I teach an online workshop.
If you are interested in learning more about drawing and comics: my Drawing for Comics course over at CG Workshops (run by CG Society) is aimed at people who already have a basic understanding of drawing and digital art, but are interested in getting their work to the next level:
Check out this trailer video for info on the course and some examples of the demo's included.
The basic outline of the course is that I will go over my techniques for thumbnailing, construction drawing, inking, and colouring, as well as painting backgrounds and adding final touches.
Over 8 weeks you will complete two main projects, I will take you through the same process twice, adding some complexity as we go. once for a simple illustration to get to grips with the material, and in the second half of the course we will work on a second project which can be larger in scope, either a complete comic page, or a complex illustration where you will learn to focus on the story in your image, and work with background elements.
For both projects, and in general, I encourage everyone to work towards getting to the next level, so if you are already quite advanced as an artist I will push you harder and encourage you to work on your weaknesses. You will take on projects aimed to challenge your abilities.
If you are starting out and just want to learn some basic techniques then we can simple focus on choosing a simple project each time so you can get to grips with the fundamental processes I will be going over.
I am a big fan of ‘completing an art cycle’ and I think the most important thing we can do to improve, is to start and finish a piece, and then move on to the next. Making sure that each image we start is a good challenge. One that will push us a little, but still be fun and end with a nice result.
The course is through CG Society who are a well established company in the digital art space. They are managed by Ballistic Media who publish famous books like Expose. They have been running online workshops for years and have a proven system for delivering training content.
Over the duration of the course each week you will get access to new video tutorials and assignments. As well as a forum to discuss and ask questions. Once you have completed the assignment you can upload them to the forum and I will give feedback. I run a weekly Webinar that goes for at least 2 hours where I paint over everyone’s work and offer suggestions relating to that week’s assignment. As well as answer questions and give extra demos etc.
One of the great aspects of a course like this is you also get to chat with other people who are talking the course and help give feedback or comments on each other’s work. Either on the forums or by chatting in the Webinar. It’s a good way to stay motivated and work towards completing all the assignments.
During the course we focus on 3 main things…
- 1 - Finding and developing your own style.
One of the challenges with comic books; is that there are so many styles and options you can use to create compelling stories.
Who is to say what 'good' drawing or what a 'good' style is when it comes to comics? It is difficult to be objective here and find compelling answers that apply to everyone. The answer is to align your goals artistically with your learning. And to be aware of where you want to go stylistically.
I have tried to do this in my own work over the years, and I have designed the course so that we are always focusing on how to improve your work and move it towards the style and feel you are passionate about.
When I teach fundamental aspects of drawing I try to come at it from an angle that will help and develop all styles. Be it something hyper realistic, exaggerated and extreme, or cartoony. Or (as is often the case) a subtle mix of many varied influences.
There are important aspects of drawing such as knowing how to represent people and everyday objects (be they of fantastical or mundane nature) Or how to design something from our imagination. No matter what style you choose, all of these things are going to be vital. And there are many techniques for improving these aspects of our work that transcend style or surface.
The course aims to find out how you want your art to look, and to point you in the right direction to develop that style. As well as how to use and keep things consistent in complex illustrations or comic pages. Where blending characters and environment together in a cohesive way is important.
- 2 - Storytelling
In comics; storytelling is everything.
Although I think storytelling is one of the most important parts of any art. After all, what else are we really trying to do if not communicate ‘something’? In comics it is even more important.
You can think of storytelling in the classical sense. As a story… As in; to tell a story that has a beginning middle and end. But often storytelling is even more fundamental than that.
Every choice you make, from selecting the right camera angle, drawing a background, choosing the right facial expression, selecting a particular composition, placing elements of our scene in a particular sequence to catch the eye. As well as including or excluding elements from any particular scene. All of these choices (and many more) can powerfully affect the way an image is perceived. All of them can be used to create the specific emotion you want to convey.
During the course I’ll focus on improving what you are trying to say with your particular images. Be it in terms of style, or subtle emotion, or simply what is happening.
I will go through different ways to develop your ideas and find interesting compositions. Sometimes this can be going through a big session of thumbnailing out ideas and getting to that one specific shot you have been imagining all along. And sometimes it can be a matter of having to communicate something very simple in a comic panel, but doing so simply and quickly.
Being clear about what we are trying to convey is, I think, one of the most important aspects of creating good images.
- 3 - Process
Due to the sheer volume of drawing involved in creating comics; having a good process is important. It helps with consistency, so that characters and colour schemes look the same from panel to panel. As well as helping you build up speed and efficiency, to get more story done.
I am a bit of a process junky. I think understanding your own process gives you a lot of power, and it’s a great way to gain confidence with estimating your workload.
During the course I’ll talk about my experiences drawing comics, and share some tips for breaking down your illustrations and pages into simple steps.
I’ll go into the photoshop trickery I use to speed up things like colouring and storyboarding.
As well as how to mentally break things down from start to finish. And at what point to think about things like: story, composition, perspective, form, anatomy, colour, and solid drawing.
Improving this aspect of creating art is one of the keys to gaining control over your projects. Helping things get done faster and better.
Check out some of the images from the course. These are explained from start to finish via recorded demonstrations over the 8 weeks.