Although my preference has always been for the original Migage black and white comics from the 80′s, I also have always had a soft spot fot Shredder’s top two goons from the TMNT cartoon, Bebop and Rocksteady. Alex “Toon” Deligiannis has done a couple of very cool, highly stylized renditions of these two on his art blog, Stay Tooned. Alex does a great job of taking us through exactly how he came to his final art.
Here are two passes for my Bebop print: the initial Cintiq sketch and the final (pre-ink) Col-erase drawing. Not pictured are the other dozen or so drawings that it took me to get from point A to point B. I often re-draw the same thing over and over, tweaking one thing at a time until I like what I’ve come up with. Sometimes I can work things out in a couple of drawings, other times it takes a few more. Inevitably, there’s always some sort of spark or energy I like in the initial rough which ends up getting lost in the translation, but I’ve learned to deal with it. There’s also a photo of a practice page I used to try out a few different pens. For years I’ve cleaned up my drawings using a 4B pencil, but lately I’ve been getting back into using ink. In addition to my trusty Pentel Pocket Brush (the “Master Sword” of inking utensils), I tried out several new Japanese pens I picked up recently, including a Zebra, a Pilot Pocket Brush, and a disposable Kuratake. Some I dig, others not so much, but I had fun trying them out and hopefully I can find some time this week to ink the drawing for real.
As Rocksteady here illustrates, I usually start with some horribly ugly sketches. Then, I draw the same thing over and over and over again, each time trying something different. I chip away at it, drawing and re-drawing, until it starts to come together. I know I’m not the only artist who works this way, but at times it feels less like exploration and more like trail and error. Sometimes I wonder if it’s supposed to be this… tedious. I enjoy the process, but I just wish I was better and faster (especially when I see the work of peers I admire, and it looks like they’re banging out masterpieces with no effort). Obviously, I’m sharing my flaws here, which isn’t easy, but I suppose the only way to get better is to face the problem head-on (and “apply directly to the forehead”), and break the cycle by drawing more. I’ve got some more tweaking to do on this one – the silhouette was clearer in original roughs – but it’s getting there.
I like my lines like I like my work area and my bed sheets – clean and crisp. I’m not particularly good at clean-up, and certainly not as good as I’d like to be, but I really enjoy this part of the process – I look forward to it even while I’m still working out the rough sketch. That seems odd, since I mentioned before that I sometimes find the sketching process to be stressful. I would imagine that, ordinarily, one would find the clean-up process to be more stressful, simply due to the precision and control required. But most of the time, I have a lot of fun doing it.
Originally, for a split second, I thought about arming Rocksteady with a huge, over-the-top X-Men/Cable kind of weapon, but I quickly decided that an Uzi was more his style. He’s definitely an automatic weapon kind of rhino. However, the Uzi was too similar to his head in both size and shape, so I decided a longer rifle would break up the composition better. The version on the right also has on a helmet, but I haven’t decided if I like it enough to keep it yet. It goes with the rest of his get-up, but I think it makes him look less menacing, more stupid (but then, that stays true to his character, I suppose).
I finally got around to slapping some color on that Rocksteady drawing I posted ages ago. I could tell you it took forever because I’ve been swamped with the day job, but really I’ve just been playing Wii. Also, I wasn’t really feeling my first color pass, so I just walked away from it for a while. When I finally came back to it, I ended up redrawing the entire lower half on the Cintiq to fix wonky anatomy (that’s what I get for ditching life drawing classes). Anyway, it’s nice to post something new again.
For more awesome stuff, please check out Alex’s blog here.