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#1 Kirok

 

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 04:31 AM

This thread will be a notebook of my attempts to re-learn the drawing skills i had as a teenager. I loved DC, and later Marvel, comics as a teenager - I still have all the original X-Men comics in the attic, if I'd never read them and bagged them straight away they'd be worth a fortune now! In Australia we used to get the direct imports and editions printed in Aus, the difference being that the domestic product were black & white line art on pulp paper, I've probably got some of them as well if they've survived.

Many is the Maths lesson I studiously copied favourite panels of Wolverine or Jean Grey (c'mon, I was sixteen, ok?) freehand in my notebook. I got pretty good, if I do say so myself, but I never got the hang of creating original work and once I left school the adult world expected me to buckle down and get serious so...

Fast forward forty years and everything has changed! Having kids made me realise that, in many ways, they've got the right idea - turn achievement into a game and it becomes enjoyable! Real men don't play games? Hah! Real men do anything they damn-well please within the bounds of the law and their obligations! So when I seriously looked at how to produce Trek Twelfth Night, I realised that it didn't fit into any of the media that I'd previously worked in and that perhaps it was time to dust off the old sketching skills!

Star Trek: Twelfth Night is meant to be a romantic comedy of errors - albeit a rather dark one in places - so the comedy needs to shine through. Comedy in audio drama is not impossible, there are dozens of examples from the days of radio, but the one that most readers here would probably identify with would be The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. But you have to write it into your script from the ground up, otherwise it doesn't works and the way I've written it, the humour is most often visual, making it unsuitable for an audio drama.

By the same token, I have written it to take advantage of the delivery of the actors.

Think about it - how often has the humour of a situation been totally dependent on an actors look, his intonation or body posture? My main memories of the humour of Trek's Original Series are Spock's raised eyebrow, Kirk getting smothered by Tribbles or "Its green!" How can you convey that in written fiction? Imagine trying to write the novelisation of Pirates of the Caribbean and conveying Johnny Depp's comedic performance, you can describe it, but can you deliver it with the same effect? No way!

So this leaves me with a screenplay and, let's face it, zero chance of it being performed! There are no video fan production groups in Australia - don't get me started on my thoughts on that subject! - and although I think its a good script I'm not confident I could pitch it to an overseas group. I could release it as a script - there are a few out there - but as I said it just wouldn't have the same effect in text.

In the course of doing some background study for Trek Twelfth Night I've found that there are some cute and amusing web comics out there that suit the type of humour I've been going for. Shakespeare's classic is about unlikely or forbidden love such as Olivia feels for Cesario/Viola and she for Duke Orsino. Its about what I call "the blush factor" as we see a girl (albeit unwittingly) putting the moves on another girl or a guy (actually a girl) getting doe-eyed over another guy. You don't know the story? It sounds pretty tame by today's standards. Watch it live or failing that borrow it on video, personally I liked the British version with Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham Carter...

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQIdfuROV7E"]http://www.youtube.c...h?v=yQIdfuROV7E[/url]

This is a long-winded way of saying that I've decided to try my hand at graphics to illustrate my screenplay which could ultimately lead to a graphic novel. The test case is a cover for the next issue of Acrux and, for your edification and hopefully to get a bit of dialog going, I'm detailing the steps I'm using to create it.

K

Latest releases !!! ~ March 11 - HFO Personal Logs 2 ~ March 19 - PD Smith-Tales From the Fleet 01 : Species 571 ~ March 11 - Bruffy-NovaTrek06 : A Tale Of Two Captains, Pt 2 ~
Kirok of L'Stok - Director of Media ..... "I love deadlines! I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!" - Douglas Adams

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#2 Kirok

 

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 12:03 PM

First problem: The composition! Everything has to start with an idea. What did I want to achieve with this cover? Primarily I want to show the two major proponents of the play - my Viola and Sebastian, Malcolm and Michelle Reed - but I want to develop on the Mirror Universe as the metaphor for the differences between them. In my browsing, I was particularly impressed, not only with Sean Tourangeau's art but the way he presented it as well, particularly his comic covers.

During the week, I jotted down some ideas for a cover in my moleskine...

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Unlike Sean's wraparound cover, this will be just a front cover and I want the title in heavy blocks, vertically on the left and right with the two main characters in the middle. The metaphor of the Mirror Universe will be reflected in the lettering by having "Twelfth" in white on black (the federation universe) and Night as black on white (the Mirror Universe).

I got my son to pose for some photos in the attitudes I visualised: casual but with arms crossed, the classic Reed pose, check out here, here and here! I copied and pasted the two I finalised on and reversed the one on the right (which will be Michelle Reed)...
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...yup, he's 17 and got side burns that Logan would be proud of!

I've been wanting to try my hand at digital artwork, so I used mtPaint (which came with my Linux installation on eeePC) to trace a line sketch based on each. This worked out well enough for an outline trace that I can use as a photo reference, but it convinced me that drawing with a mouse is going to be a right royal pain in the proverbial! This is the sketch...

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...which I put on my homemade lightbox, adding an Enterprise coverall as I did a second draft...

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This brought me to my second problem. Whilst the sketch was reasonably lifelike, it looked like Chris in an Enterprise uniform rather than Malcolm Reed! On top of that, although the proportions were lifelike, it wasn't effective for what I wanted. What I needed was to take some artistic license with reality! I had to make a decision about the style that I wanted to use on the drawing - Realistic? Artistic? Abstract? Comic or cartoon?

To be continued...

K

Latest releases !!! ~ March 11 - HFO Personal Logs 2 ~ March 19 - PD Smith-Tales From the Fleet 01 : Species 571 ~ March 11 - Bruffy-NovaTrek06 : A Tale Of Two Captains, Pt 2 ~
Kirok of L'Stok - Director of Media ..... "I love deadlines! I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!" - Douglas Adams

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#3 Bill

 

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 02:22 PM

Good start, I feel your frustration.
I always thought that when I got my first computers they would help me translate better the concepts from my brain into a more concrete form.

Well at least following your progress may re inspire me.







Life is a con
stant series of adaptations. and I am adapting as fast as I can!

#4 Kirok

 

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 09:52 AM

Good start, I feel your frustration.
I always thought that when I got my first computers they would help me translate better the concepts from my brain into a more concrete form.

Well at least following your progress may re inspire me.

Your computer is a great tool, that's for sure! You can record parts for an audio drama, mix them all together, add music and produce something that even ten years ago would have taken specialised HiFi equipment. You can add audio to music and make music videos, you can use it to edit video to make your own movies! (ok, you need a HD camera for that one but I'm working on it!) You can create animations from games or using sophisticated software at home and, so they tell me, you can create realistic graphics.

I wish I could do more of the graphics on the computer but without a graphics tablet you can only use a mouse and, whilst i haven't given up on that yet, it leaves me with a shakey line, as you can see from the above trace. I'm currently using a wired laser mouse, perhaps if I used a wireless laser mouse? Even better a small laptop mouse?

Until I crack that I'm going to use the 'puta to help me compose my graphics, using my own or stock photos, which I'm going to trace so that I can use that as a basis for a pencil sketch. I'm not sure yet about inking... I'll cross that bridge when I come to it!

One thing to remember is that not all the work you do has to be shown to the public - If this gives you ideas for doodling or trying something else, give it a go!

K

Latest releases !!! ~ March 11 - HFO Personal Logs 2 ~ March 19 - PD Smith-Tales From the Fleet 01 : Species 571 ~ March 11 - Bruffy-NovaTrek06 : A Tale Of Two Captains, Pt 2 ~
Kirok of L'Stok - Director of Media ..... "I love deadlines! I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!" - Douglas Adams

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#5 Kirok

 

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 10:55 AM

Now, I must admit that I'm looking seriously at doing some comic style work. I'm not prejudiced against Manga, its rapidly gaining credibility as an internationally recognisable comic publishing media, but as a cover it might not work. On the other hand it would be unrealistic of me to expect to do a masterpiece of realism as my first work back after 40 years on the sidelines! Whatever style I decide on I needed to do some research into anatomy and drawing the figure first and again I didn't have the time to invest into an extensive course on anatomy for the artist. What I need is a shortcut to drawing characters so I did some research into drawing for comics, working on the assumption that it will be streamlined to allow for quicker production. I wasn't disappointed.

Whether the finished comic style is western or Manga, the proportions of the human body remain the same. As anyone who has searched for Do It Yourself drawing tutorials on the web will know, there is no shortage of advice. If anything, there is too much and much of it is either contradictory or requires a certain degree of previous knowledge and experience. Take the discussion about the proportions of the body for example. The most common advise for beginners is to use the head as a base for working out the proportions of the rest of the body, but how many? I got advice ranging from six heads to eight heads!

The advice I settled on - and this is not to disparage other sources - was from 123-Bishoujo! Have a browse through his [?] tutorials. He is disparaging of his own work and advertises that his advise is for people with "no talent" - take that with a grain of salt! Whilst I agree that a firm series of guidelines and templates is of great value to a budding artist - of more use than vague and incomplete advise from more well established names - no amount of shortcuts will hand competent artwork to you on a plate!

I'll continue this tomorrow, gotta get to bed, got to be up at 03:30 in the morning

K

Latest releases !!! ~ March 11 - HFO Personal Logs 2 ~ March 19 - PD Smith-Tales From the Fleet 01 : Species 571 ~ March 11 - Bruffy-NovaTrek06 : A Tale Of Two Captains, Pt 2 ~
Kirok of L'Stok - Director of Media ..... "I love deadlines! I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!" - Douglas Adams

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#6 Kirok

 

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 09:07 AM

Where was I? Oh, yes, the wire frame or Stick-figures! I did a few test pieces, comparing the proportions from the 123-Bishoujo! website with different graphics and it really worked so I drew up a definitive template for my own use on my grid-lined Moleskine...

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Part of the reason why I have lost touch with my art over the last ten years has been because I stopped carrying a notebook. I always used to have a dog-eared notebook stuffed in my pocket or bag which was covered with notes, sketches, maps, essays, ideas, plans, book references... now-a-days most of this is carried in my phone, Mini Me (my eeePC notebook PC) and the portable hard drive I carry with me. However they are not good at catching a quick sketch or visualising a design

Early this year I got a couple of packs of Moleskine Cahiers, one blank, the other a square grid, which are by far the toughest notebooks I've ever come across with saddle stitching, heavy card covers and even a handy pocket in the back! I carry two notebooks, one squared and the other a grid, back-to-back, held together with two elastic bands. Add a 15cm (6") steel rule tucked into one of the back pockets, a fine point black and a pencil and I'm ready to carpe whatever the diem throws at me!

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K


Latest releases !!! ~ March 11 - HFO Personal Logs 2 ~ March 19 - PD Smith-Tales From the Fleet 01 : Species 571 ~ March 11 - Bruffy-NovaTrek06 : A Tale Of Two Captains, Pt 2 ~
Kirok of L'Stok - Director of Media ..... "I love deadlines! I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!" - Douglas Adams

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#7 Kirok

 

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 05:05 AM

So the cover graphic that I'm working on, now looks like this converted to a wire frame or stick figures...

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... ok, so this was done on my light box but you can see that the stick figure proportions really do work, right?

K


Latest releases !!! ~ March 11 - HFO Personal Logs 2 ~ March 19 - PD Smith-Tales From the Fleet 01 : Species 571 ~ March 11 - Bruffy-NovaTrek06 : A Tale Of Two Captains, Pt 2 ~
Kirok of L'Stok - Director of Media ..... "I love deadlines! I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!" - Douglas Adams

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#8 Kirok

 

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 07:14 AM

So where does that leave me? Well, I must admit the stick figure breakdown off my composition looks pretty good, next I need to put skin and clothes on it.

One of the things that always evaded me when I tried to draw my own comics, or to copy the work of others, was consistency - being able to draw a face or figure the same way, every time so that it could be recognised as a specific character. One of the ways that professionals solve this is to draw their characters so that they have unique and often exaggerated features. It could be Dick Tracy's eyes and jaw, Marvin The Martian's 'billiard ball' head, a super hero's costume or a character's hair style, uniform or racial type. To make sure that they recreate those features the same way every time, they usually do a character reference sheet which defines what it is about the character that is unique and so that they can be compared with others, they are ussually drawn in standard poses with notes accentuating the points that make them different.

In my case, I have set myself a bit of a challenge because the uniform of Star Trek: Enterprise is not something that makes it easy to differentiate between crew members. This is an early draft of my character reference sheet for the Mirror Universe Jonathan Archer...

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The readers of this thread who are awake might wonder why I am doing Archer when he is not on the cover. Its quite simply because I'm lazy and the Federation universe Malcolm Reed does not appear in the act one at all, so I won't be needing to draw a Federation universe uniform again for a while yet! This works as a character reference sheet for Malcolm Reed's body since the Mirror universe Starfleet uniform is the Federation Starfleet uniform with additions. This is my first pencil sketch of the Malcolm Reed half of the cover...

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Heads and hands? They are a specialised problem which I'll be facing later.

K

Latest releases !!! ~ March 11 - HFO Personal Logs 2 ~ March 19 - PD Smith-Tales From the Fleet 01 : Species 571 ~ March 11 - Bruffy-NovaTrek06 : A Tale Of Two Captains, Pt 2 ~
Kirok of L'Stok - Director of Media ..... "I love deadlines! I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!" - Douglas Adams

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#9 Kirok

 

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 12:30 PM

After a similar Character Reference sheet for Michelle Reed, I came up with the following final pencils for the bodies of the cover...

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... You'll notice that I've chosen to show her without the flak jacket, or the equipment belt - At the moment I'm trying to keep the accessories to the minimum so that I can make the most of the slight and subtle differences I'm making between the two to hint at the difference.

What's the difference? Vive la difference!

K


Latest releases !!! ~ March 11 - HFO Personal Logs 2 ~ March 19 - PD Smith-Tales From the Fleet 01 : Species 571 ~ March 11 - Bruffy-NovaTrek06 : A Tale Of Two Captains, Pt 2 ~
Kirok of L'Stok - Director of Media ..... "I love deadlines! I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!" - Douglas Adams

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#10 SECTI0N31

 

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 10:35 AM

I have the same problem. I can draw fine on paper, but using my graphics tablet and pen doesnt have the same result. Its not bad. I'd sugggest using adobe illustrator. I haven't used it personally but it works very similar to adobe flash. Theres 100s of videos on youtube. I like flash becuase I can draw with a selection of tools or free hand. Or I can use the line tool and then alter the lines and snap them together. This is how I created the TNG Quogs.

I have a friend who uses Corel. I have no experience of this even thoguh i got the software free with my tablet. I recommend a tablet if you haven't got one. Its so much better than a mouse that I can hardly remember illustrating before having a tablet.
Check out the awesome trailer for Ztar Trek: The Next Constipation HERE
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#11 Kirok

 

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 06:30 AM

I have no experience of this even thoguh i got the software free with my tablet. I recommend a tablet if you haven't got one. Its so much better than a mouse that I can hardly remember illustrating before having a tablet.


:wave:Hi Section31!!

I would dearly love to get a tablet! From what I've read though you are in a Catch 22 situation - the cheaper ones aren't much good and the expensive ones are too expensive for me. I've found that a light wireless mouse isn't too bad, but it still doesn't have the intuitive feel of a pen. I've done some more on this but I'm a bit busy with another project this month to put it up.

One interesting challenge I'm going to have is drawing Michelle - a female who masquerades as the Mirror Universe Malcolm Reed! Reed's face is anything but feminine!

Just out of curiosity: can you import graphics you do in another software package into Flash?

K

Latest releases !!! ~ March 11 - HFO Personal Logs 2 ~ March 19 - PD Smith-Tales From the Fleet 01 : Species 571 ~ March 11 - Bruffy-NovaTrek06 : A Tale Of Two Captains, Pt 2 ~
Kirok of L'Stok - Director of Media ..... "I love deadlines! I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!" - Douglas Adams

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