Drawing for Myself – Painting the MNSA Building

February 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

Last time I showed how I used Google Sketchup to build a 3D model of a major setting in my upcoming Front comic, Petty Dreadful. Today I took on the next step, coloring the image in Photoshop:

It’s not quite done yet, but it’s coming along. Trying out some of the painting techniques Brandon Dayton showed me during his demo on Comics Are Great! 41. The sky and mountains are each painted on their own layer. I used a variety of chalk brushes built into Photoshop.

Here comes the neat part. With a few Adjustment Layers, I’m able to take this setting into the middle of the night without having to change any art (well, I did add some stars):

Same art, just used some Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers with Clipping Masks on each element. I also touched up the masks on the Adjustment Layers with the Chalk Brushes a bit.

With this major set piece almost done, I’m poised to start penciling the comic! I’ll share the progress and process as I push through it.


9 Responses to “Drawing for Myself – Painting the MNSA Building”
  1. Victoria says:

    YAHHHH!!! Your posts are kicking me in the gut! (in a good way) I had thought about doing some mock-ups and stuff in Sketchup to help me with perspective…I love what you are doing. And this is really lovely. So many good tips!

    • Jerzy Drozd says:

      Oh, thanks! I’m glad the posts are useful. Going to try to document as much of the process as I can while I work on this comic. The privilege of doing a creator-owned book is you can share as much of the pre-production as you want!

      Time permitting, I may do some live streams of the work so people can actually see how I’m doing this stuff.

      • Victoria says:

        I’m totally digging your process work.

        • Jerzy Drozd says:

          Then I will keep posting it! 🙂

          • Victoria says:

            I have to thank you and all the other artists who have this ability to talk, teach, and draw at the same time. It’s something I can’t do with any efficacy. Also to fold in mentoring by way of posts and podcasts, tutorials, live cams or whatever, on top of your heavy work load?! Aces!

  2. Rene says:

    I don’t want to be a negative nelly here, but you can only take shortcuts if you understand the subject thoroughly. I know Jerzy does with perspective, but if you use Sketchup because you don’t understand how perspective works or how to render it successfully, you are going to run into problems some time in the future. There is no quick fix for knowledge and understanding. I think it is prudent that you study and practice the subject thoroughly first. Only then you could try to cut corners, and use your hard-earned expertise on the subject to decide if the result is “passable.”

  3. Victoria says:

    I agree: there is no substitute for close observation, drawing from life, and lots of practice. SketchUp is something I’ve seen used and it occurred to me that it could be one more tool in my toolbox. I think it’d be really cool.

    I think if you knew me you wouldn’t assume that I’m trying to take the easy way out or that I’m thinking of this as a ‘quick fix’.

    Of course, if you have a magic wand…….. 😉

  4. Jerzy Drozd says:

    It’s also possible that, even without a deep understanding of perspective, a tool like Google Sketchup might help a developing cartoonist get a more intuitive grasp of the subject. One of the most difficult skills to develop in cartooning is learning to turn 3-dimensional objects around in your mind, and if playing with Sketchup helps foster that skill, then it’s not only NOT a cheat, it’s a very useful learning tool. There’s more than one way to learn any subject.

    And again, it’s about storytelling first, regardless of tools or illustration skill. A good movie director might not know how to draw proper perspective, but he or she can identify a shot that tells the story effectively.

    • Victoria says:

      Thank you for articulating what I was thinking, Jerzy! At first I was riffling through my drawers looking for some Sculpey, and considered asking around for PlayDoh or buying some, so I could make little models of the characters I am drawing. I was experiencing that very thing: difficulty in turning them around in my mind so I could draw them from different angles. Soon after that a friend who is a builder, sculptor, woodworker and 2D artist came over and showed me what she’d been doing in Sketchup. That’s when the light bulb came on and I thought it would be useful for me to learn this application.