Monday, April 13, 2020

Reining in Reference

Boba Fett & Han Solo Pencils. 2018. Pencil on paper, 9 × 12″.


I was recently asked how I keep from spending too much time researching a subject and finding visual reference. It can definitely be an issue, so I thought I'd share my reply here:

When it comes to reference, it's very easy to lose yourself in the search. It helps to have a deadline, even if it's self-imposed. I often block out times on the calendar for research, making sure that there's something after it that I have to attend to.

Another technique is to not let yourself look for reference during the sketching phase. Take your ideas as far as possible using just your imagination. Only once you know exactly what you need do you allow yourself to start the search.

Lastly, there are 2 main categories of reference: design reference and posing reference. If you need to know what an X-Wing looks like, that's pretty straightforward. Put if you need a specific angle of the pilot in the cockpit, you might have to play dress-up and take some pics.

Oh, and one more thing — 3D reference is best if you can get ahold of it. Sketchfab is one of my favorite resources. That's not always possible. If it's design ref you need, but you're having trouble finding the precise angle you need, don't be afraid to change the composition to better match the ref. That doesn't mean you're a slave to your photo ref, it just means if you only have a pic of a vehicle from the front, you can avoid drawing the back without anyone really noticing.

For further thoughts on the subject, here's a series of 3 posts.

Presearch 1
Presearch 2
Presearch 3

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 404

PUNISHER: SOVIET #6. 2019. Photoshop, 2750 × 4175 px.


Doing my best tough guy look



digital sketch, Soviet inspiration



Sunday, March 29, 2020

X-O Designs

X-O DESIGNS. 2016. Ink & watercolor on bristol board, 17 × 11″.

Way back in 2016 (what seems like a hundred years ago now) I was asked by Valiant to take a pass at redesigning X-O's armor for a new run. While it didn't end up getting used, I had a ton of fun trying out various looks for everyone's favorite Manowar.

The only direction I received was that he was starting to go a little crazy, and that his alien armor was reflecting his turbulent state of mind. He would eventually regain control, leading to a more standard design going forward.

We never really settled on a look, but my last edit was a Photoshop paint-over on the main turnaround (pic at the end). I'm still not quite happy with the last stage, but I loved the process, and felt like I was getting close. What's missing? My favorite superhero costumes are ones I can draw from my head, from any angle. Just need to simplify!























Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 403

PUNISHER: SOVIET #6. 2019. Photoshop, 2750 × 4175 px.

From PREVIEWSworld:

(W) Garth Ennis (A) Jacen Burrows (CA) Paolo Rivera
• The soul-chilling end of PUNISHER: SOVIET is here.
• Frank and Val have fought side-by-side against not only a Russian mob but also against the tide of history and these issues will make you see The Punisher (and possibly the world) differently than you do now.
Explicit Content

In Shops: Today!
SRP: $3.99


Holding my M-16 flashlight!


digital roughs


digital sketches