building_construction_paintedOh, I finished the painting of the page that, perhaps annoyingly, I’m showing you only a corner of. Now you’ve seen three stages of development in the production process, from pencils to inks to painting. See the other two pages (here and here) for comparison.

I digitally paint for this work, using a variety of techniques. This is a big silent single-panel splash page early on in the story, and I’m using it to root the reader in reality, the location, and the principal character, and so I’ve broken out the special effects a touch. Yes, I am a traditionalist, as I’ve explained before, with most of the final look of my work not being so different from what could be done in the pre-digital era, but I am not pig-headedly so, and from time to time I use (lightly, mostly) the digital tools to achieve certain things – the gradients and the playful lens flare.

This is based on a real location, and preparatory work involved visiting the location, making measurements, standing in odd places to understand how it fits together and how people move through it, counting objects, just walking it several times to get a feel of it, and taking reference photos**.

Yes, I’m nuts. Get used to it. I have.

Anyway, so the buildings are done on this page (sigh… another thousand windows), and there is a sunny sky, and surrounding buildings. You can see them all reflected in the buildings, as well as some shadow. Remember that the sky blue has a lovely pattern of lights and darks depending upon where the sun is? (It is a pattern of polarization of the sun’s light from its scattering in the atmosphere. Look up – then read this post.) That’s in there a bit too, both direct and reflected. This piece/page was fun to study and to execute.

There’s much more to this than drawing and painting pictures, and I’ll talk more about that in a later post, telling you more about other development stages, story elements, and how one pays attention to making sure these pictures work together
to form a narrative, which is the point of The Project (see earlier posts). Oh, I hear people want to see more actual people too. Let’s see…


**Some of these things get me noticed by security guards – I would not be surprised if there is a fat file on me somewhere.

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11 Responses to Paints

  1. Jude says:

    It seems to me as though you have two books here–the actual Project and a book about creating the Project. It’s amazing to watch the transformation from the black lines to this page. Perhaps it’s the details that make me feel slightly claustrophobic looking up at these buildings, much as I might if I walked down the street and looked up at the real buildings.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Really interesting to watch the process. The picture suddenly jumps out with the new details, the subtleties really make it. Incidentally, talking of colours in the sky, do you ever look out for Earth shadow ( when you’re flying? It’s an easy to spot phenomenon but not one that people often pay attention to.

  3. Plato says:

    As Jude pointed out, moving from the idea of suspension(Ele Munjeli) , toward actually “looking up” makes this very interesting three dimensional viewing of the location.

    I like it because the “expansion of viewing,” from a different perspective is realized, whether it was your intention or not.


  4. Clifford says:

    Thanks all.

    Jude… Maybe! Work those publishers for me will you? 😀 Oh, and claustrophobia? Excellent! Wait until you see the whole page!

    Jonathan, yes, earthshadow is fun. I see it a lot here as we have a big sky in LA from a number of vantage points.



  5. Ele Munjeli says:

    Sweet. I cringed thinking about you doing all the work by hand actually. It does become oppressive.

    As much as you geek out making these, I’ll geek out watching the process. I always zoom on the image, but the resolution isn’t great. At some point I hope you’ll link to a larger image or publish some detail images as a gallery with an image (though I understand why you don’t publish larger, of course).

  6. Clifford says:

    Well, it’s not so bad once you get into a routine. Drawing is a lot about problem-solving, so that can be interesting, and the digital painting is too, in different ways, with the added dimension of working out where reflections would be, what the principal shapes are in the reflections, and so forth. But yes, somewhere in between there is a lot of tedious pencil work or pen or brush (traditional or digital) work.

    If I’ve done the reflections right, I can leave it as an exercise to the reader to work out what the rest of the panel looks like. 🙂



  7. Rob C says:

    Just blog surfing through and saw the picture which I assumed was a photograph. Honestly as someone with zero artistic ability I have to admire both your eye but your writing as well. Like the other commentor said you should do both books.

  8. Clifford says:

    Thank you!


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