Project Clones: The comics. Part 2.

Making of first page; 2nd album of Clones

Click me to view the entire process!

“Heya folks!” Goodmorning – or afternoon – depending on where you’re currently reading this from. I’m just going to post a small update here on the progress of Clones whilst the first album is over at the press store. As you might remember, I did a few of these step-by-step progress shots in the past, right? Well, for this months treat to you guys, I decided to post another one of the first page of my second comic of Clones.

As usual, I’m posting ‘m without the text, for a twofold reason: partially because the art alone deserves an equal place in the spotlights and secondly, because I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with the whole “should-I-post-this-online-or-not” issue. I guess a lot is riding on finding a decent publisher. Something I really should work harder on. For now tough, I invite you to enjoy these seven slides made from blood, sweat and .. well.. no tears (yet).

A lot of effort went in it though, and I’m still not sure over the final colors (and might change ‘m during the development of the other pages) but hey, I have to move on, otherwise I will get nothing done! For further development on this project, you can always find more wip-shots over at my Twitter page or on Somewhere.

For now, I’m of to bed though. Sleepwell!

Comic 2 Clones Page 1

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A reflection on 2015

Those who know me, will say I don’t often look back to the past.

Those who really know me, will say it’s cause I just can’t remember. So when I just wrote ‘A reflection on 2015’, it’s what really comes to mind at this very moment. And honestly? It’s not going to be that much. Only two things. But they matter most to me at the moment, and that’s what counts, right?

First of all, I know they have a holiday for this sort of stuff in the US, but here in Europe, we don’t, so I’ll just write it here and now.. I’d like to give thanks. To all the people out there who’ve been supporting me. And that’s not just family and friends. I’m referring to all the followers, be it on Twitter, Somewhere, or here, on WordPress. You guys are awesome. I don’t know why you guys like what I draw and write, and I probably never will (maybe that’s for the best), but you do, and I’m very thankful for that. It gives me a certain reassurance that I can draw about what I like, and write about how I feel or experience things. Honestly, when I started this, I didn’t really anticipate anyone ever reading this. It was just going to be something for myself. An online data storage unit of some sorts. And I still treat it as such, to be honest. I’ve been contemplating moving these contents to a different medium at many times in the past, but everytime I end up with a lot of hassle and decide it’s not worth the trouble. It’s not like I post that much even. Not that I’m not trying, it’s just that it’s priority isn’t really that high on my list. Drawing on the other hand..

Presentation 1 Comic
Which brings me to the next item. I’ve been posting already about this earlier this week, over at Twitter. So to those who are following me over there as well, it won’t come to you as actual new stuff. For the past year (I started back in January of 2015) I’ve been slaving away at my own comic. These are the first bricks of my hopefully gargantuan tower, the base of what might become my own graphic novel, and it took me a lot of time. I was already writing on it way before January 2015, although the actual drawing process only started this year. “The Chronicles of Clones”, as it’s called, is something of a baby to me. I’ve been working on this for several years now, on and off at the start. Mostly writing down little dots and notes.. Until one fine day I started collecting all these sketchbook notes and post-it scribbles into a decent file on my data drives. Today.. well actually, a few days ago, I have reached the first milestone of all that work. I have created the first completed issue of Clones. Darn proud about it too. If only my 8-year old self could read it. He’d be so proud of me, I think. Ever since I can remember, it’s what I wanted to achieve. And a few weeks from now, after the holidays, it’ll become a reality. I’ll actually have the very first prototype in my hands. Now comes the next step though, to find a publisher. And here we come full circle. This is where I’ll just let the internet do it’s thing. Let people share this post, like it, comment on it and what have you. And I’ll be very grateful for it.

Wish me luck, people. I’ll need it.

Presentation 2 Comic

How To Make A Map in 20 Steps

For a while now, I’ve been perusing the net on how to make a good looking map.
There are some sites out there that actually offer valuable tips, but it’s still nothing that I really wanted/needed. So that’s why I decided to do it myself. Partially for the reason cause I really really wanted to, but also because my Clones need a world at some point. So yay for bonusreasons! I actually got the idea from my DM on one of the weekly DnD session, since she’s done a bang up job in creating her own map for us. It got me thinking on what I wanted in my world. And that’s what you’ll need first.

Wip_Map_011. Make a solid list of all the places you’d like to see in your world. This can be anything and everything your heart desires most. You like giant oceans infested with Bermuda Triangles or ancient monsters asleep in the deep? Go for it. You always wanted to have you characters wandering the high plains of some fantasy realm? Or even better, deep below the Highest Mountains, where ancient caverns hold the most foul creatures yet to be discovered.. The possibilities are endless. For the sake of this tutorial, I do have to mention that I did all the drawing in photoshop. You’ll need a certain knowledge of layers, brushes, and being able to work with textures and the like. If you’re fine with all this, go on then, what are you waiting for?

Wip_Map_032. I went with a partially ice-covered and flooded world. Some mountains here ‘n there and a few fields of grass, and a couple of green forests/jungles to finish it of. So that’s a lotta green, white and blue really. Remember, this is all to scale. So I added a lot of lakes in between, as a direct result from the flood. For a brief moment I considered adding volcano’s as well, but thought this would be a bit too much of the good stuff. I’ll save that for underground maybe. We’ll see. This brings me to the next bit: how you want it to look on the surface, and more precisely, it’s borders.

Wip_Map_053. Get your most squiggly hand-shaking drawing style out and start making lines this way. I bet you it’ll do its part in the end. You won’t thank me for it when it’s coloring time though.

4. Which is now actually. You like swearing like a sailor? Well, you got a decent reason now. After a while, you’ll get the feeling you want to smash something with a sledgehammer. That means you’re doing really good on the details. Keep at it!

5. By now, you should have some awesome pieces of land, and be able to seperate them as individual continents and/or islands. Time to start working on those deep and treacherous oceans, right?

Wip_Map_076. First of all, decide on how deep you want them to be, those treacherous depths of water. You want a huge sleeper dragon or just some casual sharks in it? The deeper it goes, the darker the tone of your blue will be. Every map you’ll take a look at (you did do some research, right?), will show you the same result on this matter.

7. After lining them out, you start with some moooore coloring. Oh dear, when will it end?

Wip_Map_088. Okay, now for the fun part. Start throwing in some texture, these will represent your rifts and fissures and whatnot. Same for the landmasses, give those mountains of yours a go. It’ll liven up the place a bit (this is where I pretend I’m a god, by lifting up my hand to the sky and raising whole mountains out of the ground).

9. Now we start with the nitpicking. Carefully make equally great squares and form an entire grid for your map. It’s all about location, location, location.

Wip_Map_12
10. I got tired of it. Added some more snow. Wanted to give one of my new brushes a try.
11. Hey, you know what a map needs? A compass. Shinyyy.
12. Ugh, more nitpicking? Fine, add some grades, coördinates, shiny numbers and stuff like that. Here’s where your reference material kicks in. You’ll love it. And don’t forget to add an Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn and Cancer and all that. You know, details.

Wip_Map_1313. EEeeey!!! The fun finally starts! Let’s make it old-timey! Cause who wants a shiny new map? That’s boring man. Let’s scribble a bit on it, set it on fire, make burnmarks, spill coffee on it, and draw all sorts of fun stuff on it. Go bananas! For now, copy your map on a different layer and give it that brown hue, it’ll come over the original colors in the end.
14. Make it even more older, erase some parts.

15. Done playing? No way! This is where you combine the two. Erase a bit where still needed and see if it fits.
16. Think you’re done? Nu-uh. Keep doing that shiny stuff. It took me several goes, after all.
17. Now, time for textures. More fun stuff. I got a small offline databank -coughyeahright!cough- of textures, ready to be used at the flick of a wrist. For this one, I chose something with a lotta folds.


18. Next up, we add splatters of ink, or dirt, or whatever that has your fancy really.

19. Since I really didn’t like how the folds weren’t accentuated, I decided to brush ‘m up a bit at this point as well.

 

World Map Morraban
20.
Alright, you’re almost done. Just add all those places of interest you had in that big list of yours, all the mountainpasses, the swamps, minefields, secret lairs in the volcano, oceans of sharks around your base.. I’m drifting again. Hum. Just look at the image I provided as my end result, you get the idea, right?

Right, so there you have it. 20 Simple Steps. And you got yourself a kickass map for your imaginary world to go play with! Thanks for reading people, I hope you had fun with it.

Project Clones: The “in-between-comic”.

Inktober’s here again folks! Another year’s passed, stuff has happened, both terrible and awesome, but Inktober is still here. I’ll participate in it again, every day (I’m in it for the long haul) for the entire month just as I did last year (remember, it’s all stored here for your reading pleasure, along with the explanation of what it exactly is). Over the past year, I’ve been thinking in what way I wanted to see this story going. As you might recall, I ended the story with a cliffhanger. And for this year, I had the same ‘problem’. What did I wanted to go with: A happy ending, a sad ending or even no ending? Do I wanted it to have another cliffhanger or not? All these questions were pondering inside my dark and creepy mind whilst I was drawing on the other stuff. So many options..

But I had to pick one. Just one. So for now, I went with something that felt appropriate. Something that took me a while too. A while you say? Well, yes.. You think I just came up with this story at the end of September? Oooh boy, are you wrong. Nononooo, this is months in the making. I have no clue how long it takes for other people to develop some form of decent storytelling, but for me it takes a while. As for this one, I eventually decided to give it some form of ending. Not a jolly, happy one, nor was it a sad ending. It also doesn’t really feel like a cliffhanger, but it’s definitely not a closed ending as well. I see it as an “in-between-comic”. Since this storyline is just about a few clones anyways. After all, when Star Wars kicked of in 1977 with Episode IV, no one said anything about that, right? So I see no reason why I can’t do the same.

To be honest.. after all this pondering and re-writing, I’m really hoping it came out well in the end. I’ve had some feedback over the years from a few other people, and whilst they all praised my work so far, I will always be my own harshest critic. I still see so many flaws, things I should’ve worked on longer, improved better, or simply should’ve written out or replaced with something else. But I try to live in the spirit of ‘getting things done’ and to move on when I feel like I should. If I wouldn’t do that, I’d still be here probably, writing and pondering over this month’s storyline for Inktober.

Also, if you’ve been following me over at Somewhere and/or Twitter, you might’ve noticed multiple “work in progress” shots or “wip’s” as I like to call ‘m, but in contrast to this months black ‘n white, all colored. Not to worry, that will still resume, once I’m done with Inktober. It’s also an entirely different storyline, although happening in the same universe of things. Maybe it’ll all come together at some point, maybe not. Who knows?

I’m going to leave you with the promise that I’ll be updating my twitter feed every day at 3PM UTC time (and my gallery every weekend). So basically, since I live in Belgium, that’ll be 5PM for me (gives me a bit of an edge for last minute changes and all that). As for now, here’s to another month of inky goodness.

Cheers!

Project Clones: The comics. Part 1.

banner2wip_02
For a while now I’ve been working on a few sideprojects. When I say “for a while” I actually mean, for a very, very, very, very, really big, (holy moly I can’t remember when I started), verrrrrry long time. One of these sideprojects are my little Clones.

I’m sure you’ve noticed them trudging around here ‘n there. Though it’s only been recently that I decided to mold them into comic form. So that means -if you know me a bit- I started building up a huge reserve of pages lately. Work on it goes slow, as usual, but it’s very rewarding. Since I normally share my wip (Work In Progress) shots on twitter or the platform of Somewhere,
I thought it’d be a nice change of pace to throw it on here.wip_B08_Small

What I’m about to show you here, is a small breakdown of what normally takes about two days of work. We start at the sketching phase, go over the linework, move on to the shadows, with the flat colors next and the final painting as last. Though normally I tend to skip a few things for myself here ‘n there you know. For example, for the purpose of this small peek behind the screen, I seperated all the phases, but usually I tend to do my shadows alongside with my flat colors, and even add some light here ‘n there as well. Maybe even throw in a few effects even. It’s odd, that I’d have the same work method as a normal painter, since I almost never liked painting with a real brush in the past. You could say this is my compensation for it.

So this is it. Now you have a small insight in the making of the art for comic books. I’m not sure I’m doing it right though, since I still feel like I’m treating my pages way too much like my illustrations and therefore am losing a lot of time over simple messing around with the final details. Though I do got most of the process down to full automatisation and even got the script laid out for several more pages, so that shouldn’t be a problem (for now).

Don’t forget to check my tweets regularly if you want to stay up to date!

Happy Halloween.

Come Into The Dark PreviewAnd here we are, folks, Halloween of 2014 is upon us again!

I personally had a lot of fun this month building up to this night as you might have noticed already. In case you still haven’t read about it, there’s been a great event called Inktober going on this month, and I’m proud to say I participated every day for an entire month again. I don’t really want to boast, but I can tell you that I really like the outcome of it. When you look at a month’s work of ink drawings, it does something to you as an artist. I can tell you that. I love it when a plan project comes together! You can check it all out for yourself if you like, I took the effort of rearranging some things at the start of this month, so that you can read up on my new short story “The Chronicles of Clones” first thing when you arrive at the Inktober-tab. Expect to see these little guys a lot more, as I really started to like drawing and introducing ‘m into the most weird/funny/exciting adventures!

Of course, it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t end with a bang, right? So doing a small something something it sort of required and, to be honest, seems like a fitting thing to do here. So, after a bit of extra drawing, allow me to present you my latest Halloween-themed illustration.

Have a great and happy Halloween people, I know I will.

Come Into The Dark

The Grand Army of the Republic Wants You

Here’s a question to all you budding artists who are reading this: “Haven’t you ever wondered how your art will look like in about five or so years from now?”

Well, a couple of years ago, when I was trying out various styles, I had that same question. Nowadays, nothing has really changed, I’ll have you know. Though I can say I made some vast improvements on various levels. Anatomy being one of them. Or.. well, at least I hope I have. That’s more for the experts to decide, really. Anyway, a couple of days ago I decided to do something I normally never do; to redo a painting from a couple of years ago. I chose to do this particular piece, because (in contrast to the happiness level I had reached about it, back then) I never “really” was fully happy with it. Something felt “off”. Either it was her mouth, her build or the way she was standing. Or maybe it was the way I had painted her skin .. something (or all of it combined) felt very wrong.

So after various amounts of tweaking and eventually leaving it to move on to other projects, I decided to rebuild this one from the ground up. I only kept the pose and outfit and gave her a completely different style, look and attitude. She now looks more like what I had in mind in the first place. My inner demons were pleased when I finally finished the new, improved version. And only then do I truly know that it’s “done”.

Because I love to help you guide through the entire process, I created a small work-in-progress version as well, showing you how exactly I came by to this final result. Let’s go through the entire process with the usual four steps, which you might remember from last time, should you have read it already.

Just as last time, I’ll begin with a simple line trace for Step #01, the hard (please-let-this-be-over-quickly) work of every drawing. If you (or your clone) made it through this part in one piece, we can step over to the next part.

Step #02 is still gruntwork, since we’re adding the basic colors and shadows at this stage, though I’d like to adress you that you pay strong attention to the light here, since you don’t want your subject to look unrealistic. I didn’t want to emphasize the light and shadow this time, so I kept it light and fluffy for once.

Step #03 is the where the jolly part kicks in and where I take it over from my clone; the detailed coloring of the subject. This is where my reference material kicks in as usual, especially for those “detailed” specifics in this instance -hum- ..

To end the process, we have Step #04, where the icing of the cake happens. The magic. The good stuff. My all-time favorite, the small details, the textures, every bruise, scratch and dirt spot has to be taken care of in this process. Everything to make your painting just that bit more shiny. Usually followed up by some/a few/a lot of corrections since I’m going very micro in this stadium. This is normally the point where you best mirror your paint or take a step back, just to see if and where you went wrong. Though, I’m no expert in this, since I *still* need to remind myself of this a bit. If you did something wrong big-time, then it’s usually back to Step #03, get past start and earn yourself a quick 200$ on the way. Or does that only count for Monopoly?

A comparison between the old and new version of “Join The GAR”

And oh yeah, here’s a comparison of the old versus the new result. What do you think? A lot better, right? I hope you guys found this as fun and informative as I had making this. Now, onto the next one, shall we?.

Cheers,
-me