Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Perspective Notes on Marilyn's Panel

You may remember this panel from Marilyn in our last class....

Well I think I dropped the ball in not going through this one, but in my defense I was waiting to hear if the path the second character was walking on were steps or a slanted path-- because it makes  a difference.

Well, Marilyn clarified that it's a slanted path so let's walk through how to put this in perspective.  Overall I think it's a successful illustration and honestly you could get by with this even though some of the perspective is faked.  It looks good, but let's see how we'd make it comply with perspective.

1- Establish the vanishing point-- in this case I took the road and drew the lines (blue) back and where they intersected (black X) becomes our vanishing point.  I draw the horizon line (red) across the page.  You don't need it, but I put it there because it helps me to "see things" correctly.

2- This illo is a 1 pt perspective piece because we are up against the paneled wall.  That means the ONLY things that would go to a vanishing point are those houses down on the road, the road and the planks of the slanted hill character #2 is walking down.

3- I finish out the perspective for the houses simply by tracing more VP lines (blue) at the top of the first doorway and at the roof peak.  If all your houses are the same, like track housing, they would all follow this blue line.

4- For the planks, or path-- there is NO vanishing point for the ANGLE of the slant.   That is completely up to the creator (you) so I followed the line you established for the angle (green). 

5- To establish the width of each plank I went on that green line and I evenly spaced black hash marks (you might have to look closely to see them).  They need to be on this OUTSIDE line of the path (where I drew the green line), and as I said they should be EVENLY spaced apart. 

6- From each black hash mark I trace a VP line (purple) back to the established vanishing point.  They will naturally get more narrow as you go from the line of the path closest to us to the far line.

And there you have it-- email me if you don't get this completely and I'll clarify.
It's actually fairly simple.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Perspective lines--Mike

I did this drawing a year or so ago for the cover for Cry of the Snow Leopard, and I wanted to check out how well I did with the perspective.  This is a dramatic scene where Prof. Brewster is being attacked by wild dogs and is saved by the appearance of a snow leopard.

The red line at the top is what I think the horizon line is.  My intention was to have the viewer looking down on Brewster and the dogs, and also down on the snow leopard.

I've drawn in the lines, and I clearly messed up in several places, although I did a few of them correctly.  I'm not sure about the line I drew on the SL's ears.  

Buddy Bites

2-pt Perspective

Tried 2-pt perspective. Story takes place at a college, so here's the school library.

Library Scene

Perspective panel - Jim Riel

A panel from my next Analysis of Evil page

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

perspective and sequence practice

I have three rough drawings of a section of my story. Perspective has me somewhat baffled, but I'm wondering if the flow of sequence makes sense, goes to fast, or what....

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Keeping it in perspective and cheating on my homework

Perspective confounds me.  I mean I get it practically (most of the time), but academically I'm lost.

I am short on time and lacking in creativity this week so I decided I would just snap a quick picture before nap time and use it as my panel. So yeah, the perspective is on point (because when you can't draw for beans reference saves the day)... just don't ask me why.  

I dropped in the neck (pink), head (blue), and foot (green) lines as we were shown.  That puts the vanishing point not only in the panel, but also behind the far character's head.  Maybe that's right and I'm just a rebel, breaking all the rules with my unapologetic in-frame vanishing point. Or maybe this isn't even a one point perspective shot. How should I know? When it comes to understanding perspective... I don't.

What do you expect from a hack that cheats on her homework? The babies are cute though. I demand full marks for that.

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Storytelling is the single most important element of comic art and it's also the hardest.   A complaint I've heard many times over from editors is that new artists they discover can draw really well but they can't tell stories.

That's what this class will focus soley on.

Above is a page of sequentials from Sally Scott.  Click on it to give it a "read" -- and remember most storytelling should be clear even without words.

While there's no arguing that this is drawn well the storytelling is faulty because we go from seeing two characters walking on what looks to be a very tall bridge suddenly in the air or jumping (up or off) and then a shocking surprise with a white background.

So how does this read?

To me I read it as they jumped off the bridge and they are now dead and we're seeing them as they come to the realization that jumping off said bridge was probably a bad idea.

Panels have to flow into each other and then those panels have to flow into a page and those pages into a story.

As creators with EVERY panel we need to make some choices;
1- Choice of angle-- what is the best shot-- what adds drama?  What makes sure we get the information to our reader?
2- Choice of content-- what needs to be in said panel?   What elements are critical, what elements are ornamental and what can be eliminated to make the story clearer?
3- Choice of body language & expressions-- what are the characters feeling?  How are they reacting to the actions or dialogue in the panel?
4- Choice of moment-- which MOMENT should we capture to carry the story.   If you picture your panels as connected frames of a film it usually leads to successful storytelling.

So in this case here we have a long shot of two characters walking on a bridge in the first camera setup, then a medium shot of the two characters either leaping or falling followed by a medium tight shot of them reacting to something.   It's awkward.

So Sally gave it another shot...

Now she has the two characters on the ground with bushes and a bridge behind them.  She caught the sequence at the point in which they've landed.  Still doesn't work for two reasons-- the pose, although accurate, looks silly and second because she has that black bush behind them and the bridge is so far behind we don't get the sense that they've only jumped a few feet-- it's almost a superhuman leap if the bridge is that small in panel 2.

Let's consider the actions these characters are taking;

STEP 1- They're up on the bridge.
STEP 2- They're in midair.
STEP 3- They've landed.
STEP 4- We zoom in closer as they react to something.

Sally has to show four actions in three panels which is why she's having hiccups in the visual narrative.

It's not a bad idea to do it this way, because STEP 3 is a very odd pose, almost like they are looking for a bathroom in the woods, so eliminating that isn't a terrible idea and you can do that by showing them coming down through the air closer to the ground.

So I would go with something like this-- which now shows the speed line indicating they're coming from the bridge (even though the bridge is still too far away) and they are just now touching the ground gives them a more dignified pose by choosing this shot.

THIS class will be all about nitpicking storytelling-- you'll be making sure your work is clear in its storytelling from panel to panel and then page to page.  It's the most crucial part of the whole creative process.

Expect to draw and redraw panels and pages to ensure that you are delivering clear and concise storytelling.


Online course, Eight-session course, $348.00
Wednesdays: 11/29/17 - 01/31/18, 6:30PM - 9:00PM  (NO Class on Xmas and New Years Weeks)

  • Wed Nov 29

  • Wed Dec 6

  • Wed Dec 13

  • Wed Dec 20

  • Wed Jan 10

  • Wed Jan 17

  • Wed Jan 24

  • Wed Jan 31

This class is a video SKYPE style class which will be recorded each week and available to registered students for a limited amount of time so that if you have to miss a class you will be able to follow along.

This class will encompass a variety of topics to build your comic book art abilities covering writing techniques designed to help you jump start an idea, to anatomy and figure drawing lessons and into at least two full weeks of (drum roll please)... PERSPECTIVE.

The focus of the materials produced in this class will be writing and pencil art.  Not getting your pencils fully rendered and "figured out" before you go to ink is one of the biggest mistakes new comic artists make.  We'll crush pencil art in this one.

OR PAY IN INSTALLMENTS 4 payments of $87.00 over the 7 week course.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

CLASS CALENDAR for the next session

With one class left here is the proposal for the next session which is all about STORYTELLING.
Let me know if you have an interest or availability for this schedule.

  I did some new 40s clothes for Janice (Dr. Brewster's secretary) and some passersby:

Character Faces

This week I worked on different expressions, and made the characters more distinct. Tess has a more oval face-shape, and her teeth usually show. Emily has different glasses now, and her face is more rounded. For Ben, I worked on drawing his face first before adding the beard.
Top: Tess ; Bottom: Emily


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Updated design for Emily

I wanted to make the point that she's not necessarily an untrendy dresser, but she dresses to blend in, and is very buttoned-up. She majors in a male-dominated department (mathematics) and although there are other women in the dept. who dress more femininely, Emily chooses not to. She always pulls back her hair, even though it's very curly and sticks out. She dresses like she's going to a mathematics competition, which is her default "uniform". The school's insignia is on the front pocket of her blouse. Because she's very practical, she wears a belt with her khaki slacks and comfortable flats constantly.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Greg Bird Warrior Bard Character

This guy is completely unrelated to the characters I posted before - he's from a different project I'm working on.

Basically a humanoid bird character who wields an axe bladed lute and casts powerful healing magic. He's a bard, so he likes performance and is intended to look very colorful and conspicuous. I included an ink-only version and one that has been given flat colors (no shading or anything).

Note - the wings are intentionally located lower on his back then they probably should be. There's a story reason for it, but yeah, it's a specific choice I made.

Ink version

Flat colors version

Daniel Haddock | Clint expressions and pages

First I did some pages, edits Andy recommended(that did make the page better), and a second page mock up. These are sketchy because right now I am focusing on page flow. Directing a story properly and then rendering later on. I don't want to spend all day doing a bad page only to realize it's low quality after spending hours reinforcing bad technique. And also I did some facial expressions for Clint Yamamoto.

I did some snow leopard drawings a while ago, and have added new ones here.  Also some more elaboration on Tamas the Henchman and Verna.

Alison - Model Sketches

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Proportion Lines are the same things we all used when we were learning the alphabet.
They help to make sure we establish contact points on our characters to keep them looking consistent.

You see here I build the lines based on the illustration-- so that I don't just use a generic set of lines.

Simply put, draw your character in one position and then when you are happy with it drop in your prop lines at critical points.

In this case I have them at;
Top of the head

So making sure the face lines up with these prop lines does its part to keepign the character consistent.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Super Box Boy - different poses


The story is coming to me, slowly but surely.  I have to make BB a little bit more beat up - after all he's been in a fire! Meanwhile I'm doing all of this sketching on the ipad which has it's ups and downs.     I have a few additional sketches of his shoes which need to be consistent from page to page, 

Character Update

Put some more thought into the character outfits. 

Emily: I wanted to make the point that Emily is not a good dresser. She always wears something that's a little too baggy, or she dresses too young. Hence the dorky overalls. 

Tess: Aspires to be a magazine editor or journalist in the big city, dresses trendier. Pinterest helped a lot with referencing outfits.

Ben: He's a character that only shows up to party. 

The character names are placeholders, so that may change.




Hero's Journey template for The Care and Feeding of an Addict

Ordinary world Patty, 65, is a retired librarian. She’s bored, wonders why she didn’t do more with her life, and she’s suffering empty nest and loneliness.

Call to Adventure Patty’s youngest child, Ryan, 40, wants to return to her house to detox from heroin.

Turns out he has been living in a refrigerator box in Tucson, AZ for a few years, not working as a bike messenger in Seattle, as he had pretended. Refusal of Call Patty tells Ryan no, he must seek detox professionally, that she can’t help him But she feels terrible. She’s his mother. Who else could help but his mother?

Crossing threshold
Ryan arrives on Cape Cod unbidden, says he has nowhere else to turn. Patty’s ex, Ryan’s dad, refuses to let Ryan move to France with him and his 25 year old girlfriend. Ryan begins his detox at Patty’s by following a yoga regimen and drinking kombucha. Patty gets a job slicing meat in a deli to support him.

He fails at detoxing by himself and starts taking methadone at a clinic.

Tests, Allies, Enemies

• Tests: Ryan falls in love with a woman he meets the first day at the methadone clinic. She lost her three kids to social services. Ainsley wants to get pregnant to prove she’s a good mother, and Ryan wants to be her hero. Ainsley moves into Patty’s too although neither asked if it was OK.

• Allies: Patty’s only allies are a 12 step group she’s offended by acting superior, saying her kid is special and he’s about to go to school to become a drug counselor.

• Enemies: There are many. Society in general hates addicts, and society also dislikes the parents of addicts because the parents are deemed as failures as parents.  Medical professionals dislike addicts, as well as EMTs, who are tired of saving them from overdosing.


• Patty finds money missing. Ryan secretly tells Patty that Ainsley took it. Patty believes him, but she demands that Ryan and Ainsley leave. Ryan puts up a tent in the backyard and uses the car Patty bought him as a closet and refrigerator..

Ordeal, death, rebirth

• Ryan refuses to take down his tent. Ryan saws out his mother’s safety deposit box, fastened to the upstairs floor, and it lands on the first floor living room couch, the bottom open. Thousands of dollars of money and jewelry are missing. Patty calls the police, presses charges, and Ryan gets two felonies and heads for the state pen.

Ainsley finds a new boyfriend. Patty quits the meat market and sells her house. Her house near the sea is worth a fortune after the 40 years she’s been there..


• Ryan is in prison for two years and Patty is relieved. He’s safe now, off drugs, and he can’t get out. She reinvents herself, moves to the city, takes the improv acting classes she always dreamed of doing, and becomes an actress. All the emotions she’s suffered have opened her to performance.

Road Back

• Patty loves her new life. She changes her name, transforms into an older beauty through plastic surgery, writes a monologue about her life, and eventually takes her monologue on the road to small theatres.


• Ryan tries to find her after his two years in the slammer, but she’s changed her name and her looks and nobody knows where his mother went. He’s back in a tent, and back to using for a while, but left alone with no one to save him, he enters rehab, lives two years in a sober house, and becomes a drug counselor.


• Patty meets a fellow actor, falls in love, begins to notice he drinks too much, and walks out, happy to be free.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Julia and Stanley the pit-bull puppy

Thanks to Aria for reminding me about the Hero's Journey.   I started it with Cry of the Snow Leopard.

Cry of the Snow Leopard
Ordinary World Prof. Brewster being a regular professor; writing a novel called Cry of the Snow Leopard--
Call to Adventure Dreams about a Snow Leopard
Refusal of the call Ignores it; keeps reappearing; goes to Bhutan
Meeting the mentor Meets the Master at the monastery after his rescue from the wild dogs,  by a snow leopard that leads him  to the monastery
Crossing the Threshold Realizes that the snow leopard who rescued him--no one saw it--hallucination?  Spirit animal/protector?
Test, Allies & Enemies Verna starts following him upon his return to the States--he has a magic book of hers that he bought in a flea market in Serbia while on sabbatical; Janice gets kidnapped by Verna and her henchman
Ordeal, Death, Rebirth
Reward, seizing the Sword
The Road Back
Return with Elixer
I haven't worked out what happens after the first test--I need to develop subplots and characters and figure out where the story is going.  It's going to need to  be a whole magical world where the book, the spirit animal, and the real world all collide.
Tamas is Verna's henchman.  "Tamas" means "twin"--this is the nickname his fellow henchmen have given him because he has matching hairy moles on both cheeks.

I tried doing different version of Verna as she transforms from an old woman to a young one.  Maybe I just need two versions--getting the "middle age" one done seems difficult.