I know I’m supposed to post more often, but I’ve actually been working on projects recently and I didn’t want to share until I was finished.
I was surprised to be asked by a cousin of mine to help him with his family’s Christmas card this year. I was quite nervous about the challenge, but I was eager to see what I would do. I didn’t think I was qualified to do anything for anyone else (my opinion of my work drops by the day), but for selfish reasons, I wanted to give it a shot.
The clear instructions really helped, as I was basically given a description of each panel and what had to be happening. Over the first few days, I just copied photographs, trying to familiarize myself with faces, and then I started sketching out the panels at about 1.25 times the size so I could work a little bigger, but still get a good idea of what the print might actually look like at its final size. Sketches were approved and I went on to final, tighter drawings and then, decided the drawings would look much better if inked and then pencil lines erased. I utilized a free and easy to use comic software called Comic Life and imported all of the panels, and typed in the text boxes.
Here were the final inked panels, all (except the first one) is on about 3.5x 4.5 inch boxes with Faber Castell Pitt pens.
A couple things I relearned and remembered during this short project were:
1. think about the intent of the project. If I’m working on a cute Christmas card, I shouldn’t try to show off how dynamic a pose I can create, but rather on what makes the most appealing pose.
2. think before drawing. Any good ideas about props in the room help enormously with story telling and help us believe in this tiny environment we’re setting up.
3. consider size. After I produced a first draft, I realized that some of the panels were TOO busy, especially for only being about 21/2 by 3 inches. I need to make the image more simple for reproduction that small.
Some things I’m happy with/not happy with:
1. the level of fun I had doing this. I have rarely had the chance to enjoy drawing as much as I did on this project. While I’m not 100 percent happy about the results, I can’t argue with the experience I had doing it.
2. I set up schedules for myself and made deadlines
3. some of the hands and faces are pretty decent. And I was particularly happy with how I handled the boots on the Ava panel where she’s resting in a beanie bag. Most of the posing I think is pretty good. I wish I could push the faces more, but it was hard to take liberties and maintain resemblance. I just wish I could draw for once!!
4. for the first time, I thought I sought out and used reference a little. I wanted to draw varied costumes, I wanted to look at what a stadium actually looked like structurally, I looked up images of cameras, iPads, books, holly, fireplaces, pretty much every thing that shows up. I rarely copied anything, but I did want to avoid making things up.
5. I think I could have done different things with the hatching, like on the couch and the car. I’m still debating whether I should have filled the doorframe on the final panel with hatching.
If I managed to draw these girls even half as cute as they are, I think I’ve done a decent job. It was a joy to draw for this and I’m proud of some of the work I did on it.