It’s no surprise that comic book conventions are about super-heroes, in America at least. When I do commission drawings sitting at a comic book convention (maybe at the Monster Enterprises booth or at a four-foot tablette on artist alley), I get to draw a lot of super-heroes.
The demographic of folks who want to spend good money on a commission of their favorite characters tend NOT to be eight year-olds who REALLY love Ben 10. Rather they are older readers who want to celebrate their nostalgic fondness of characters from silver age (1960s) to 1990s. Luckily, I like that stuff too, so most of those commissions I can do from memory.
Although my memory is not photographic, I do retain much from doing just one drawing of every new character or costume design. So this represents me practicing*, the first in a series I started this year with the following calculated benefits:
1. Practice drawing new characters and maybe new costumes.
2. Practice inking with ink and brush, sometimes as a warm up to inking a page for my comic book.
3. Use for those packs of comic book backing boards I bought**.
4. Practice using colored markers.
5. The marker colored (below) pieces I can sell at comic conventions. As an unknown artist, it helps to have a portfolio for folks to flip through, and sales-wise, having stock for “quick sale” is good.
6. Maybe stuff to post on monotonae.
7. After a couple of dozen, I can assemble and print them in sketch books, book which I can sell at conventions.
Scarlet red pencil, black India Ink and marker on board.
17.15 cm x 26.67 cm (6.75 in. x 10.50 in.)
* This is what I did with with the Disney pantheon of characters up
through the 1990s when I worked for Disney. I can still whether through a session of “stump
the artist” when it comes to Disney characters.
** At my first comic convention, I discovered that colored pencils barely showed and marker based inks wouldn’t be taken fast to the coating on the face of the boards I had purchased, backing board commissions slipped into protective comic book bags was my whole plan for doing commissions. I was fortunate in that the reverse was not coated, and that was the side on which I drew. The subsequent re-stockings of backing board, actually resulted in a stock of a couple of packs with boards coated on both sides.
Here I present the last six pages of twelve of a “Tuff-Girl” feature to appear in issue number two of Unstoppable Tuff-Girl, each from thumbnail sketch to rough draft layout.
Page 7: Although not scripted, there are numerous little things about the costumes that I have to track from panel to panel. As the story progresses for example, Tuff-Girl loses her jacket and skirt. With the eight cheerleaders, their uniforms get torn in various states. Then I complicate things further by returning Doctor Dockter’s hat not present in the first rough layout.
Page 8: The change in panel three to have Tuff-Girl struck across the face rather than being socked in the gut was to better carry off their size differences. As a result, space opened up for the sound effect.
Page 9: Panels 1 and 2 are actually four panels, and I sure hope is reads that way in the final book. I had toyed with the idea of making it two-halves of a single long panel. The other complication of my own devising, is keeping track of the cheerleaders. In the script, the cheerleaders are generic. I wanted to avoid having cheerleaders recovering too soon in a panel right after Tuff-Girl knocks her down in a prior panel.
Page 10: By the fifth panel, the story unavoidably addresses the audience space in the auditorium. Here I opted with empty seats to suggest that most of the spectators have run off for fear of being hit by a stray pom pom or something.
Panel 11: Finalizing Tuff-Girl in profile in panel 2, makes Dr. Dockter more of an incidental and less another participant when it’s about Tuff-Girl talking down the cheerleaders. I think in panel 3, I got tired of panels with eight girls standing around. I don’t know if it was the right decision. With panel 5, I make use of a common comic layout device, silhouettes. A panel of silhouettes, breaks up the page layout, and works because the surrounding panels contain the same characters without all the visual details.
Panel 12: I changed the camera angle in panel 2 so that it didn’t contain another vertical element on the same page as the 3rd and 5th. The girls of panel 3 were re-positioned for the same reason.
As I retroactively color these full-page strips, the order has been hap-hazard. That’s just facts, and not so much an apology. I suppose I apologize for taking seventeen years to get around to coloring them at all.
Aritst and co-creator of the comic book, “Unstoppable Tuff-Girl.”
Illustrator and character artist, Cartoon Network (current).
Illustrator and character artist, Disney (former).
Caricaturist. Drawer. Scribbler.