Drawing for Myself – Using Sketchup for My Settings

February 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

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!


7 Responses to “Drawing for Myself – Using Sketchup for My Settings”
  1. Demophon says:

    Awesome! I’ve got to spend some time with G sketchup. Looking rad!

    • Jerzy Drozd says:

      Thanks! Having used full-on CAD programs before (I think it was Form-Z), I can reassure you that Google Sketchup is pretty intuitive as a 3D drawing program. And there are lots of tutorials from the help menu should you get stuck.

  2. Really nice work.

    It’s funny, I’m sure a lot of people would say this is “cheating” since “you’re noy making this from scratch” which isn’t true. But I’m finding a weird sort of guilt in processes such as this in my own work.

    I’ll elaborate a little:

    I’m beginning work on pre-production of a graphic novel of my own and am planning on using a lot of 3D re-usable backgrounds and (here comes the weird guilt) 3D dummies for poses and spacial location in shots with complex perspective.

    I do kind of feel guilty about it, but, and here’s the funny thing, I’m really more of a 3D artist than a traditional illustrator, and “paint-overs” are a daily part of my work. So I have no idea where this guilt feeling is coming from. I guess old traditions die hard in even the more experimental of us.

  3. Victoria says:

    you guys are awesome

    (I am quickly overcoming my own guilt from doing tracings of my own drawings to expedite a project…!)

  4. Dan Burke says:

    Google sketch up is not cheating. Just like using a ruler as you said. Keep up the good work.