Just in case you are curious, here are the different steps in the creation of one of my recent drawings.
I've just drawn several members of the superhero team, The Teen Titans, for a fan. The last one that I drew was Kole. Here, below, are some of the basic stages in the progress of Kole's character study!
Unless I'm really familiar with the subject of the drawing (like, say, Batman), I generally do a little research on the character. Here, I have info and other depictions of Kole, found on http://koleloversunite.com/ and at http://titanstower.com/index.html, as well as a copy of her final appearance (and "death"), in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12. These help me not only with costume and general appearance, but also to understand a little about what kind of person the character is. That's why I call these pieces "character studies."
Next, I sketch out some crummy little rough drawings, based on the impressions of the character that I have formed from the info I've gathered. These sketches are REALLY rough, and that's on purpose! I've found that, if I draw a nice rough sketch, it kills the feeling of spontaneity that I need for the final piece...basically, if I do too well in the roughs, I feel like I'm just copying them for the final product, and it becomes forced and "blah." I like to save some of the actual "creative forces" for each stage of the drawing.
Next, it's finally time to draw the piece! I start with a light blue pencil (which you can probably see some of on the left of the picture above) because it need not be erased - it's "invisible" to print-cameras and photocopy machines. I then use a .05 technical pencil to "tighten-up" the specifics of the drawing. As you may notice, I still leave the pencil work in pretty rough shape, preferring instead to "clean-up" the piece in the inking stage.
The final step is "inking." As you may or may not know, I'm a little unconventional when it comes to inking. Traditionally, cartoonists use brushes and nib-style pens with actual pots of ink. I tried this method, I really did, but, well, I'm a klutz. If I wasn't smearing my work, I was spilling the ink on it. Basically, I'm too much of a slob to use anything other than nice marker pens. I use a succession of different size pens, from gigantic Sanford Magnums right down to delicate .005 Zig Millenniums. I start inking whatever elements of the drawing are "closest" to the viewer (in this case, it was Kole's logo at the bottom). This is so that the lines that are "behind" stop at the lines "in front," or else you get a sort of "t" instead of a "T" (OK, that's hard to understand...essentially, the stuff "behind" shouldn't accidentally go through, even a little, the stuff "in front"). As I go from area to area on the drawing, I first lightly erase where I will ink, removing most of the smeary pencil-lead before I try to put ink (well, it's actually pigment) on it. After the basic lines have been inked, I then erase every trace of the original pencils. Finally, I augment the basic inking with final inks, which includes darkening and enhancing the outlines of the elements that are closest to the viewer, filling in texture effects and black areas (sometimes called "spotting blacks"), and touching up with Wite-Out (if needed). After all of this, I look it over, and, if everything checks out, I sign it.
That's about it! It may seem like a lot of work, just to draw a flying girl, but, believe it or not, it's FUN! Watch this page in the future for progress on the next issue of