When I’m drawing close-up on the page and I’ve zoomed in really far to see close-up, I lose the ability to see the full page at the same time.
I need to see how what I am drawing affects the entire composition. Without having to zoom out and then back in to finish what I am doing I use this time-saving little tip…
I open the file I am working on and draw from afar with the whole page in my sight. When I need to zoom in I open the file again and reduce both documents on my screen so I can see them at the same time.
With one image close-up and the other image zoomed out I can draw looking at the zoomed out and checking my line quality on the close-up or vice-versa.
It works great and saves time by not zooming in and out.
Now that my Iron Man Hypervelocity series is shipping from Marvel I’ll be able to show you some of the new tricks and techniques I’ve deleloped.
As a recap to some new folks who have linked to this blog, I’m showing how I have used Adobe Illustrator 10 to draw comic books. I draw directly in the program using a Wacom Intuos 2 on a PC. The best way to get the most out of this blog is to start from the beginning lesson. I cover all the basic things you need to do from the get-go to get up to speed using Illustrator. I cover all the tools and palette options that I use while drawing in Illustrator.
I’ve also stuck with Illustrator 10 for the most part because the pencil tool is better there than in later versions. It’s in wider circulation than the newer programs and won’t cost you a lot of money to get if you don’t own Illustrator already. I’m sure you can find cheap versions of Illustrator 10 on eBay.
While I’ve been drawing Iron Man:Hypervelocity for Marvel during the past year I’ve found a need to draw tons of speedlines in many different directions. There are many ways to create speedlines.
Here I’ll show you a really quick and simple way.
I created a new Adobe Illustrator brush set based on old Kirby Krackles from the comics.
They work really great and will save you a lot of time. It used to take hours lining the paper with dots to create energy patterns. But now with the Illustrator brush set you can do a whole page within seconds.
Here is the link to my devianArt page where you can download the brush set.
To use it in Illustrator go to WINDOW>OTHER BRUSH LIBRARIES and find the file on your computer.
To modify the brushes to your liking just open the file like a regular Illustrator file. They work in Illustrator 10 but may be able to be used for CS or CS2.
I hope you like it!
HERE IS THE FILE–
This will be a quick lesson with no pictures. Sorry. I know I can’t read anything without pictures so I hope you’ll bare with me.
I have been working with a better layer structure by using CLIPPING MASKS. It really helps to keep everything more organized.
SO—as I start work on my new pages I indicate where my panels will go. I block the gutters on the top layer by using black boxes all the same width. Just to be different than the average bear I put a 2pt. White Stroke in the middle of the black bars. I’m all for comics with black gutters, but when I am using a lot of black in the panels already, the panels and the gutters will run into each other and be too hard to see what’s going on. I got that tip from Jim Shooter at Comic-Con a couple of years back. That’s where I started putting the white line in to seperate the panels. Most of the ELSINORE work I did has the white line between the panels. Look at the work on www.briandenham.com to see the Elsinore stuff.
With my gutters indicated I now create my CLIPPING MASKS for each panel.
I start a new LAYER for each panel. I use the MARQUEE tool to draw a box in the shape of the panels. If the panels are odd shape I use the WHITE ARROW (direct selection tool) to grab the points and duplicate the shape of the panels. Then at the bottom of the LAYERS PALETTE I click the CREATE CLIPPING MASKS button and this makes my shape turn into a CLIPPING MASK.
—What the heck is a clipping mask? Well it’s a hole in the universe that allows us to see all of the art in the hole but nothing outside the shape of the hole. So once the clipping mask is created on a SUB-LAYER I lock that Sub-layer so we won’t mess with it again. Then I create a bunch of new Sub-Layers on this main PANEL LAYER and keep all of the art for this panel in those other Sub-Layers.
When I am ready to draw a new panel I got an do the same steps for that panel. Now I have a Layers just named P1 for PANEL 1 and keep all of the art for that layer there. P2 and so on for each panel.
I can’t believe how much of a benefit this is to keep everything in it’s place. I had to go back to do corrections on Iron Man 1 and I was amazed at how messed up I had all of my layers. It was so hard to find stuff when some of the layers were named 157. LOL
Pays to get organized.
So now all of my pages have the layers organized this way. If I have anything else I need in an exact shape I will create a new Layer and use a clipping mask for the shapes. Like I drew a jet with specific speedlines on the shadow areas of the jet. I drew all of my shadows out and created a clipping mask for them. I then drew the speed lines and placed them in the clipping mask and they only showed up where the clipping mask was. This was important for this specific effect because the area behind the jet had a different set of speedlines in the opposite direction. If I did it any other way the speedlines would overlap or I would have had to cut the ends of the speedlines off and that would take way too long.
I got this great new Plug-In for Illustrator 10. It’s called ISOMETRIC LINE TOOL and it’s available at the link below.
The programmer who designed it used it for building train track plans. I downloaded it along with everything on his site. I didn’t think I would use it SO I made myself play around with it so I knew WHY I wouldn’t.
Well, that did not work out because after the first 10 lines my brilliant strategic mind told me to design building facades with it and them use the FREE TRANSFORM tool to shape the buildings into perspective.
The top picture is black and white is how the Iso plug-in drew straight lines at right angles wherever I laid them down.
The light blue is on a layer below my buildings and it’s used to block out the background. On the page I would color it white to blend with the page.
The darker blue color is on a layer below where I drew out the backsides of the buildings after I stretched them into perspective.
What a dream come true this is because I really love adding detailed realistic backgrounds but I hate making grids and then erasing them and all of that. Now I don’t have to.
Why is anyone using PAPER?! This plug-in is fantastic as well as everything on this site… http://rj-graffix.com/software/plugins.html#IsoLineTool
I also spent last weekend (my Birthday) downloading a ton of Plug-INs for Illustrator. One dream Plug-In allows me to quickly make speedlines and more. That Plug-in alone is worth all the money I spent on every single plug-in I bought.
I can’t wait to show you what I have been up to. I’m leaving notes on all my Iron Man pages so after the books come out I can show you waht I was doing…and so I can remember. LOL
I’ll get to that promised COMPUTER TERMINAL tutorial as soon as I can.
WOW! I still can not get over the new feature I’ve been playing around with in the previous post. I don’t think I have drawn a page yet since discovering this little gem without using it on each page.
One problem I have had working from Adam Warren’s layouts for my Iron Man book is to create brush like speed lines and motion blurs like Adam does. Problem solved!
Here’s what I do.
Create a CIRCLE. Any size will do. Hit the E button and hold the CTRL (on a PC) and stretch that circle to a real long shape. Now hit the E button again and shrink it down to a smaller size. Now repeat the stretching process again and shrink it down again. Now you have a really long ellipse. THAT LOOKS LIKE IT WAS MADE WITH A BRUSH!
Duplicate these but shrink some even smaller and place them right next to the large ones. This makes a really cool combination. Once you have a whole stack of them you can select “e” again and hold CTRL to stretch these brush looking speed lines into a perspective. I did it in the background behind a race car and it looks great.
I also duplicated these once they were in perspective and shrank them down even more. I colored them white on a black background and it created a “spacewarp” effect like in Star Wars or Star Trek.
I’ve also created one slightly bent line to match the perspective of a curved street. Then I duplicated that line into about 20 lines on top of each other. keeping them really close together, by the way. I used the “e” and CTRL to distort them. Once they started to distort they kept the curved shape but did it IN PERSPECTIVE. I just laid it down on top of my street scene and it looked like speed lines with a french curve. Something that would have taken a long time by hand was done in a few seconds with this feature!
A NOTE ABOUT LAYERING–
When I drew the street scene I had my street and background buildings on one layer. Above that layer were my curved speed lines. Above that layer was a layer I call WHITEOUT, which I use for small white dots and street cracks to break up the speedlines. Above that layer was the shadow of my car, including the wheelwell Above that layer was the rims of the car’s wheels. I did the rims with circles and then distort them, (Again using the “e” CTRL but holding down SHIFT as well to keep the distortions horizontal line straight with the other side.) The rims I am using on every page that the car appears on and just distort it to match the perspective of the car! The layer above that has the body of the car and the layer above that has the shines and white dots of streetlights on the glass.
Pretty cool feature! I can’t believe how much I use it now and how much I wish I knew it a long time ago!
ta-Da! A new tutorial entry. yeah!
The picture to the left is a way to make bricks in perspective, but if you just need grid lines follow along…
PERSPECTIVE GRID LINES
1.-Draw one line. Make a copy on that line directly under it by Holding ALT (on a PC) and pulling it down.
2.-Keep it selected and hold CTRL+D and everytime you hit “D” it will duplicate the line as many times as you need.
3.-After you have as many lines as needed select all of them with the BLACK ARROW (Direct Selection Tool) , PRESS THE “E” KEY, and hold CTRL and pull them anyway you need perspective lines.
4.-Duplicate steps 1-3 and make new lines in perspective going the opposite direction. You will then have a criss-crossed, “x” shape pattern great for using for perspective guidelines in the background.
Pro artists don’t always draw perspective lines all the way to the horizon line. You need only have some criss-cross for your panel.
Here is a shot of how to make a picture out of some bricks. This spacewalk shot took less than 10 minutes. The squares were WHITE FILL and BLACK STROKE. The background was a black square on a lower layer. The lines in the back were created with my new buddy; the DASHED LINE.
Next time, I will show you how to make some crazy computer terminals with that little gem!
This is a really great way to create rain or power effects or some really cool speed-lines.
Step 1.) Grab a brush with a thick middle and thin edges and quickly touch the screen in a pattern that makes some cool lines like in the picture. Under the Step 1 title you can see what the brush looked like by itself.
Now SELECT them all with the BLACK ARROW(Area Selection Tool.) then go into the MENU bar at the top of the screen and select OBJECT>EXPAND APPEARANCE this converts the brush lines into solid objects that Superman can look through. While you are there in the OBJECT menu go ahead and GROUP the brush lines.
Step 2.) On a new LAYER above the speed lines you just made draw a MARQUEE like the one shown. What we will do here is chop off the top of the speed lines to place them inside a panel.
Step 3.) With the ol’ Black Arrow select the brush lines and the Marquee and go into the PATHFINDER menu and select SUBTRACT FRONT. This subtracts the shape of the Marquee we made from anything under it, hence the name SUBTRACT FRONT.
Now we have this really cool Speed Line look with a straight edge that we can place against the panels edge.
If you really want to add some sweetness to this effect you can grab the splatter looking default BRUSH and a WHITE STROKE and splatter some white over the tips of the lines. It really looks cool!
Here is a Close-Up of the SUBTRACT FRONT tool in the PATHFINDER PALLETTE. It’s the one with the handsome Red Circle surrounding it’s little picture.
This effect works really well in Illustrator 10 as well as Illustrator CS2.
Here is my finished picture of the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing.
I had to get rid of the BRUSH effects on this page because it slowed my computer down to much.
So I went it with the PENCIL and A GRAY FILL and STROKE to make the shading effects.
I did the dark Gray on one layer and the lighter gray on the layer UNDER the dark one. This really gives the impression of smooth shading.
I also created little light grey lines around the shading areas to make it look like I used a real brush and the hairs created some random Happy Accidents.
Once I created the black background I saw that the Thing didn’t pop out as much as he did against the white background. To correct this I created a small white line around most of his rocky outline. This helps pop him out of the page and away from his background.
I then added white dots to make it look like rocky debris was falling off from him as he moved and the rocks grinded together. That little extra attention to detail really pays off.