Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sharpening the Blue Pencil

After a week of doing client work I can't show off here in the blog I thought it would be nice to do a piece I could show here.

Taking a break from doing the music of OilCan Drive gave me the chance to move back to the drawing side of the project. I was really inspired after spending a day last week with my friend Jeff. I had no choice but to sit down and do something creative myself. The covers and a few pieces here and there still needed to be done for the OilCan Drive project so I started there.

Up until a few years ago I would always do my layouts on tracing paper. I would sketch out the pages and drawings there, figuring out proportion, design, and placement of figures on the page. Then, once all looked good, I would use a light box to trace the images onto a clean piece of bristol board. I did this from the time I got out of art school up until a few years ago.

The trouble was that it was such a pain to sit down once the sketching was done and trace the whole thing over again. I found myself doing anything else I could do in the house, watch TV, surf the internet, and even clean the bathroom, before I would sit down at the light box and trace. It was just a pain and no fun at all. I felt the life being sucked out of the drawings every time I had to draw them over again.

So, I skipped that step in the process I had learned in art school. I did my sketches right on the bristol board. But, instead of using a regular lead pencil I would do the sketches in blue, non reproducible, pencil.

I first started doing this while drawing storyboards for advertising agencies. The deadlines on those pieces were so tight I ended up sketching the storyboards in blue pencil and inking with markers and brush right on top of them. This saved me the step of erasing any pencil lines since the non-repo blue lines wouldn't scan into the computer. Boom, instant clean ink lines.

So, on a few projects I started penciling with the blue pencil right on the board and skipped the tracing paper. And, I LOVED it! It felt like I was actually drawing again. Everything was flowing and it felt great! I had the same feeling I get when I sketch in a sketchbook and not the tense feeling I got when "doing an actual piece of art."

So, I kept doing that and I still do it to this day.

Capturing the details of the light blue pencil on the board with the camera was a bit tough to do but I hope you get the idea and enjoy the process.

Full pencils will be done on this piece soon!


Manu Mane said...

It's nice to discover your process, Sean :)

An other tool seems very appreciated by a lot of artists I know : the light table. They put their storyboard or their rough under the glass, and they just ink a new one, the lineart being seen by transparency.

I never tried but a lot of people tell it's good. If you make a mistake or have an accident, you just have to put another sheet, or piece of paper, and you keep your original rough. Seems cool too ! (: o

Sean Tiffany said...

Thanks, Manu. The light box I referred to and a light table are pretty much the same things.

I've never inked on it because the light shining right into your eyes can be a pain over long periods. Also, the one I have tends to heat up quite a bit so even when I was just tracing my sketches if I took too long I'd find the side of my hand burnt.

Plus, I figure if I have done something so horrible in the inking that I have to start the whole piece over again on a fresh piece of paper I might be too drunk to work that day anyway. :)