Saturday, December 29, 2012

Inking And Coloring Cartoons

If you've been following this clog, you know that I started teaching myself how to draw about three years ago, and then almost one year ago I started teaching myself how to draw cartoons. Before January 2012, I had never really attempted to draw cartoons, but I think I took to it pretty quickly. I started drawing countless cats and quadrupi and other animals, weirding out my classmates at Northwestern Law in the process.

Unfortunately, because of law school, Moodstring, hip hop production, and countless other half-assed projects, I've generally only been able to dedicate a limited, sporadic amount of time to getting better at cartooning. Maybe about once a month I would spend an hour or two drawing in my apartment when I felt the urge to do it. I also drew on the whiteboards and blackboards at my school whenever I got the chance. 

But after I finished my exams for this semester, I decided to put a good chunk of time into developing my line work, inking method, and coloring. Basically I wanted my cartoons to look as legitimate as the political cartoons and popular comics I see online and in the papers. So first I draw the sketches in pencil, then I ink them in with a brush pen (which is essentially a paint brush with ink constantly flowing into it), and draw over my smaller lines and shading with a normal pen, then I scan the drawing and color it in.

Choo Choo Whale

This whale with the smokey blowhole, named Choo Choo Whale, was the result of my first try. There's a lot of brush scraping evident in the ink; lines where the brush went a little dry or made the wrong shape or something because I moved it too fast or had it at the wrong angle. After this post I'll experiment with vectorizing my images if I'm not happy with the line work.

Here's a guy I drew. Not a particular guy, just a guy in my head. He kind of looks like my friend Andrew. For some reason even though I spent a couple years on-and-off teaching myself figure drawing, and then a year on-and-off teaching myself cartooning, I never bothered to learn to draw human faces. Oh well! 

Anyway, the linework of the hair in this drawing, specifically the sides of the hair on the far right and far left rather than the hairline, is what I'm really going for. I want that smooth, professional style with natural-looking variations, as I see in hand-drawn comics. If I can do with all my drawings what I did with the hair in this drawing, then I'll have succeeded at more-or-less perfecting my inking.

That's another drawing. In my next cartooning post, I might experiment with vectorizing some of these in Adobe Illustrator and seeing if that makes them look smoother, cleaner, more appealing, and more professional, or if I prefer to have all the hand-drawn touches kept in the pictures.