Sunday Sketch: Danica

I haven’t done a Sunday Sketch in a while. Sorry about that and please accept my apologies if you enjoy them. Illustrating is definitely a sideline to my writing and it’s suffered due to my travel schedule this past month.

Speaking of travel…

One of the things that happened at Worldcon was that I was able to talk one-on-one with Howard Tayler from the Writing Excus… wait, excuse me. Howard Tayler from the Hugo award-winning Writing Excuses podcast.

I was hoping to track down some nuts ‘n bolts-type info on illustrating graphic novels. Specifically, I was having trouble finding online, educational resources and mentorship for authoring and illustrating them.

It’s tough enough to sift through novel-writing resources. For novels, there’s a lot out there and finding the stuff that works for you can take some time. When you get to graphic novels, things simply get weird. Everything focuses on superhero fan art and doe-eyed anime preteens. Plus half the stuff out there is in Japanese. I took one semester of Japanese in college and holy-hard languages, Batman.

ANYWAY…

I was talking to Howard about that stuff, but the most valuable take-aways I left with were:

  1. Something that I should have admitted to myself all along, and
  2. Something that was very good for me to hear.

Something I should have known all along:

START THE DARNED PROJECT!

I mean, it’s not going to draw itself and the more you learn, the more you know you have left to learn. If you wait until you are absolutely perfect at a particular thing (doesn’t really happen, btw), then you’re pretty much guaranteed to never actually DO anything with the thing. If you think that you get better, and then get better, and then suddenly you barf complete projects and sneeze finished manuscripts, you’re wrong.

And I was, too.

Again.

Just like writing a book… start.

… and then keep at it.

Something that was very good for me to hear:

“You’re never happy with the artwork.”

Now why is it a good thing to hear that the project you’re committing hundreds of hours of investment into will never make you happy?

Easy.

It lets you move on. You’re never going to be happy with the art. Deal with it. Or… don’t do it. Don’t start. Quit. Go do something else. Something that you find rewarding.

But if you can’t quit? If there’s simply no way you can’t not do this project? Start. Do the thing. If you can’t be happy with the art, be content with it. Keep moving.

Hearing a pro like Howard make that statement was just the push I needed to get over myself. To appreciate what I could do. And to accept that I’ll be able to do more – and do it better – later.

Even if that means I will never be happy with the artwork.

Droblar: Dani Miller

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Too excited not to share

Ok. Ok, ok, ok.

I probably shouldn’t be posting this, but I just gotta. I’m way too excited about the project not to share.

This is only a test panel for stylistic choices, pallette selection, and whatnot. For instance, I know this isn’t the font that I want to use. I’m not sure yet about the dimensions. Etc, etc. Blah, blah, blah.

BUT STILL! They live! My little droblar guys are live, inked and in color!

As soon as I figure out how I want to publish the story, I’ll start posting them to a dedicated website. I already have one reserved (droblar.com), but for the near future these little fellas will live only on the blog. Also, new panels won’t come out very quickly as I only draw on Sundays.

I’m rambling.

Aaaaanyway, the story is finished. All that’s left is to draw it. And I’m awfully excited to say that it will look…

something…

like…

THIS!

Droblar - Page One

 

Sunday Sketch: The Miller’s Mill

As per normal, I’m late posting this week’s Sunday Sketch. You’d think that snapping a pic with my phone and emailing it to myself would be quick and simple, but NOOOOO…

At any rate, this is the concept sketch for the mill in the Droblar story. I like the general sense of the setting. However, there are a few things that I’m not happy with. Specifically, the thatched roofs and the water.

I need to spend some time practicing water, in particular. The mill doesn’t show up too much in the story, but the underground settings almost all have water dripping on or running through them. Also, the Droblar spray water to drill new tunnels, so I’ll have to figure out how to draw that, too.

I hope you like this week’s Sunday Sketch and please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

The Miller's Mill by Andy Rogers

Sunday Sketch: Flight From The Bystrica

This week’s *cough* belated *cough* Sunday Sketch is from a scene towards the end of the Droblar graphic novel.

I’m obviously still playing with the visuals for some of the characters. For example, the Droblar in this sketch is supposed to be Bing. This looks more like Steve’s head/neck shape with Bing’s face. Also, the girl in this shot is far too mature looking for what I have in mind. I’m having trouble drawing kids and I haven’t played around with costume ideas for her yet, either. =\

I was also trying to play with motion in this sketch. I like the way it turned out for Bing and the girl. The monster chasing them is supposed to look like it’s vaulting from rock to rock on long claws. I’m going to have to play with that some more to really capture the movement as I’m envisioning it.

I hope you all enjoy the sketch of this scene and please let me know what you think in the comments.

Droblar: Flight from the Bystrica by Andy Rogers

Sunday Sketch: The Death of Ma Miller

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Tabatha Miller’s nightmares started the evening after her mother died. However, it wasn’t until she laid Ma in the ground with Papa and Little Pearl that they started finding Tab asleep in odd places. Curled up inside the pantry. Down in the apple cellar. Up in the gear loft of the paddlewheel house.

At times like that, they would wake Tab up and light lamps to chase away her nightmares. Other times, Papa would find her walking and guide her back to bed, still asleep.

#####

Ma Miller's Funeral

This is a rough sketch of one of the opening panels for the Droblar story. Please feel free to leave comments or suggestions.

Sunday Sketch: New Pens!

Today’s Sunday Sketch is the result of bit of experimentation. I’ve been playing around with drawing eyes and decided to practice inking over my pencil sketches.

One piece of advice from Doug Hills in his book Manga Studio for Dummies is to try as many different types of pens as possible when you’re learning to ink. Taking that advice to heart, I picked up about forty bucks worth of pens to play around with.

My favorites by far are the Faber-Castell artist pens, both the straight pens and the brushes. I also really like the Copic Multiliners for fine work. If the Copic’s were a little cheaper, I’d consider keeping a bunch around for everyday writing.

At any rate, here’s the inked sketch. Let me know what you think and feel free to offer advice in the comments.

SundaySketch_20130512

Sunday Sketch: Refining the Droblar

Today’s Sunday Sketch is a simple refinement of the Droblar creatures that I’m using for my graphic novel.

I’m not quite sure if I’m there yet, but I’m getting closer. I envision Bing being a little shorter, rounder and cuter. This guy also isn’t lean and stooped enough for Puck. Steve is a big block of a Droblar and will look nothing like this sketch. Still… I think I’m starting to dial them in.

I’ll keep working on their bodies and faces. However, I really need to start figuring out how their bandoliers and utility harnesses will work. Can’t have them running ’round without all their gear.

As always, let me know your thoughts and whatnot in the comments. =)

Refining the Droblar by Andy Rogers

Sunday Sketch: Birth of the Droblar

This week’s Sunday Sketch is a rough thumbnail of the first page of a graphic novel that I want to make. The story is a bedtime tale that I’ve been telling to my 6 year old.

I know the entire story, but we’ve been taking our time with the telling and with the listening. My boy likes as much detail as possible. Also, the story is more fun for me to tell if I let him interrupt with questions about the characters, to go back to a favorite part, or to back up for more detail.

I know everything that will happen and have notes and scripts for everything but the fine details. However, and quite obviously, I need to get my illustrating up to snuff before I can start it.

You might see these little guys in a lot of Sunday Sketches for the next several months. =)

DroblarPage1_Sketch

There is no dialogue on this first page. Each of the three panes has a piece of narrative. They are:

PANEL #1
There are many things, both clever and malicious, that live in the deep places under the world. Among the most clever are the Droblar.

PANEL #2
It is a good thing for Tabatha Thatcher that it is a group of Droblar passing beneath the forest at night and not some vile or uncaring monster from the underground. It is also a good thing that this particular group of Droblar is passing.

PANEL #3
For, in addition to having very sharp hearing, there isn’t a Drobo alive more curious than Bing.

Anyway… there’s the Sunday Sketch for this week. Let me know what you think with critiques and suggestions in the comments.

Sunday Sketch: Back to Basics

A couple weeks ago, my friend Jake Powning inspired me with this tweet.

I have a graphic novel that I’d like to illustrate. I absolutely love the story, but I’ve kept it back-burnered due to a general sense of disappointment with my illustration skills.

… or the lack thereof.

Illustration is like speaking a language or playing an instrument. If you don’t use it, you lose it. I’ve most definitely lost it. If I’m going to pull this graphic novel off, I need to get my drawing chops back into shape.

And so, we have a new segment on the blog. Welcome to Sunday Sketches. I’ll be posting weekly updates on my development.

My natural inclination is to dive in and start drawing panels for the script. But I want this to go well and so I’m exercising a bit of restraint. My wife and I ended up at the bookstore on date-night this past Thursday. I picked up Character Mentor by Tom Bancroft and Magna Studio for Dummies by Doug Hills. I’m going back to the basics, working through some assignments, and we’ll see how things go.

Here is a page from yesterday when I was working on dynamic poses. Feel free to heckle/critique/etc in the comments.

SS_20130421