally, I’ll rarely have to reach for a keyboard or put down the pen, I’ll be able to do my most common drawing and coloring actions with my left hand and keep drawing with my right. The hard part is going to be picking the right combinations, and learning them until they become part of my muscle memory. Instead of assigning all the commands I think I need to the Nostromo, I’m assigning them one at a time as I need them. I figure this will help me make sure I make the ones I use the most the most accessible.