Drawing for Myself – Using Sketchup for My Settings
Working hard on the new Front comic, entitled Petty Dreadful, and one of the pre-production items I need to take on is the main setting for the story, the MNSA (Multi National Security Agency) headquarters. Like another comic I worked on a few years back, Switch Runners, I plan on making some digital paintings of background elements that can be re-used here and there in the comic. A lot like how traditional animation is done. By front-ending this work, I’m cutting down on a lot of production that will need to happen in the later pages.
I started with the sketch of the building in my thumbnails:
And while I’ve never backed away from a difficult perspective piece, I realized that this particular building would be pretty time consuming to take on in multiple panels. So I opted to build the thing in Google Sketchup, a free and relatively intuitive 3D drawing program:
Once I set the perspective how I wanted it, I exported the image as a TIFF file, opened it up in Photoshop and converted it to blue lines. Here’s a video on how I do that:
I printed the blue lines out on bristol, then inked them with my Rapidograph pens. Here are the inks, mistakes and all:
Then I scanned the inks into Photoshop, and using the BPelt plugin I made short work of flatting them.
Now I plan to paint the building using some of the techniques Brandon Dayton taught me during Comics Are Great! episode 41. Once I have this painting complete, I’ll be able to re-use it throughout the comic (where appropriate) and make it look unique through different minor edits and layer adjustments.
But since this building is now a 3D model, I can easily rotate it to whatever view the story calls for, and go through the same process.
Some kind folks pointed out to me that I could import my 3D model into Manga Studio for digital inking, and I thought about it, but I finally opted for hand inking. Not only am I used to it, but I think it’ll add that last little bit of analogue imperfection that I like in my work.
Looking forward to painting this!