Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Bowl Me Over

Just finished the inks for the first episode of Banned Across the Universe.

Some of these inks may be a little scrappy, but I've had a touch of RSI in my thumb over the last couple of weeks and that considered, I'm not that unhappy with the finished art.

This page, and I don't think it gives too much away, shows the main characters, in situ at the Hollywood Bowl. Now, really, to the unbiased eye, was this worth the effort involved?

The Bowl does appear another couple of times to similar effect in the strip, but still, I don't think you'd know what I went through!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Final Frontier

I painted this over the weekend. Yup, paint, real life, real world, good old acrylic paint.

A much needed rest from the computer it was too!
Not exactly relaxation from the recent workload as I do need some space backgrounds for Banned Across the Universe (the strip I'm doing with John Freeman). Which, if you missed the official announcement, is being released as part of ROK comics expanded audio comics range.

No toothbrush, no photoshop (other than scanning and levels), all hand-painted. Actual dimensions 650mm x 500mm.

It didn't need to be in colour, as the strip itself will be coloured by my old pal Matt Soffe. BUT, as with most everything else to do with Banned Across the Universe, I got carried away, as will be seen in the coming months!

Finally, I'm also delighted that another old pal of mine, Jim Campbell will be rounding out the team on lettering duties!

Did I mention that I am excited about this project?

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Hollywood Bowl in Sketchup

For reasons I'd rather not dwell on right now, I needed to build a sketchup replica of the Hollywood Bowl this week... well, almost a replica - this was to be a future version...

In order to replicate some photographs, I needed to be fairly accurate. So first I did a search for the overall dimensions, which are, according to the article I found, 60' x 130' for the largest truss.

During the search, luckily I found this satellite view of the Hollywood Bowl, courtesy of the USGS (United States Geological Survey).

I imported the satellite image into sketchup, and from the very blurry image made some guesses as to the sizes of things, based mainly on that one dimension I had, and some other images from wikipedia to get a sense of the proportion of things.

Once I'd laid out the rough geometry of it, I was clear to start building the main elements. Initially I tried a couple of inner 'fin' versions but none were quite right.
Even though I was working at full size, I couldn't fit enough of them in, so my Hollywood Bowl (one of the future by the way!) has fewer fins than the real one.

For me, one of the most useful tools in sketchup for creating interesting and difficult shapes is the "follow me" tool. Define a flat shape, create a path and drag the flat shape along it to create your complex 3D object.

The seating in the amphitheatre would be impossible to create simply in sketchup without the "follow me" tool.

I added some simple 'tower' elements I'd already designed quickly. These were never intended to be particularly inventive or stylish, they were simply supposed to vary the look a little from the current Hollywood Bowl. Finally, I added the screens and some rough blocks to represent the surrounding buildings.

...only, I'd forgotten the darn lighting rig! Again, "follow me" was my friend in creating this element too.
Hooray! I have my own 3D posable Hollywood Bowl - I'll probably never need it again and in my opinion, you'd never know the trouble I went to from the artwork I've produced...

...having said that, the power of a having 3D environments that I can move, alter aspects of and change camera angles within makes my life a lot easier if I'm using something for multiple panels in a strip.
I think that I probably spend a little too much time in sketchup, creating objects and environments, but I'm never sorry when I can drop a complex object into my page layout and know I've got all the perspective correct... well, until I spoil it all by drawing the figures all wrong.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Itching to Tell

For the last couple of weeks or so, I've been hard at work designing all manner of characters and vehicles for a strip I'm doing for ROK comics with John Freeman.

It's probably not quite possible for me to express how excited I am about this project within the confines of a blog posting. It's also not really possible for me to go into too much detail about it just yet either.

I will however post more about it just as soon as I can!

In the meantime, here is a sneaky, sneaky, leaky, peeky at one of the ships I've designed.

This ship is called "The Flea" and will be a regular hang out of the characters in the strip. I've spent a bit of time in sketchup working on this for the basis of the repeated scenery/background I'll need for a lot of the panels.

This is a work in progress cross-section of the Flea and although it's looking quite spacious here, one of the characters is pretty large and I expect things to be extremely cramped in there... especially when there is cargo in the way too!

The tone and content of the strip is a lot of fun to be working on and I'm delighted to have been asked to develop this strip with John!