Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Doom Patrol sketch, issue 13 page 2

It is astonishing to me how completely Seth planned everything out in his mind before he began to draw the pages. That is probably not quite true; he probably did other preliminary sketches that didn't get saved. But not many.
In these pages though, the final is so much like the sketch that there doesn't seem to have been much in the way of working out of setting or placement of figures on paper. Even the tattoos and the clothing were not afterthoughts. (The kanji on the guy's black shirt, by the way, reads "heaven".) It is interesting to me that the only significant changes seem to be in the bottom panel, where the setting and perspective are entirely the same, but the position of the characters is different. In other words, Seth planned the perspective and view, and put the characters in afterwards.
He didn't always work that way. He wrote about his method of drawing in an essay he did on perspective in about 1999. Here is what he said:
I sketch the scene from a bunch of different angles in my sketch book. Some people can also close their eyes and imagine the scene and sort of zoom in and out and around, like on an expensive CADD (computer aided drafting and design) program, but some people can't. It is a great ability to cultivate, though, and it gets better with practice. Either way you need to kind of get the feel for what type of scene you want. You need to decide if the characters' positions are more important or if the background information and setting is more important. It will hopefully vary from scene to scene. Whichever is more important you sketch in first. If you have a really great pose of a guy sitting down, and it is central to the piece, then you might design a piece of furniture and even a whole room around that one person. The more logical way is to draw the setting first then put in the characters second so that you can be sure you have strong figure-ground relationships (i.e., no one seems to be "floating" above the floor if they're not supposed to). In fact, I think that most comic artists draw in the characters first, though with me it's about 50/50.

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