Today’s Art (19th September 2017)

Well, today’s digitally-edited “1980s horror novel cover”-style painting ended up being slightly more minimalist than I expected. This was mostly because I was feeling slightly uninspired and, after failing to make another painting, ended up making this one fairly quickly. I’m still not quite sure why the magazine is in French though – it seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess.

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

“Late Reading” By C. A. Brown

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Today’s Art ( 18th September 2017)

Well, this is the next digitally-edited painting in my “1980s Horror Novel Cover” art series. I was quite tired when I made this painting, so it probably ended up having more of a 1990s computer game kind of look to it (and, yes, I had to change the character design whilst sketching, since I realised that, in my sleep-deprived mind fog, I’d inadvertantly sketched Jill Valentine from “Resident Evil 3”).

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Crypt Of The Diabolical Devotees" By C. A. Brown

“Crypt Of The Diabolical Devotees” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (17th September 2017)

Well, I’m still in the mood for making “1980s horror novel cover”-style art. Originally, this digitally-edited painting was going to have rain effects, but it didn’t really work out that well – so, I went back to an earlier version that didn’t have them and did the last part of the editing on that version instead. Still, I really like how it turned out 🙂

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Ghost Image" By C. A. Brown

“Ghost Image” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (16th September 2017)

Woo hoo! Unlike when I made yesterday’s painting, I actually had a good idea for a “1980s/90s horror novel cover”-style painting this time. Surprisingly, this painting ended up being set in the present day though – mostly because I wanted to include a reaction on the laptop screen.

Yes, this painting required slightly more digital editing than usual, and I’m still not sure whether this will turn into an art series or not, but I really like how this one turned out 🙂

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Skeleton Service" By C. A. Brown

“Skeleton Service” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (15th September 2017)

Well, this digitally-edited painting was kind of a strange one. Originally, I’d vaguely planned to start a series of paintings inspired by 1980s/90s horror novel covers but, when I actually started making this painting, I found that I was slightly uninspired. So, it ended up being this fairly gloomy, minimalist retro sci-fi horror painting instead.

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Unknown" By C. A. Brown

“Unknown” By C. A. Brown

Two Sneaky Tips For Making Longer Comics Look More Detailed

2017-artwork-sneaky-background-tricks

As regular readers of this site probably know, I’m busy preparing this year’s Halloween comic at the time of writing. So, I thought that I’d talk briefly about detail levels in webcomics today.

This was mostly because, when I tried to make the failed mini series that was posted here recently , I went for more of a ‘back to basics’ approach with the art. In other words, I tried to reduce the level of visual detail to the minimum that I could get away with. This was an interesting experiment, but it sucked some of the “life” out of my comics.

On the other hand, in the mini series that will appear here in early October, I did the exact opposite. I made larger comics that contained slightly more visual detail than many of the ‘detailed’ comics I’d posted earlier this year. This was a lot of fun, but it also meant that the comic-making process was a lot slower. Of course, whilst this was perfect for a short six-comic mini series, it wouldn’t be practical for the longer narrative comic I’d planned for Halloween. So, what did I do?

1) Mix high and low detail backgrounds: This is one of the oldest tricks in the book (I’ve mentioned it before, but recently learnt how to use it in a slightly better way) and it can be barely noticeable if done well.

For example, the pages of my upcoming Halloween comic contain a few detailed interior and exterior locations. But, these often appear for only one or two panels. Most of the time, the backgrounds are slightly less detailed – but this is disguised in a few clever ways.

For example, here’s a preview of one of the less detailed backgrounds in page one of my Halloween comic:

The full comic update will be posted here on the 21st October.

The full comic update will be posted here on the 21st October.

If this had been a scene from my failed “back to basics” comic project, then I’d have just used a plain purple background. However, although most of the background is solid purple, I’ve also added the corner of an old computer monitor and an undetailed poster to it.

Although both of these small details were fairly quick to draw, they give the impression that the scene is taking place within an actual room. So, a couple of tiny and quick details can make an undetailed background look like a detailed one.

Another good trick to use is to draw a few detailed “establishing shots” of a new location and then to add less precision and less detail to most of the other drawings of this location. Since your audience will have seen the more detailed drawings first, they’re probably just going to “fill in the gaps” when they see the less detailed drawings of the same location a little while later.

2) Clever recycling: First of all, I’m not talking about directly re-using backgrounds. Although, if you’re making your comic entirely digitally (and are skilled with using layers), then you can obviously do this. But, I’ll be talking about something far more subtle and much less noticeable than that.

This technique works best if you also do regular art practice, have a good visual memory and/or have made lots of comics before. But, all you have to do is to use something that you are familiar with drawing for your background. Not only does this save you thinking/planning time, but it means that you’ll be able to add a lot of detail more quickly for the simple reason that you already know what to do.

For example, the first page of my upcoming Halloween comic features a detailed outdoor location. Since the comic’s location is loosely-based on Aberystwyth, I already had plenty of pre-made ideas for outdoor locations. On top of this, I’d previously made a sci-fi painting (which will be posted here on the 10th October) which was based on this old photo of Aberystwyth high street that I took in 2009.

One interesting feature of the photo was that the bank in the background had been undergoing renovations at the time and was covered in scaffolding. Likewise, the top of the building next to it looked a little bit like something from “Blade Runner“.

Needless to say, both things were a part of my sci-fi painting. But, since I’d already worked out how to draw them when making that painting, they were surprisingly quick to re-draw when I wanted to add a detailed outdoor location to my Halloween comic:

 Again, the full comic update will be posted here on the 21st October.

Again, the full comic update will be posted here on the 21st October.

This outdoor location isn’t exactly the same as either the photo or my sci-fi painting but, since I was drawing buildings that I’d practiced drawing recently, I was able to add a lot more detail to that panel a lot more quickly.

So, if you find some way to draw what you know, then it’ll be easier to add detailed backgrounds far more quickly.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂