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The Professional “How-To” Magazine on Comics, Cartooning and Animation


Summer 2016 $8.95 IN THE US

HOWARD PORTER Characters TM & © DC Comics.






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THE PROFESSIONAL “HOW-TO” MAGAZINE ON COMICS & CARTOONING WWW.DRAW-MAGAZINE.BLOGSPOT.COM SUMMER 2016, VOL. 1, #32 Editor-in-Chief • Michael Manley Managing Editor and Designer • Eric Nolen-Weathington Publisher • John Morrow Logo Design • John Costanza Front Cover • Howard Porter DRAW! Summer 2016, Vol. 1, No. 32 was produced by Action Planet, Inc. and published by TwoMorrows Publishing. Michael Manley, Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Editorial address: DRAW! Magazine, c/o Michael Manley, 430 Spruce Ave., Upper Darby, PA 19082. Subscription Address: TwoMorrows Publishing, 10407 Bedfordtown Dr., Raleigh, NC 27614. DRAW! and its logo are trademarks of Action Planet, Inc. All contributions herein are copyright 2015 by their respective contributors. Views expressed here by contributors and interviewees are not necessarily those of Action Planet, Inc., TwoMorrows Publishing, or its editors. Action Planet, Inc. and TwoMorrows Publishing accept no responsibility for unsolicited submissions. All artwork herein is copyright the year of production, its creator (if work-for-hire, the entity which contracted said artwork); the characters featured in said artwork are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners; and said artwork or other trademarked material is printed in these pages with the consent of the copyright holder and/or for journalistic, educational, or historical purposes with no infringement intended or implied. This entire issue is ©2016 Action Planet, Inc. and TwoMorrows Publishing and may not be reprinted or retransmitted without written permission of the copyright holders. ISSN 1932-6882. Printed in China. FIRST PRINTING.

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Mike Manley talks with the Justice League 3000 artist about his digital process and the future of comics






comic art bootcamp


The crusty Critic

Jerry discusses the art of the sketch cover

Mike Manley enters the Molly Danger zone for a chat on guiding your own destiny

This issue's installment: Plusing your ideas

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Jamar Nicholas reviews the tools of the trade. This issue: Chameleon Color Tones pens




in a LEAGUE of his own Interview conducted by Mike Manley and transcribed by Sean Dulaney DRAW!: Are you working this weekend? HOWARD PORTER: Every weekend. Unless, of course, things aren’t going badly. How about you? DRAW!: Yeah. The weekends are pretty rough right now because I just picked up The Phantom. HP: I saw that. Congratulations. DRAW!: Thank you. On top of that, I’m also doing the Judge Parker strip, so I’m a busy boy. HP: That’s a good thing for sure.

DRAW!: Exactly. I’ll still have to dig up somebody to do my backgrounds. [laughter] So what are you working on right now? I guess DC has sort of relaunched everything? HP: Yes. I was doing Superman, and then Rebirth happened, so everything got switched around. They asked me to do a couple of different things, but I chose to do Scooby Apocalypse with Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis. DRAW!: That’s part of the Hanna-Barbera relaunch? HP: Yeah, I’m not sure what they are calling it. You’re right, it’s Hanna-Barbera. There’s a name for the line I think but it but I don’t remember what it’s called.

DRAW!: Yeah, it’s good. Good for the bank. HP: Absolutely. And someday you won’t have to be such a busy boy.

DRAW!: Is this just a limited thing? HP: Isn’t everything limited? [chuckles] Everything’s temporary in this business. It’s an ongoing title, but there’s no telling how long it will go, so you have to enjoy it while you can.

DRAW!: [chuckles] Because I’ll be dead! HP: [laughter] And then you’ll cut your hours in half.

DRAW!: This is a re-imagining of the characters. They’re doing Johnny Quest and bringing back the Herculoids….



This two-page spread from Justice League 3001 #1 started with a loose thumbnail (not shown), which Howard then tightened in a rough (above). Howard printed the rough out and, using a light box, penciled the drawing on paper (top right). After scanning the finished pencils, Howard added gray tones as a sort of color guide (see previous page), over which Hi-Fi then put the final touches (right). Justice League 3001 © DC Comics.

They’re bringing back Dick Dastardly and Muttley and Penelope Pitstop. HP: That’d be a tough one to re-imagine and have it not be... silly. [laughter] DRAW!: Really? You can’t have, like, Fast and Furious/ Wacky Races? Get Jock to do it or something? HP: [laughter] Right, right. Well, the Scooby-Doo thing is basically the same, but they have me drawing it more realistically, which messes with my mind. I was trying to draw Scooby as a realistic, anatomically correct Great Dane, but it doesn’t work so well. You can’t really have him emote properly, and he loses the charm that way. DRAW!: No. Their eyes are too far apart, whereas ScoobyDoo’s eyes are together like a cartoon character. HP: Yeah, kind of like my eyes. DRAW!: So, what did you do? How did you go about doing that? I mean, I’m sure the people are the easiest. HP: They are. They’re just realistic versions of the characters.



DRAW!: You just draw Bob Denver for Shaggy, right? HP: [laughs] Well, actually I didn’t design them. Jim Lee did, and I think he did a fantastic job. Shaggy looks more like a modern hipster—almost a handlebar mustache-and-beard type of thing. DRAW!: I forget the comedian’s name who’s on Silicon Valley. HP: Yeah! He would be a good one. I like him, he was in Deadpool also. DRAW!: So you’re not basing them on the original inspiration, which is the old Dobie Gillis characters? HP: They have similar elements to those original designs but with more modern day fashions, sort of. DRAW!: Does Fred still have his ascot?

HP: [laughter] Yep. Keith sort of updated the characters themselves. Fred and Daphne have a ghost-hunter type show that’s failing, and they are wearing their TV show uniforms which have the ascots. They’re all separated, and the first issue is how they all get together, an origin story. DRAW!: Is Daphne all hot now? Is she the “Ginger” to the “Mary Ann”? HP: Yes, she is attractive, but not in a pin-up girl kind of way. Velma is, like, five feet tall and kind of looks like Natalie Portman in The Professional. She’s a petite lady but with large funky glasses and a turtle neck. DRAW!: So Jim did the initial designs and you’re trying to work from his designs? Did you make yourself a model sheet? HP: Exactly, Jim did the initial cover, and then I did turnarounds for them from that. It was a great way to go, as I was almost immediately comfortable drawing them on the actual pages. Otherwise, it usually takes me a few issues to get to the point where I don’t have to keep referring to design references. DRAW!: Is the Mystery Machine still the Mystery Machine? HP: [chuckles] No. Well, it is, but no, it’s not. It’s a liberated military vehicle instead of the VW van. The van wouldn’t have gotten them out of the situation they have landed in. DRAW!: When you get the script and you’re drawing it, I imagine that the initial thing to pop into your mind is the cartoon, because that’s what you’re used to. HP: Yes, exactly right. Which is why I think people don’t really know what to expect from the book right now. It’s hard not to think of them as the kids who pulled masks off of old evil dudes.

DRAW!: Is that what you were saying? It’s a bit more of a difficulty because you think, “Oh, wait a minute. I’m not doing that....” HP: Yeah. My instinct is to do that, and I’m afraid people initially might be put off that it’s not the cartoony, fun feeling thing, but it’s more like The Walking Dead or something. [laughter] I mean, it’s fun and goofy too. DRAW!: Well, even when they did those movies with the CGI, it was kind of creepy in a way. HP: CGI is creepy. They still haven’t gotten it down perfectly. No matter how realistic it looks, it just looks like an animated corpse to me. I think that phenomena is called “uncanny valley.” However in the Scooby-Doo movies, yeah, he was was the one animated character, a mix between cartoony and real, and it’s a bit unnerving. DRAW!: Right, right. Because if he’s supposed to be kind of realistic, but then they design him kind of like the cartoon, then he really doesn’t look like a real Great Dane. HP: Exactly. Which is the way I have settled on depicting him, sort of. He’s a bit more realistic, or less cartoony anyway. DRAW!: When you were doing Justice League 3000, were you still doing traditional pencils or were you doing digital pencils? HP: On that—and I still almost do it this way—I would do thumbnails on the computer in a page template, and then go over them and do a tight rough still in the computer—just flesh it all out. And then I would print it out on a full-size board, and then light box that, tightly pencil it, and ink parts of it. Finally, scan it in and finish it in the computer. Now I’m skipping the part where I print it out and do it on paper. I just do it all in the computer.

One of Howard’s turnaround boards (right) based on Jim Lee’s initial cover image for Scooby Apocalypse #1 (above). Scooby-Doo and all related characters © Hanna-Barbera.



Layout (above) and pencils (right) for page 9 of Justice League 3001 #9. Justice League 3001 and all related characters © DC Comics.

days, people would get on a book and you wouldn’t want to give that thing up, but it seems like now, if you’re on a book, they don’t want you to do more than six issues. HP: I have no plans on leaving the book, other than missing issues to keep the schedule on track. I absolutely love working with this team. They have made the last few years the most enjoyable of my career. I have heard some conspiracy theorist type of guy say that the companies don’t want it to get to where the artists had so much power like back when the Image guys started their company, so they don’t keep them around long enough to build that up. But to counter that theory, there are still people who have or have had long runs on books since then. Also there are people who say we didn’t land on the moon and that Elvis is still alive. DRAW!: Well, there’re very few guys left like John Romita, Jr., who’s a machine, who can do one or two books a month. Guys now don’t do that many pages and don’t do that long of a run. I think one of the positives of Image was that it focused on the artists and it gave the artists their due as creators in a way that was sort of denied by the publishers. But then I’ve heard because of that, the editorial slant is to put the writers ahead of artists to avoid that ever happening again. It’s just sort of the overall philosophy. But I don’t know. The business



is much smaller now than it was in the ’90s for one. And I don’t know of any artists at all that have the same drawing power in the way that artists used to have. HP: Right, that does seem to be the way these days. Writers get most of the accolades. I figure that is because they are the ones most able to talk about and push their own work. That’s their skill, the use of the written or spoken word and that can be created much quicker than our scribbles. The big hype machines and Top Ten lists that could make or break us back then don’t exist anymore. Other than internet and social media, and that stuff turns over so fast now—news and how information spreads. A thing that’s hot one month is gone in the blink of an eye. DRAW!: Well, you know, the bulk of my career as a cartoonist did not have the internet. That can have a really positive effect, but it can also have a very negative effect on you. Maybe you don’t want to read that stuff. HP: Some of it’s not good. But they seem to be much kinder than they were at the start, I think.

Inks for page 9 of Justice League 3001 #9. The first pass (left) focuses on outlines and solid blacks, the second (right) on details and shading. Justice League 3001 and all related characters © DC Comics.

DRAW!: Well, I’ve always thought of cartoonists as being the lowest rung on the ladder of celebrity. HP: Yes. Most certainly, a few steps below viral video kids snorting hot pepper sauce. [laughter] DRAW!: People can’t go to Tom Cruise directly, “You know what? You suck! All your films suck and blah, blah, blah,” but they can go to some forum or on Facebook, and they can go to your page or your fan page and go, “You suck!” That’s very different. I think it makes you develop a thicker skin. HP: For sure, there’s not much you can say that would hurt me now. [laughter] I’ve got no ego left, the internet crushed it in the early 2000s, late ’90s. I’m not saying I don’t get down, but usually that’s from my own criticism, and honestly the over the top hate I read online makes me laugh now. DRAW!: Do you use other things like SketchUp or other drafting programs for perspectives or buildings or cars? HP: I have tried SketchUp and a couple different 3-D programs for perspective on certain things. It can really be an asset if have to draw something specific in a unique position, like the Chrysler Building or something. But I’d rather just

draw it; it’s faster than trying to get the angle correct in the software and make it fit into a panel or page. DRAW!: Really? Like you can’t get the feeling you want, or can’t get the angle? HP: Well, the difference between a photograph and a drawing is a photograph never looks right when you just trace it. It can be great as a jumping off point but can stick out like a sore thumb if you are too literal. DRAW!: I think that’s a really interesting point. The other day someone posted a link to some anime/manga website where there were jillions and jillions of backgrounds. “Oh, here’s a street scene! Here’s a car! Here’s a bunch of trees!” and you could just cut and paste. You would never have to draw a background. I think for the greatest cartoonists, the top-tier guys, perspective is something that is very personal. You can tell a Gene Colan drawing just from part of the drawing because of the way he used distortion and perspective. It became a personal statement. It wasn’t just, “I’m drawing one-point perspective and mapping everything out.” They knew it so well, it was actually an expressive tool in their



shop, and skewed and transformed them to fit into the planes of the structure. Then I drew over that to loosen it up, but even then, in the end it felt a bit dead and sterile to me when it was done. It was an experiment. Maybe if I hand-drew the window textures that would work better. I will have to give that a try someday. DRAW!: One of the most interesting things to me is how people use something that’s one of the primary factors of drawing. Objects in space is the use of perspective. You can look at a guy like Kirby, who never put down a vanishing point in his entire life. [laughter] HP: Right, right. For him it’s all part of the composition and making everything fit in there. If you ever tried to draw anatomically correct or use proper perspective, it just wouldn’t work at all. But it all works perfectly in his magical world.

Final inks and tones for page 9 of Justice League 3001 #9. Justice League 3001 and all related characters © DC Comics.

arsenal. There’s a lot of feeling in a Gene Colan drawing, and he used to take a lot of photos. And Al Williamson did too. He literally had stacks of photos, and he used to use the old Polaroid camera. Do you feel when you’re using something like SketchUp you can’t get the feeling you want, sort of? HP: I can never make it fit into my composition, not that I haven’t tried. I have tried to use it for getting the shapes into perspective. Recently I drew over the shapes of a building in perspective, then I created all these window textures in Photo-



DRAW!: Right. I was looking at a Kirby Collector the other day, and there was a bunch of the war stuff he did, The Losers. And there was a scene of soldiers marching across a field. It’s definitely perspective, and it sort of reminded me of a famous battle painting by Howard Pyle of the Confederate Army marching across a field, so maybe he subconsciously was thinking of something like that. But all of his drawing had such an amazing amount of distortion, yet was convincing within his way of constructing and drawing everything. So, you sort of feel like if you started with a street scene with a car, and you set up the perspective, and then you had to fit your... HP: It’s always going to be a little off. Starting with that element and working backwards, you will end up stuck trying to fit things in. But hey, he made it work perfectly for him. DRAW!: You couldn’t take the distortion tool and sphere-ize or whatever...? HP: I haven’t thought to try that yet. I will do that to fit a specific sign or texture that needs to be in there—draw the majority of it and transform elements to fit into that. I don’t

The Right Way, The Wrong Way, and The

OrdWay ! The art of thebySketch Cover Jerry Ordway

Caricature by Rachel Ordway


somewhat new niche has developed in the past few years, where publishers offer a blank “sketch cover,” a special variant for certain comic book titles. The first few sketch covers published did not have a great drawing surface, even though they were intended to be drawn on. The best tool you could use on them was a Sharpie brand marker. Lately though, publishers have seemed to standardize them with a heavierweight drawing paper that wraps the regular published version of the comic book. These are pretty decent to work on with a pencil, quill pen, marker, or even a brush and India ink. If you want to draw only on the front cover side, it’s not too difficult to fold the comic interior out of the way so you could use a light box to trace a preliminary drawing onto the surface. If you wish to draw on both the front and back cover, as I will show in my sample here, then it is much easier to carefully open and remove the staples on the comic, in order to separate the sketch cover paper. Save the staples and the rest of the comic for reassembly later. I approach a sketch cover blank differently in my studio than I would at a comic book convention. At a comic con, I will lightly sketch directly on the cover with pencil, and finish with Pitt brand marker pen and brush. In the comfort of my studio, I like to do a separate layout, or prelim, first. I will start by composing the scene on layout paper to lock down an image, which I then transfer to the actual comic cover paper via tracing through my light box. This eliminates a lot of sketch lines and erasing that can degrade the final drawing surface, which is especially important when using color and markers later on.



I used this older Jerry Robinson Joker cover from Detective Comics (left) as my inspiration for the new piece. I am a huge fan of Robinson’s Batman work, and many of his covers were iconic images. (above and top of next page) On my layout paper, I sketched a horizontal composition, which would fill both the front and back cover on the comic. I took pains to balance where the Joker’s head would fall, as I didn’t want the face bisected by the crease on the cover. I roughed in the drawing in pencil, and then refined the drawing with a fine point marker. Marker is easier to see through the lightbox than a pencil line, and makes for easier tracing.

It’s easy to forget which marker you just used if you put them back in the stand each time, so I leave the ones I am using out within easy reach. I had three values of purple I was working with, and as I started coloring the foreground, I kept going back to the purple areas to adjust the contrasts.

Batman, Robin, Joker © DC Comics.

After the basic colors are laid in, I am ready to fill in the black areas, which will give the drawing some “punch.” The background is mostly black, so I leave the Joker’s hair till the end, after the black background is drawn in. Use the thick wedge tip to apply the black boldly, and the brush or fine point tip only to get a clean edge around the figures. That’s what is great about these markers­­—they have either a brush tip or a fine point on one end, and a thicker chisel tip on the opposite end. The chisel tip makes filling in large areas go pretty fast.




into the MOLLY DANGER ZONE Interview conducted by Mike Manley and transcribed by Sean Dulaney DRAW!: You bumped into my buddy Jamar recently at a show. Was it in Brooklyn or something? Jamal Igle: It was in Harlem at the Black Comic Book Festival. DRAW!: How was that as an event? JI: It was insane. I went last year, and it was nowhere near as crowded as it was this year, and they actually had twice the amount of space. They are quickly outgrowing the Schomburg Library, so they are going to have to figure out something for next year. DRAW!: This is happening at every convention: they’re growing and growing and outgrowing their spaces. JI: Absolutely. The idea of comic books in the public sphere has sort of been re-energized. I think it’s not really so much we’re bringing new people in. We’re bringing back the lapsed Catholics of the comic book world. [laughter] But I also think you have to give Marvel a lot of credit for this. The Marvel movies have really done a lot to put the idea of superheroes back into kids’ heads. My daughter is almost eight, and the boys in her class are all about the Marvel superheroes. DRAW!: I teach a high school illustration class, and now you get kids who just know the characters from the movies. It’s a different fan. JI: I would agree with that. I used to teach at the Art Students League, and a lot of the students I had in my class were people who were either just getting into the Marvel stuff because of

the movies, or they were heavy into manga and anime. And I could definitely see that anime was… not really waning…. DRAW!: It’s “normal” now. JI: Yeah. More mainstream. DRAW!: I was having a talk with my students, giving them a little history of manga and anime, and saying, “Japanese artists were influenced by the Americans like Disney and the old comic strip artists. So you’re being influenced by [American artists], but as seen through their cultural lens.” JI: Right, exactly. When I was in high school, the big thing was stuff like Appleseed and Macross—Akira especially. Katsuhiro Otomo was huge with the guys I went to art school with. That started to seep its way into what a lot of the guys were doing back in the ’90s. I went to the High School of Art and Design. You’ve met [comic book artist] Buzz, right? DRAW!: Yes. JI: Buzz was the guy running our [school] comic book club, and he had a hook-up. It was a place in Manhattan that used to import videotapes from Japan and rent them out to people. So we got to see Akira, Macross, Project A-Ko. We got to see Bubblegum Crisis before most people had even heard of this stuff. DRAW!: Would you say that was a big influence on you at the time? JI: I don’t know that it was. I think from everything I was exposed to at the time, the two Japanese artists that had the biggest influence on me were [Katsuhiro] Otomo with Akira and Masamune Shrirow with Appleseed, because there was



Layouts for pages 7 and 8 of Molly Danger Book 1. After sketching and scanning, Jamal digitally places his photo reference directly into the panels of the layout. Molly Danger © Jamal Igle

such an illustrative quality to their work that I was immediately attracted to. I was already a huge fan of guys like Steve Rude, Jerry Ordway, José Luis García-López, and Dave Stevens. I was always more drawn to the illustrative side of comics, so those two artists in particular just sort of fell into my wheelhouse, because of the level of detail, and how lush their work was. DRAW!: I like all different kinds of cartooning styles, but Otomo is probably the guy that, his work—except for the faces—is the most naturalistic in a way. JI: I would agree. There’s much more of a cartoony quality to his faces, but the amount of actual raw emotion that he’s able to pull out of that cartooniness just works so well with the rest of his style. DRAW!: I’ve always thought he was akin to Moebius from that standpoint. Because Moebius did stuff that was a lot more cartoony, and then he could do stuff that was more straight. But his straightest stuff had a bit of cartooniness to it. JI: That’s true. There are parts of Blueberry that definitely have a comedic bent to it. I don’t know if that was intentional, or if it was just something that came out, but it was definitely there.



DRAW!: So you were more influenced by the manga artists than the cartoons, per se? JI: Yeah. And even now there’s sort of a disconnect for me with the cartoons as opposed to the actual manga. I think that that’s just my prejudice when it comes to illustration in general. I learned to respect more cartoony styles as I got older, but when I was in my formative years, I sort of eschewed the Disney, super-cartoony looking styles in almost a snobbish way. DRAW!: Like it wasn’t serious enough? JI: Yeah. I definitely thought it wasn’t serious. I had a very purist point of view when it came to illustration and figure work. I’ll give you the perfect example. I hated Jack Kirby’s work for decades. DRAW!: There was no access point for you? JI: No. My access point actually wasn’t any of the Marvel work. It was Fighting American. I got a copy of the Fighting American hardcover collection, and I was just like, “This can’t possibly be the same guy.” But then it forced me to look at Kirby’s later Marvel work, and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Because I realized the Kirby that everybody loved was the guy who was already 20 years into his career and had figured out the formula.

Pencils for page 7 of Molly Danger. Molly’s facial expressiong in panel 1 has been changed to be more dramatic. And the rotation of the helicopter blades has been been changed to make for a better composition. Molly Danger Š Jamal Igle



Page 7 inks by Juan Castro, and colors by Romulo Fajardo. Molly Danger © Jamal Igle

DRAW!: Kirby was what, 40 or 41 when he started Fantastic Four? He was approaching middle age already. JI: He had figured it out. I look at Kirby’s later work—the Fantastic Four stuff, the Fourth World stuff—and now I appreciate everything he did. Because this was a guy who figured out how to get the most power out of minimalism. And he was able to convey lines and convey ideas and blow people away. It took me years [to realize it]. I would get into arguments with people, because the first thing I had ever seen of Kirby was the Super Powers mini-series. DRAW!: Where you can see his decline in health, or maybe his eyesight, actually affect the drawings, and sometimes they looked like they were skewed, like there was optical distortion. Gene Colan’s work was like that towards the end, and I think that was because he was having issues with his eyesight. JI: It was kind of the same thing with Jim Aparo. And if the later stuff is your entry point, after they’re older and they’re in failing health, or whatever their personal circumstances…. Towards the end of Aparo’s life, he did this Flash story for DC [a 14-page story in Flash: Born to Run, 1997]. I was working there at the time, and I was hearing rumors around the office where they were saying, “We’re trying to get him something but nobody wants to work with him.”



DRAW!: It was probably hard for guys like him and Curt Swan and Gil Kane. Mike Carlin was one of the few guys who would give Gil Kane work towards the end, because things had really changed, and they would say, “Put Kevin Nowlan on Gil Kane, and we’ll make it look more like Kevin Nowlan and less like Gil Kane.” And it’s like, “You can’t make Gil Kane look like anyone but Gil Kane.” [laughter] If you’re coming into Kirby now, and you’re a fan of anime or of Jim Lee or some artist like that, for some people it’s very hard to find an access point. I always loved Frank Robbins from the very beginning, but I know people who absolutely hated Frank Robbins’ stuff. But now, being older, they love Frank Robbins’ stuff. JI: I think for certain things you grow to appreciate them. I’ll give you a perfect example. I had to grow to appreciate Alex Toth. I didn’t get what he was doing. For a very long time I sort of dismissed him as, “Oh, he’s the guy who designed the Super Friends. I don’t want to have anything to do with that.” DRAW!: Were you seeing his character designs? Were you aware of the Zorro material or any of that other stuff? JI: I saw reprints of that stuff later, and that was the stuff that really turned me around. Part of what really did it was when Steve Rude was doing that Space Ghost special back in

Layouts for Molly Danger book 1, pages 27 and 28. Molly Danger © Jamal Igle

JI: It depends on the project. I just finished a project that I did layouts by hand on paper, brought them into and tightened them up in Manga Studio. Molly Danger I’m going to be drawing by hand and scanning them to send to Juan [Castro] so he can print them out on blueline and ink them. DRAW!: Do you like to have a physical original? I can work digitally, I do work digitally, but I still prefer to have an original I can sell later on. JI: I’m still very much an analog in that regard. I’ve got the equipment. I color digitally now. I ink digitally occasionally. I’ll do some things digitally, but I’m like you in that I like having that artwork, that page at the end of the day. Even if I’m just penciling something that has to be scanned and sent. The inker I’ve been working with the last couple of years actually lives in Tijuana. But he’s such a good inker, I don’t really mind. And it’s good for him because he’s been able to sell his inked pages. I have all the Molly Danger pencils, and I’m not planning on selling them. DRAW!: So you alter your process depending on the job. The stuff you’re going to be doing for Black, are you going to do like Molly Danger? JI: That’s going to be by hand. Definitely by hand. Because



it’s a more modest style book, I just feel like that’s more the approach I should take with it—just to do it by hand and have that tactile feeling. Because you never know what’s going to come out as you’re working on pages. I’m just getting the handle on working in Manga Studio. I think there’s a slickness to Manga Studio that’s good, but it’s not the same. DRAW!: They probably need a Klaus Janson setting. JI: No, not at all. [laughs] It ends up being much... cleaner. I like working on a paper with a tooth to it. I work on 500 Series vellum Strathmore Bristol. I like drawing on that stuff. I like feeling the drag of the pencil across the paper. I like tring to figure out how to not let my sable hair brush split on me. [laughter] DRAW!: I did a series of Star Wars books last year, and they wanted everything inked digitally. And when you’re dealing with a book like that, it has gazillions of notes, “Move this eye. Move this foot. Tilt this stormtrooper.” If you were doing that traditionally, you would go insane with paste-overs. JI: Absolutely. And in that regard, that’s definitely the advantage of working digitally. But again, at least with this stuff, I’m the final arbiter of whether it looks good or not. I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s nitpicks.

DRAW!: One of the things I see on social media is some black artists feel that they don’t get as much love as they would like from the black community. Do you feel that people are coming up to you because you’re a black artist and they’re looking up to you because they’re black and thinking, “Wow. You made it. Can I get some advice from you?” or are people coming up because they just like your work? JI: There’re definitely people who are coming to me because I’m a black artist and I’m a visible presence. Which I thank them for, because I wouldn’t have that presence if they weren’t picking up my work. And then there are those people, again, like you were saying, who are just fans of my work. I’ve run into more than a few people who didn’t know I was black even though my name is Jamal. [laughs] But I’ve also had the opposite, too. I’ve had other black artists dismiss me because they see me as “selling out” for whatever reason. DRAW!: Is this like the band they knew from the local bar who got their record contract and now, “You suck!”? JI: Well, no. It’s not even that. It’s a more personal thing. Because you’ve got like, the “Hotep brothers” where everything is “super-black”—like, “If it’s not from the motherland, it’s not worth anything.” DRAW!: It’s not political enough for them, and that way it’s not about life? JI: Yeah. Or I’m not. Because I don’t carry that line, you know? That’s not how I was raised. You look at me, and my Juan Castro’s inks over Jamal’s pencils for Molly Danger book 1, page 27. wife is white and French—from Paris. Molly Danger © Jamal Igle My daughter is mixed race. I don’t have a discernible accent of any kind. I rarely ever use slang. If I do, it’s nerd slang more than anything else. I JI: I absolutely agree with you. And I agree with that idea. I think that’s part of a bigger thing. Right now we’re in the don’t fit the stereotype that they want me to fit into. I was trying to have a conversation on Facebook, and this throes culturally of growing pains, where everybody is lookguy goes, “Oh, you need to get outta here and go back to talk ing for their own validation and representation, and they feel to your white friends. We know how you do.” And it’s like, like they have more of a voice. They want to get their position and their ideas out there where the world should see, where “Okay….” they should be acceptable. And I’m like that too. I am cerDRAW!: At least in the current internet culture, that seems tainly very vocal in my opinions, much to my mother’s occato be a running dialogue I see fairly often. Maybe I’m wrong, sional chagrin. [laughter] Although she does find me very but I always felt with cartooning, it’s sort of colorless. As a entertaining from what I’ve been told. kid, I had no idea Jack Kirby was a Jew, or Keith Pollard was black, or Ron Wilson. Either you liked the art, or you liked the DRAW!: There seems to be these different arguments out there. You’ve got “Black Cartoonists Matter,” and you’ve story, or you didn’t.




by Bret Blevins & Mike Manley


Darkhawk © Marvel Characters, Inc.



Your Ideas


eeting and mentoring many artists between my teaching, guest speaking, lecturing, and conventions, one of the questions that I am asked the most by younger artists—some just starting out or already gaining footholds and involved in all sections of the entertainment business (comics, animation, illustration)—is, “How do I make my work better?” Quickly followed by: “How do I make my work cooler?” and, “Is there a shortcut of some kind to making my work stand out, or have a style? The truth is there are no short cuts in art, as much as we all would like there to be, but nope—honest, consistent practice is the only way. You will end up with a style no matter what as a natural part or growing and expressing yourself. There are no tricks like the click-bait ads that promise to burn away unwanted belly fat in ten days. In art there are no quick patches, but knowledge gained can have a fast effect on your process. Building skills takes practice and devotion, which should bring with it the growing skillset we all want. Like the smith in his forge working his steel, where each plunge in the furnace and folding makes the metal stronger, or the martial artist who builds up her skills and gains each belt based on skills she mastered with the previous one. Developing your art is an organic process, thus one artist’s abilities and advantages (perceived or not) may be another artist’s weaknesses, and one artist’s natural way of solving problems doesn’t always work for another artist. We are not all equal or start equal distances from the goal.



This is a personality issue in my experience, not always a technical one. An artist’s personality type has a lot to do with their progress in so far as their ability to work hard and sacrifice, and to get over disappointments or frustrations and go at it again. That said, having done as much work as I have in my career in such a wide variety of styles and subject matter, I have come up with some strategies that seem to work for me, and which I can employ across the board in any job that requires composition as the key element. Composition affects drawing: the complexity, the shapes, clarity, mood, and the perspective. Theses are the most important factors to start with and are the most important to me. The composition must work beyond the prejudices of any personal style or school of drawing. It’s more “thinking” about what works pictorially for the whole image than about the anatomy of an arm or style of crosshatching. The young artist often trumps these fundamentals with worrying about style first. It all starts right as you begin to put something down on paper—the “conversion stage” as I like to call it. This is where you take an idea—a script page, a description of an event, a cover image, etc.—and turn it into a drawing and storytelling composition. A script or a description, no matter how well it is written or expressed, is still a very abstract thing until it’s put down on paper, whether in a comic, a storyboard, or an illustration. It’s very open to interpretation, and that interpretation starts with the roughest of scribbles or thumbnails which give it flesh,

Darkhawk © Marvel Characters, Inc.

as it were, on paper. That interpretation is based on the mind, personality, skills, and imagination of each individual artist. With a cover, you have to take several factors into account, like the logo and other cover dressing (any copy, banners, UPC codes, etc.), and eye flow or direction. In general, if there is action on the cover it should lead the eye from left to right, as this is the direction way we read. In essence, this also visually leads the reader to open the book.

My first three cover thumbs for Darkhawk #5 (see top of previous page) had Darkhawk facing off against Evilhawk, who we introduced in that issue as a new main adversary. The fight took place in the Museum of Natural History in New York City, and this allowed me to play with the idea of having the T. rex skeleton on the cover. I should mention, at the time I did these thumbnails, the way Marvel was structured, I would suggest a cover for a book by doing three cover concepts I would draw up and fax to the editor so we could talk them over. The covers were also run by John Romita, who was still the art director at the time, for final approval as well. But before I submitted any designs to Marvel, I would go through a self-editing/design process on the covers, starting with a series of thumbnails, then doing up the final sketch. This is what I call the “Plusing Stage” of a concept, idea, drawing, or design. You might ask what this “plusing” means

exactly. In short it is the stage in your design process where you look at your design or sketch and ask yourself, “How can I possibly make this idea better?” Here are some questions to ask yourself: • Is the image too average looking? • Are the poses clear but boring? • Is the composition too even or equal? • Do the figures and other elements overlap well? • Is the image confusing? • Is it too obvious? • Will the image entertain and/or grab the reader? • Does the image “sell” the idea? To answer any or all of these questions requires more sketching to prove whether the first sketch was sound or not. I will often take the camera for a spin through the drawing. I’ll try reversing the shot, lowering or raising the POV, and pushing the perspective, which changes the shapes in the composition. I’m always conscious of not simply accepting an idea, but exploring it to see if it works or if I can improve it—“plus it”—in any way. Sometimes you get stuck and just spin your wheels, and sometimes you decide the newer sketch is better. Sometimes after many sketches, you may decide you like your first idea best. But the worst is when you like one version and the editor likes another of the sketches submitted. That is always tough, but part of being a commercial artist is accepting that the client is always right. Luckily that hasn’t happened to me more than once or twice. Above are the two final cover ideas I submitted to the editor, taking even one more pass here. At left is the final cover to the issue. My core idea was as simple as two arrows clashing together. I still like the one with the T. rex and think it works, but the editor chose the other design, which shows off the character more—which considering this was a new book I am sure was his thinking.



At right are two cover roughs I did for Deathlok #14. They both work, but upon consideration I felt that the first one, while clear, was also a bit even, which made it look less like Deathlok was in danger. The second was good as well, but I think the chosen sketch was better, as we get a full shot of ’Lok, and the monster seems much more of a threat, thus “plusing” the idea (which many a good comic cover uses to sell a book) that the character might die or be critically hurt or defeated. Below is the final cover for the book, based on the chosen sketch. Now the monster looms over Deathlok, making him dominate compositionally.

There were a lot of possibilities for the cover of Darkhawk #4 with a storyline that had Darkhawk in a jail, which you can see in the first sketch (next page, bottom left). But after talking over the idea more, I did a series of cover sketches (next page, bottom right) which resulted in the finished cover shown below.



l Characters, Inc.

Darkhawk © Marve

Deathlok © Marvel Characters, Inc.

UNDER REVIEW KARMA CHAMELEON (PENS)! ello again to all and sundry! Welcome, once again to WHAT IS IT? the last rest stop on your way to the art shop, your The Chameleon range of markers (though they are marketed friendly neighborhood Crusty Critic has swung back DVSHQVZKLFKWKH\LQGHHGDUHFRQVLGHULQJPDUNHUVE\GHĂ€QLinto town to save you supply shop shock and assuage your tion are a type of pen) are alcohol-based in the spirit of Copic fears with some good ol’ fashioned art tool advice. brand markers, which allow the artist to effectively use a One of the best things to happen in years has been the small number of colors to replicate a different range of results prevalence of social media. Yes, it’s not new, per se, but now by diluting the markers’ color and creating fades that build almost everyone has some form of it—how far we have come up to a strong tone. Imagine using the art technique of water to have the internet in our pockets! This is great for network- colors but with markers! It’s a bit complicated to explain, but LQJDQGĂ€QGLQJRXWDERXWSURGXFWWKDWQRUPDOO\\RX¡GQHYHU that’s my crusty cross to bear here. Let’s continue. have the ability to know about! Technology has even spilled into the use of art supplies WHAT DOES IT DO? and the act of mark-making. This critic has spent past articles The very nice blokes over at Chameleon responded to my ruminating about art tech and tools, software and styli, butIFwe crusty query samples a while ago, after I saw a demo YOU ENJOYED THISfor PREVIEW, CLICK THE LINKofTO ORDER THIS at work, and sent me their 22 Pen always come back to the old chestnuts, a tool in hand solving online these markers ISSUE IN PRINT ORSet DIGITAL FORMAT! problems on paper. Deluxe to try out. This issue, your crusty compatriot has received samples The markers feature a double-ended design which is now from a new British company, Chameleon Art Products, of a DQLQGXVWU\VWDQGDUG(DFKPDUNHUKRXVHVDĂ€QHDQGPHGLXP new marker that tries to solve the problem a lot of artists on a Ă€EHUHGJHGWLSRQHLWKHUVLGHRIWKHWRRODQGLQVLGHWKHFDS budget want to solve: How can you get the biggest stretch out there is a white felt-tipped brush-pen styled device, which of a set of tools without going broke? LVĂ€OOHGZLWKDOFRKROWRP\FUXVW\JXHVV7KHPDJLFRIWKLV Their answer: Chameleon Color Tones pens (there’s a marker system happens when you take your marker and lock demo video you can check out on their website at http://www. the cap down, effectively making the alcohol and color marker The pens are available online and also tips “kiss,â€? which then begins to draw the color out of your through brick-and-mortar retailers, but the best price I found marker, leaving you with a temporary loss of pigment. After was through this, you begin to color, and voila—your “watered downâ€? pigment creates a fade on your surface. If you lay down your DRAW! THE “CRUSTY CRITIQUEâ€? Super-star DC penciler mark while#32 the color builds back up as the original color ink HOWARD PORTER demos his creative SYSTEM Ă€JKWVLWVZD\EDFNLQWRWKHWLSWKHUHVXOWLVDFRORUZDVKÂł process, and JAMAL IGLE discusses everything from storyboarding to penciling as he gives a breakdown of his working methods. Plus These product reviews will be judged under my trusty there’s ‘beret’ light supplies, Crusty Critic JAMARcolor NICHOLASto reviewing JERRY ORDWAY showing the Ord-Way of doing comics, and scale from a one-beret score (not worth the time/money/ Sounds cool right? It is, really, and the set is gorgeous. Comic Art Bootcamp lessons with BRET BLEVINS and Draw! editor MIKE MANLEY! I’d give the Chameleon Color Tones a four-and-a-half-beret HIIRUW WRĂ€YHEHUHWV DFUXVW\VXFFHVV%X\LWLPPHGLDWHO\RU (84-page FULL-COLOR magazine) $8.95 buy as much as you can carry). Let’s get to it! score for the packaging alone, but you don’t buy markers (Digitaljust Edition) $3.95




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DRAW! Comic Books - #32  

This is a free sample of DRAW! Comic Books issue "#32" Download full version from: Apple App Store:

DRAW! Comic Books - #32  

This is a free sample of DRAW! Comic Books issue "#32" Download full version from: Apple App Store:

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