NUMBER 11 SUMMER 2005
IN THE U.S.A.
THE PROFFESSIONAL “HOW-TO” MAGAZINE ON COMICS AND CARTOONING
IN THIS ISSUE! IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW AND DEMO WITH THE MOTH’S
STEVE RUDE FROM HAPPY TREE FRIENDS TO PARADISE WITH ANIMATOR
ROQUE BALLESTEROS FROM ZITS TO POLITICS WITH PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING CARTOONIST
JIM BORGMAN PLUS! DRAW!’s REGULAR TUTORIALS BY
ALBERTO RUIZ, BRET BLEVINS, and MIKE MANLEY!
THE PROFESSIONAL “HOW-TO” MAGAZINE ON COMICS & CARTOONING WWW.DRAWMAGAZINE.COM
SUMMER 2005 • VOL. 1, NO. 11 Editor-in-Chief • Michael Manley Designer • Eric Nolen-Weathington Publisher • John Morrow Logo Design • John Costanza Proofreaders • John Morrow & Eric Nolen-Weathington Transcription • Steven Tice
COVER STORY INTERVIEW WITH THE DUDE STEVE RUDE
For more great information on cartooning and animation, visit our Web site at: http://www.drawmagazine.com
Front Cover Illustration by Steve Rude
CARTOONING POLITICAL CARTOONIST AND ZITS! ARTIST JIM BORGMAN
SUBSCRIBE TO DRAW! Four quarterly issues: $20 US Standard Mail, $32 US First Class Mail ($40 Canada, Elsewhere: $44 Surface, $60 Airmail). We accept US check, money order, Visa and Mastercard at TwoMorrows, 10407 Bedfordtown Dr., Raleigh, NC 27614, (919) 449-0344, E-mail: email@example.com ADVERTISE IN DRAW! See page 2 for ad rates and specifications. DRAW! Summer 2005, Vol. 1, No. 11 was produced by Action Planet Inc. and published by TwoMorrows Publishing. Michael Manley, Editor, John Morrow, Publisher. Editorial Address is PO Box 2129, 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 2005 by their respective contributors. Action Planet Inc. and TwoMorrows Publishing accept no responsibility for unsolicited submissions. All artwork herein is copyright the year of production, its creator (if workfor-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 and historical purposes with no infringement intended or implied. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman TM and © 2005 DC Comics • The Hulk TM and © 2005 Marvel Characters, Inc. • The Moth and all related characters TM and © 2005 Steve Rude • Nexus TM and © 2005 Mike Baron and Steve Rude • Joe Paradise TM and © 2005 Wildbrain.com, Inc. • Happy Tree Friends TM and © 2005 Mondo Media • Zits TM and © 2005 Zits Partnership. This entire issue is © 2005 Action Planet Inc. and TwoMorrows Publishing and may not be reprinted or retransmitted without written permission of the copyright holders. Printed in Canada. FIRST PRINTING.
FLASH ANIMATION INTERVIEW WITH JOE PARADISE CREATOR ROQUE BALLESTEROS
ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR TIPS USING SYMBOLS BY ALBERTO RUIZ
DRAWING ON LIFE BY BRET BLEVINS AND MIKE MANLEY
ince the ’80s and his long run on Nexus, Steve Rude has won just about every award the comic industry has to offer, from the Harvey to the Eisner. Steve’s dedication to his craft, along with his legendary sketchbooks, have made him the “artist’s artist” to his peers. Since the first issue of DRAW!, Steve was one of the artists I really wanted to interview for the magazine. I caught up with Steve as he continues to work on his new creatorowned series The Moth, published by Dark Horse. This interview was conducted via phone from Steve’s studio in Arizona.
THE MOTH © AND TM 2005 STEVE RUDE.
—Mike Conducted 5/9/05 by Mike Manley Transcribed by Steven Tice DRAW: When we set up this interview you told me right now you’re in the process of doing layouts for issue #5 of the next mini-series of The Moth. STEVE RUDE: Yeah, it’s going to be six issues. We left off at number four; now we’re going to be doing five through ten, and it all depends on Dark Horse whether it gets picked up or not. The way we did it last time was, we had a special, which was intended to be DRAW! • SUMMER 2005
issue #1, but Dark Horse marketing decided it might be a better sell if we double-whammied them, a special, and then a #1 coming out. DRAW: So you can essentially have two number ones, in a way. SR: That’s right, yeah. I wasn’t crazy about it, because I don’t necessarily subscribe to that kind of thinking marketing people have, but they seemed pretty desperate to sway me. I thought, “Well, let ’em try it. That’s fine. It’s not a big deal.” DRAW: Right, and it does seem today that one of the things you do face is that unfortunate drop-off between issue one and issue two and issue three, and then maybe people come back with issue four or five. Several friends of mine who have done their own self-publishing, or their own mini-series, their own independent books, as well as myself, you deal with that unfortunate drop-off between issue one and two, where everybody orders the first issue, then they immediately slash the orders 30%, 40% sometimes on issue two. And then, down the road, because they’re ordering, say, issue four by the time they’ve actually seen what they’ve sold on issue #1 your numbers may either bump up or not, and then you have to make a hard choice.
SR: Well, that would be great. But the thing is, there’s a problem too. People ask “What are your long-term plans?” I have shortterm plans, and that’s all based on what my conscience tells me I have to do, but now I’m going to do The Moth regardless of whether I’m getting paid to work on it or not. Also because we’ve already let so many months go by after issue #4—that was the last Moth that came out. DRAW: So you don’t want to lose too much time between issues. Basically, you don’t want to give people time to forget about The Moth. SR: That’s exactly right, so going on the assumption that we’re going to have a book, rather than not have one, I want to be ready. And I want to make sure that I can take advantage of whatever commissions, notoriety, interviews, and all that sort of stuff that comes from my comic book work.
THE THUMBNAIL DRAW: So you’re working on issue #5, and you’re in the layout stage, and you’re continuing to work with Gary Martin as the writer and the inker. Is he going to continue to ink, or are you going to ink yourself on some of this next series?
SR: Interesting. So that’s how that works. It’ll pick up with issue #4. DRAW: Well, in the case of someone like you, who people know, and they know your work, it’s different than if, say, you’re someone who is new, or an artist they are not really familiar with. Retailers are ordering the first issue sight unseen. They’re ordering usually the fourth THE MOTH © AND TM 2005 STEVE RUDE. issue by the time they’ve actually sold the first issue, because we have to work so many months ahead. You have to solicit three months ahead. So there’s that whole other aspect of the business that you have to consider, besides just learning how to draw drapery, and foreshortening. [laughs] But, still, I imagine that having the issues done, having all that work done, whether you go through Dark Horse or not, you’ll still find a publisher who’s going to be willing to take the chance, because you have so much material already finished. 4
DRAW! • SUMMER 2005
SR: No, he wants to continue as inker. Gary really wants to do that. DRAW: And I guess that also allows you to just keep concentrating on penciling. It’s hard to stay on schedule doing both inking and penciling. SR: I’m happy to let someone else do the inking. As long as I can see the pages, Mike, after the inker’s done with them. DRAW: So you can make little tweaks? SR: I always make tweaks, yeah. And in some cases even paste over some heads, things like that. DRAW: Now, are you physically sending the pages to Gary to ink, then he’s sending them all back, and you make your correc-
tions, if you need to, and then you send them out to Dark Horse? Or do you send them directly to the colorist, Glenn Whitmore when they are inked? SR: We send them directly to Glenn after that. But I’ll send the pages to Gary, Gary will ink them on the board, and then he’ll send them back to me. And then I’ll make my touch-ups, and then I’ll scan the pages, or, rather, Jaynelle, my wife, will scan the pages, and then get them off to Glenn Whitmore. And then he has electronic files that he’ll color and send to Dark Horse. DRAW: Now, are you lettering on the boards? Are you doing the lettering in illustrator; is that being done later? SR: No, I forgot about that, we’re actually lettering it on the board because I like the way it looks. DRAW: I think it’s great when you have the opportunity to do that, because you can really incorporate the balloon, as you should anyway, into the flow of the art, leading your eye around, as a compositional element. And sometimes you can also make an adjustment. If the balloon ends up being a little bit bigger, you can slightly tweak a head or a hand or something. A little nip and tuck, you can move it a little bit, if you need. THE MOTH © AND TM 2005 STEVE RUDE.
SR: Well, there are production advantages to both, but because I’m an artist, I think in terms of the original art. So rather than no lettering being on the page—that cuts the appreciation in half when you don’t know what people were talking—it’s actually on the boards. DRAW: So you prefer to have the lettering on the board because you like the aesthetic of having the final page, the original, with the word balloons and lettering on it. You like that? SR: Yes, I do. I love that. As do all guys from my generation. DRAW: Although it’s very rare now when that actually happens anymore. The last several jobs that I’ve done, I would say, within the last five years especially, it’s really rare when I actually get a job inhouse to either pencil or ink, that actually has the lettering on it. SR: How do you feel about that, Mike? Having to fill in all those areas that may get covered up? DRAW: It depends. If it’s a plot, in which case I’m sort of always having to guess or make up what the writer is suggesting and then basically play the movie director and make it specific.... Like, “This person is yelling here, and having a conversation with another character, telling them to get out,” etc. I’m having to write dialogue in my head so I can make the character act. Y’know, there’re pros and cons, because if you’re really in sync with the writer, it works out well. But sometimes you’ll draw a page or a sequence, and you had somebody making a gesture or yelling, and the writer has the guy not yelling. And that feels like bad comics, bad acting. In your case, since you’re the head honcho on The Moth, you can have final say. Ideally, I think the balloons should be lettered on the board, and even if it’s not a full script, it should still be set up so that, as the artist, you can control that flow of the balloons. Because a lot of time, when they allow other people to do it—I hate to cast aspersions, but not
PREVIOUS PAGE: Model sheet for one of the Moth’s gadgets. ABOVE: Pencils for The Moth #3, page 1.
every editor or every writer is good at eye flow. SR: No, that’s for sure. But that’s what comics are to me. When you look at a page of art, everything should be on there, like there used to be. Things have been changed over the years. I have nothing against technology, but if it goes against what I think is aesthetically part of what comic books should be, I’m going to go against it. And as long as I can do it, I’d sure like to keep doing it. DRAW: Also, in your case, since you’re in control of the factory, per se, you start it and you end it and you monitor production along the way. That’s a little bit different than if you just get a script from Marvel or DC. Especially from Marvel, where you’re working Marvel-style, say, from the plot. So, touching on that, is The Moth a full script, or is it a plot? Do you and Gary get on the phone and talk things out, and then he types and sends it to you? How do you guys work that out? SR: Well, in the beginning I just kind of briefed Gary on what the whole circumstances of The Moth was all about. I remember originally he thought up very silly things that I thought, “He DRAW! • SUMMER 2005
THE MOTH © AND TM 2005 STEVE RUDE.
CLARITY AND READABILITY DRAW: Like I said, this part of the process is what I find very interesting, because, to a certain extent, this is the most creative part of drawing comics. Because drawing, after a while, once you get your skill to a certain level, is monkey work in a way. I don’t mean that you don’t have to work hard, but still, the most creative part is figuring out the storytelling and the pacing and the reveals, and what’s going to happen. SR: Yeah. Because storytelling is the basic thing that comics are about, before drawing gets involved. That’s why I’ve always worked small like that, because you can tell your storytelling much easier by working small if it’s working right. DRAW: Now, how did you pick that up? Did you come to that on your own, or from reading, or from studying? How did you come up with that idea of doing everything small? SR: I got that from, I think, when I attended Madison Area Technical College, and I had some books that I was looking through, I discovered this whole idea of working small. I know that I had been exposed to the idea of working on these so-called thumbnail things long before that, from the Loomis books. When I came down to really figure out a science to what I had to do to get the best thing, the quickest and the easiest, it always came down to working very, very small. And all my covers are developed the same way, all my painted covers.
DRAW: Right. And I noticed you do a small drawing, then you do a total study. SR: Yeah. I’m just trying to work out readability, for the most part. I’ve already got that sense of what the cover’s supposed to look like, just from us being artists and all, and then it’s just a matter of working out the right poses. But then everything has to be clearly read. The values have to work, and the colors have to work, so that you’ve got a sense of focus going on. So if you’ve got a cast of 1000 characters running toward you over a hill with rifles and stuff on the cover, it’s still got to be easily read. And a lot of people maybe that haven’t been to art school, or haven’t bothered to really reflect on the importance of this readability factor no matter what’s going on in the painting, they don’t understand that all the detail has to work in the service of readability. DRAW: Oh, yeah, everything is in service of the story or of clarity. SR: Yeah, of clarity, right. I’m just so glad, Mike, that I grew up in the era of Jack Kirby being at his peak. But even in the ’40s and ’50s, he drew unbelievably complex covers. Especially during the war days, when everyone put in everything and the kitchen sink, all those casts of thousands, all these things going on. Things that are not even done on comics covers nowadays. Now it’s just, all Marvel wants is a big pin-up shot of their character, and there’s no sense of storytelling going on whatsoever. DRAW: I’m always struck when I walk along the shelf [in a DRAW! • SUMMER 2005
Politicians, teenagers, and... ARTWORK ©2005 JIM BORGMAN.
Conducted by Jamar Nicholas Transcribed by Steven Tice Edited by Mike Manley
artoonist Jim Borgman is a rare breed: he’s a full time political cartoonist, an occupation which is unfortunately becoming more and more rare at newspapers across the country. But that alone isn’t what makes him rare amongst his fellow cartoonists. Borgman has reached the peak of his profession, and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize (1991), but he is also a four-time Ruben Award-winner for his hugely popular newspaper strip Zits, which follows the life of a typical 15-year-old, Jeremy, and his friends. Now each job alone would be enough to keep your average cartoonist super-busy fighting the dreaded deadline, editors, and political hacks, but doing both a daily cartoon and a political cartoon puts Borgman in the rare eschelon of cartoonists like Mike Peters (Mother Goose and Grimm) and the late Jeff McNelly (Shoe) who both did a daily cartoon strip and biting, funny political cartoons. DRAW! interviewer and local Philadelphia political cartoonist (The Tribune) Jamar Nicholas caught up with the hard working Jim Borgman and conducted this interviewed with him from his office at the Cincinnati Enquirer. —Mike Manley
JAMAR NICHOLAS: Do you do a lot of interviews?
JIM BORGMAN: Well, any more it’s mostly when the comic strip gets in a new newspaper, then we do something usually with the local paper that’s launching it. But, yeah, I’ve done my share over the years. JN: Give us a quick recap on your background, where you’re from, your family situation. JB: I was born in 1954 in Cincinnati, Ohio, so I work here in my own hometown. I graduated from Kenyon College in central Ohio in ’76, and it was midway through my senior year that I kind of naïvely bumbled my way into my hometown paper and asked if they wanted a political cartoonist. I’d just started to get interested in political cartooning a year or two earlier and was drawing for the school paper up there. Just green as could be, but lo and behold, the longtime cartoonist for the Enquirer, L.D. Warren, had retired a year or two earlier, and they were sort of passively keeping their eyes open for anybody new. It’s like all the forces converged and I was standing there and they looked at my work and hired me to begin right after I graduated in June of ’76. So I took one week off and then started in on the same dead-end job that I’m still working today. [laughs] That was almost 30 years ago. DRAW! • SUMMER 2005
So I grew up here in town. My dad was a sign painter, very much a blue-collar kind of life. I have a younger brother and two older sisters. Three of the four siblings have ended up in the arts. My brother is a designer for the St. Louis Post Dispatch. I have a sister in New Jersey who’s more of a florist now, but she’s done fashion design. I started editorial cartooning here for the Enquirer, in June of ’76, and then, in June of 1997, Jerry Scott and I launched Zits, the comic strip, so since ’97 I’ve been doing two jobs. JN: So when you first started working at the Enquirer, how old were you? JB: I would have been 22. JN: Oh, wow. Before you just walked in off the street for that job, were you doing any freelance work? Were you still working on a portfolio? JB: Well, I didn’t really even have time to do any of that. I was a college art student. I was beginning to think about where I’d fit in the world, but really this was the only job I ever had to go out and apply for. I sent out some letters, as I recall, the beginning of my senior year, beginning to check the waters to see if there were any jobs out there. But I really never had to do what most people have to do, auditioning myself and lobbying editors and getting to know who was out there
©2005 JIM BORGMAN AND THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER.
THIS PAGE: Jim’s rough sketch and finished inks for a recent editorial cartoon.
and where the vacancies were. I can hardly believe how lucky I was to essentially wander into a job opening right in my hometown. They hired me, I want to say January of my senior year. So I just finished out the year and graduated and started right here. It was a big shock. I was doing college cartoons for a loving, nurturing little campus, where everything I drew the students kind of applauded. Then all of a sudden I was in front of a larger metropolitan audience, and my voice is very much not the prevailing political philosophy of this city or this region. So suddenly I had grown-up adults calling me on the phone and yelling at me, and that was a strange experience. [laughs] That was baptism by fire. I made it through those first couple of years and got on my feet. JN: Now, when you were in college, did you have more of a fine arts style? Were you really cartoony then? Or did you kind of walk the tightrope between the two worlds? JB: I was an art major, and really most of my thoughts were about drawing noncartoon drawings. I was very much under the mentorship of a great art teacher there, Martin Garhart. And if you looked at those drawings, you did not see an emerging cartoonist in them. It was all very serious, taking myself seriously. And it was really only this shadow side of me that was drawing political cartoons for the school paper, and caricatures, things like that. My main influences, cartooning-wise, at the time, was David Levine, the great caricaturist for the New York Review of Books who employed heavy cross-hatching. I just thought his drawings were so elegant and beautiful, and that was my main influence. And my mom would send me cartoons she clipped out of the newspaper. That was how I started my diet of learning what was out there in the field. She sent me the work of Pat Oliphant and Jeff MacNelly and those are the two editorial cartoonists who were the predominant voices from that era. I started drawing for the school paper, and that was how I began to cut my teeth. JN: Wow, that’s a great story. It’s odd how it just kind of flows, one thing flows into the other, starting off with the school paper, then you started to get an idea of feedback. Was there a lot of feedback on the college campus for your strips?
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JB: Well, I do everything in clusters. I don’t do one editorial cartoon and one comic strip a day. On days when I focus on editorial cartoons, I try to draw two. On days when I focus on the comic strip, I try to do— don’t know how to say it... a batch. A week’s worth of penciling or a week’s worth of inking, or several Sundays, or something like that. My life is very organic. I have this downtown office down here at the paper, and I have the corner of a room at home. And there’s pretty much always work to be done if I find half an hour here and there. Typically I work for a while after the kids go to bed at night, and pretty many hours on the weekend. I like what I do, so it isn’t really that hard, and I don’t feel oppressed by the work, but the fact is, it’s pretty much always with me. THIS PAGE: Jim at his desk in his “little corner of [his] room at home,” along with a POV shot of his desk.
JB: It was gentle feedback. You’ve got to remember, this was this pastoral little college up in central Ohio on this green hilltop. It was a very favorable sort of incubator. So, yeah, people would say, “Hey, that was a great cartoon yesterday,” that kind of thing. And that was it. I just thought, “I’m hot stuff.” Actually, no, I didn’t think that. I was always pretty aware of what I didn’t know. But it was a nurturing kind of hobbit hole. I was lucky to have a year or two of testing my abilities in a nice, safe shire. JN: So now here we are. Tell us a little bit about your daily work schedule. Now, with the editorial strips, are you doing them daily, three times a week? What’s your schedule like? JB: Editorial cartoons, I draw five a week now. I began by drawing six a week back in the day. That was for probably 15 years or so. Then I actually at one point cut down to four a week. A personal thing, my wife passed away, I had to raise my kids; I was trying to scramble and keep things together, and the Enquirer was kind enough to let me drop down to four cartoons a week. I did that for several years. But five has been probably the average over the years. JN: And now, since you’re doing Zits on top of that, how does that factor into your daily schedule?
JN: So with that, you keep nine-tofive office hours. How do you work that, your home versus office? JB: On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I work down at the newspaper office, a very full day, sort of 7:30 to 6:00 kind of a day. And on those three days I always get my editorial cartoons done. Sometimes I get to poke at the comic strip a little bit here and there, but mostly those are the days I focus on editorial cartoons. If big news happens another day of the week, I’m on call, ready to react. The comic strip is Tuesdays, Thursdays, evenings, weekends, whenever it fits in there. JN: So do you have a different type of set-up at your office space versus your home space? Or is it pretty much the same type of deal, like tables, computers, things like that? JB: Well, they feel pretty different. Down here at the newspaper, it’s a newspaper office surrounded by cubicles and reporters and things. I do have an office of my own. And it’s got a great view; I look out at the Ohio River and the stadiums and big, huge sky. I’m on the 19th Floor of the downtown office building, so that feels a lot different than my little corner of my room at home, which looks out into the woods. But if you look at just the basics, yes, I have a drawing board and a computer at both locations. My little nest of materials and things. I don’t have to tote things back and forth when I work. DRAW! • SUMMER 2005
Conducted in 2005 by Mike Manley Transcribed by Steven Tice n the glut of webtoons that sprung up seemingly overnight in the Dot-com boom of the late ’90s, Roque Ballesteros, with his award-winning web cartoon Joe Paradise, was one of the real stand-out talents. After the boom went bust—taking most of the web cartoon sites with it and making new millionares, “thousandaires”—Roque surfed on and has stayed at the forefront of Flash animation as it’s matured and continued to develop as a valid and viable format for animation on both TV and the web. Working from San Francisco with his new company Ghostbot, which he runs with two partners, Roque continues to use Flash as he animates on everything from TV commercials and rock videos, to those cuddly little bundles of violence, The Happy Tree Friends. I meet Roque last year at Comic-Con International: San Diego and was immediately floored by the demo DVD he had with him. Being a big fan of Joe Paradise, it was great to get to talk with Roque and show more of his work and that of the mysterious men of Ghostbot. —Mike Manley
JOE PARADISE ©2005 WILDBRAIN.COM, INC.
DRAW: This is the typical question I always ask artists I interview, but I’ll ask you the same thing: Were you into comics and animation as a kid, and when did you decide that this was what you wanted to do as a job? ROQUE BALLESTEROS: Definitely! I loved comics since I was a wee lad. I think the first comic I owned was a Jack Kirby FF. Then the Uncanny X-Men was my book for the longest time. I’d watch animation all the time—three o’clock was the golden hour of my afternoon because I’d watch Transformers, He-Man, Thundercats, SpiderMan and his Amazing Friends, anything and everything. I even loved the animated bits on
Sesame Street. I think they burned a hole in my subconscious. So the story goes, one day in seventh grade, me and a buddy wanted to go watch a Jean Claude Van Damme movie... I think it was Cyborg. My mom caught wind of our plan and said, “Why don’t you go watch The Little Mermaid? Of course this was a rhetorical question because basically she was forcing us to go watch the less violent Disney film over the blood-and-guts neo-apocalyptic flick. So, we reluctantly went. As I sat and watched that movie, I found I was wrapped up in the story and the characters and I forgot that I was watching animation. I distinctly remember one moment that I caught myself and thought, “Wait a minute—someone had to draw all of that?” I thought that was the coolest thing and I realized I wanted to do that when I grew up.
physically cutting the film and all that kind of stuff. We weren’t really technologically on top of the bar, so I didn’t know that much about Flash when I got out of school. I went straight from RISD to a commercial animation studio in Boston called Olive Jar Animation Studio. I just had a brief stint there. I was there for maybe a month and a half, and I was animating a commercial for Kraft Singles. [laughter] The thing about Olive Jar was since they were close in proximity to Providence, they tended to get a lot of RISD grads in their pool of talent, so a lot of grads went straight there, which is what happened to me. So it was like you got thrown into the pool of commercial animation. I wouldn’t say I was that prepared for it. It was going from animating your own fancy artsy-fartsy student film to animating on a commercial. But definitely it was a good experience. DRAW: And I’m sure the biggest difference is the time crunch, because on a commercial you probably have to really crank it out. RB: Yeah, yeah, for sure. And it was kind of crazy because I actually started that job a little bit before I graduated, just a few weeks before I graduated, so myself and another pal of mine were actually commuting back and forth from Providence to Boston to work. Basically since our finals were over, we didn’t really have that much schoolwork to do, we had some gaps in our schedules, and we could commute back and forth. It was insanity; it was really, really crazy. DRAW: So while you’re working at Olive Jar, and working on commercial stuff, were you starting to develop things like Joe Paradise, or think of your own projects? Were you getting gems
RB: Yeah. I don’t want to knock my school, but I guess every school has its weaknesses. One of the weaknesses, I thought, of RISD [Rhode Island School of Design] was they weren’t the most technologically-savvy when I was there. It was great because they were really focusing on the traditional foundation pencil-and-paper kind of work, gritty film editing, ABOVE: Joe Paradise design model. RIGHT: Storyboards for Episode 16: “The Stranger” of Joe Paradise. NEXT PAGE TOP: Miss Hush pitch model.
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JOE PARADISE ©2005 WILDBRAIN.COM, INC.
DRAW: So when you graduated from art school, where did you go next? Because at that time in the late ’90s I guess Flash was starting to come up, and was growing as fast as the web was growing then.
LEFT: Design test image. BOTTOM: Rough and final image for a design test done for Nickelodeon’s Xs series. RIGHT: Bombaby pin-up.
of it; it was something like Ninja Caveman. [laughter] I think the pilot was produced, but I’m not sure if it was picked up as a series or not. I haven’t talked with Dave Fremont in a while. But he was great. He was cool, because we were two creators in the same room, we were doing totally different shows, and we were just kind of sharing insight and coming from two different places. We were such a small crew, that whole dot-com thing, that it was like a little family there.
ARTWORK ©2005 ROQUE BALLESTEROS.
DRAW: Well, I think that maybe within five years the Internet cartoons will come back, because the web’s still growing as an entertainment destination and the media keeps merging more and more, the Internet with TV—already the viewership for TV is eroding as more and more people in the evening spend time on the Internet playing games, or writing blogs, or seeking to entertain themselves. And the idea that I think helped kill the Internet cartoon, which killed the Internet anyway, or set it back, was the idea that was being pushed back in the late ’90s, early 2000s, that everything was free, and that you never had to pay for anything on the web. That idea, I think, has gone now. But I know at that
ARTWORK ©2005 ROQUE BALLESTEROS.
time it was like, “Well, why should I pay for that? The Internet’s for free! I should get everything for free!” RB: “Because there’s 40 other shows for free, why would I pay for that one?” DRAW: Yeah, “Why would I pay ten cents for your cartoon when I can get that other cartoon for free?” Then there was that guy doing doodie.com, I don't know if he's still doing that. Free poop jokes every day, and he was getting Hollywood interest. RB: [laughs] I love the Internet! DRAW: He was supposedly talking with, I don’t know, the likes of Tom Hanks or, y’know, Ivan Reichman, who’s going to make Doodie.com the Movie. [laughter] DRAW! • SUMMER 2005
or this fun assignment I wanted to give the cover the look of the silkscreen posters from the WPA era [Works Progress Administration, 1935-1943, an arts/information program created by the government to provide economic relief from the Great Depression]. I went off to experiment with textures, using the Symbols feature in Illustrator.The idea is not to fool the viewer into thinking the end result is an actual painting, but to sort of soften the digital feel of a native vector picture.
By Alberto Ruiz
The drawing featured on this page was my first idea for the finished cover. I like it a lot, but I wanted to use the actual cover assignment to apply the Symbols palette goodies built into Adobe Illustrator CS. I braced myself for a lot of trial and error, since this was my first time using Symbols, but to my surprise, the Tools and Symbols palettes were intuitive and user-friendly.
ARTWORK ©2005 ALBERTO RUIZ.
Before I started working in Adobe Illustrator, I put together a comprehensive color sketch in Photoshop.The final image ended up a lot different than the comp [see below], but this was needed to minimize the color and shading guesswork. I worked out the color planes, highlights, and shadow areas, and even the logo placement.
I was bent from the beginning on using an “all flower” pattern, and I carry this idea right towards the end. Eventually I found that it was way too busy to have the girl’s dress and the background competing with each other for attention.
Fortunately for me, I had created a few flower repeat patterns for surfer trunks back in my garment district days, so I had a few designs to choose from.
For the sake of this demonstration, however, and to show you how easy it really is to generate a pattern in Illustrator, I re-drew and put together a new “tossed” flower repeat based on the old designs.
As with most of my illustrations involving preliminary drawings, I scanned the original pencil rough at 150 DPI and saved the image in TIF format so I can then use it as a template. After creating the new document in AI, I placed the file by choosing Place from the File menu with the Template option checked.
ARTWORK ©2005 ALBERTO RUIZ.
I then locked the current layer (Layer 1 or Template) and created a second layer, which I renamed “coloring” and dragged directly underneath.This is the layer in which I’ll be doing most of the work. I used just one layer for this illustration—quite a departure from the 20-plus layer, gargantuan files I normally deal with.
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SHAPE SHIFTER Using the Pen tool, I traced over my sketch, blocking out the main shapes, as usual, working from back to front.The hand with the gun was drawn separately and “pasted in back” of the girl.
ARTWORK ©2005 ALBERTO RUIZ.
Both the top and the skirt were filled with one of the previously created repeat patterns.The pattern itself was “warped” to conform to the girl’s curvaceous back side [see below].
WARP SPEED Rather than re-draw some of the elements of the pattern to follow the girl’s contour, I applied the Fisheye effect to the mask containing the skirt’s flower design.
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ARTWORK ©2005 ALBERTO RUIZ.
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SUPERMAN © AND TM 2005 DC COMICS. HULK © AND TM 2005 MARVEL CHARACTERS, INC.
LEFT: Cover painting for Superman vs. the Hulk. RIGHT: Painting of Madonna from her “Material Girl” days. BELOW: “Gino.”
need about half the pencil mileage on the board before I go in with ink. Which is kind of exciting. But, no, when it comes to the actual drawing comics themselves, I always maintain the same strict standard of drawing as tight as it needs to be to have everything explained to the person who was going to take over from there. And it’s not because there’s people taking over, it’s because it’s part of what I consider professional, the part where I have to show how good I am to myself. DRAW: You just take that as part of your craftsmanship. SR: That’s right, yeah. DRAW: So how many pages do you do a day? Do you have a rule, like “I have to get a page-and-a-half ” or “I have to do two pages?” Do you have a schedule for yourself?
ARTWORK ©2005 STEVE RUDE.
SR: I try to have a schedule, but generally it works out to about a page a day. And sometimes, when research gets heavy, it’s not even that much. Like when I have to draw Clarabelle the elephant, I have to get out the damned How to Draw Elephants books, and I’ll spend at least an hour drawing them. And this is what I go through every time something I’m unfamiliar with has to be drawn. I mean, there’s times when I’ll put my dog, Ram, in a story—my old beagle, Ram. And I need to get out the How to Draw Dogs books.
DRAW: Well, drawing people is hard, and drawing animals is just as difficult as drawing people. And if you don’t draw animals all the time, it’s like going back to square one. It’s easier for me to do things like draw dogs, because I have two dogs, so I’m very familiar with them. But drawing horses or elephants, yeah, that’s something you don’t draw every day. SR: Yeah, I don’t draw them at all. So we’ve got to do what we have to do to draw them as though they’re not hard to draw. And there is also the fact that is important to let people know, you never find the right reference in a book for the animal that you’re drawing.
ARTWORK ©2005 STEVE RUDE.
DRAW: No, you never find exactly the right angle. And usually if you’re thinking of something, you’re in the flow and you’re creating, and you’re thinking, “Oh, I’ve made this really cool angle of the elephant!” And, of course, you always choose a hard angle to draw. SR: Yeah. So that’s why you’ve got to get out a book that tells you how to draw elephants, and then you can get enough down in the hour or so that you’re drawing those elephants to get a sense of how it should look from that angle, and then it can be drawn in there and forget about it. DRAW: Now, since you’re drawing the circus animals and things, do you ever go to the zoo? Do you ever go to the zoo and say, “I’m going to draw the elephants today,” or “I’m going to draw zebras today.” DRAW! • SUMMER 2005
THE MOTH © AND TM 2005 STEVE RUDE.
By Bret Blevins and Mike Manley ruth is a vital part of expressive realistic drawing, and the source of visual truth is observation from life. This article demonstrates the value of keeping a sketchbook with you and using it everyday. In past issues of DRAW! we’ve discussed many aspects of figure drawing, mostly principles of construction, rhythm, proportion, movement, and other concepts directed toward the creation of invented imaginary figures. Usually these drawings are designed as instruments and components of a narrative— designed as characters with personalities that can be manipulated by the artist through a process of “acting on paper.” A storytelling figure artist depends on an understanding of human emotions and attitudes as outwardly revealed by the position of the limbs, head, and torso— collectively referred to as “body language.” These clues, signs and hints about a person’s inward thoughts and emotions that we gather from observation are endlessly vast and varied—no one can store every possible variation of this subtle and often fleeting language in memory. This makes constant sketching from life an invaluable resource for deepening, refreshing and enriching your range and mastery of the revealing gesture. As every serious artist knows, it’s easy to level out into plateaus as you proceed through the years. There are so many demands on your time and energy that one can fall into an unexamined habit of using “stock” shorthand solutions to many picture-making problems. There is nothing inherently wrong with achieving a set of workable skills and then repeating them, but there is so much more territory to explore— more than any one artist could fit into several lifetimes. Returning to the source of all art and experience—your life in your environment—is a constant source of renewal, both of your skills and your spirit. As you’ll see in the pages that follow, making quick sketches from the human life happening around you doesn’t necessarily create glamourous rich works of art (although it can), but a finished masterpiece is not your goal. This realization is important—most artists resist this endeavor because the results are often so fragmentary and unimpressive to the undiscerning eye. You need never show
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these studies to anyone—they are made for your benefit, your improved understanding, as a means of increasing your awareness and ability. The essential strength of sketching from life is the effect is has on quickening your eye and hand—as you gather filled pages of “lightning sketches” you will experience a process of distilling the most important information almost instantly. I call this “essencing”— honing in on the most bare, sparse statement of the key shapes and rhythms. To an appreciative eye, these simple yet remarkably eloquent brief arrangements of lines convey a sense of life and consciousness that is often missing from elaborately constructed and meticulously rendered realistic finished drawings. In turn, both your collection of sketches and the experience carved into your mind by the act of making them will enrich your invented work immeasurably. Sketching the people, animals, objects and places around you is an ever renewable resource for your ongoing growth as an artist. Experimenting with different tools and means of making the sketches will broaden your mastery of techniques and your range of expression, as well as fill your memory with the construction and shapes of innumerable bodies, faces, garments, shoes, handbags, buildings, tables, chairs, cars, trees, plants, clouds... the list is endless. This infusion of ever fresh information will inform all of your work, expanding the breadth and subtlety of choices you can mine as you begin each new artwork, whether a single illustration, a 20-page comic book story or a 1000-frame storyboard. It’s important to remember that the prime result of observation sketching is not the drawings themselves, but the experience gained by making them. Time spent sketching from life is never wasted.
BLEVINS & MANLEY
BRET’S TRAVEL KIT
MIKE’S TRAVEL KIT
Here are my basic field sketching tools: ■ Two sketchbooks—a small cheap pad that I use for marker drawing, and a bigger pad containing nicer paper suitable for more subtle graphite sketches. ■ Two grades of Derwent Graphic graphite pencils: HB and 6B, along with a small pocketknife I use to sharpen their points. ■ A kneaded eraser. ■ A Pilot Razor Point non-waterproof marker and a Pentel Presto Jumbo Correction Pen with a Fine Point tip. —Bret
Here is a picture of my basic “travel kit” that I pack when I go out for life drawing or gesture drawing at a local mall, eatery, book store, etc. I try and keep it light and to the basics, or what I know works well for me. First I buy a decent pad of drawing paper; the Biggie pads are good, but any art supply store will have plenty of selections. I also pack a backboard of some sort for support. I have this nice little masonite board that came with the DC Comics bag they gave us artists in the late ’90s when there was still $$ to me made in comics. I also take along a few clips and also some scrap paper, 8 1/2" x 11". Being comfortable when drawing and having a sure surface is important. You also don’t want your paper falling or shifting, blowing away. Next I pack some pencils—all softer leads, 2B-6B—and a range of markers, too. I like markers, as they force you to commit right away, no shading or messing around, no tenderfoot noodling, nope—BAM! Put down that line, boy! I like to take a range of markers all in the same tonal area—all warm, all cool. I love to use markers that are drying out; I find it’s like drawing with a pice of pastel or charcoal at times, without the mess. I will also pack a few colored pencils, an eraser, and shapener. Lastly, a few black markers, maybe a brush marker—Faber Castle or Pigma are good. I have a little totebag with a nice drawstring that I got with a pack of Mach III razors recently that holds all the supplies nicely. I pack it all in the nice DC bag again, but any nice shoulder bag which isn’t too bulky will suffice. You can get a nice piece of masonite cut for you to size at any local Home Depot or Lowe’s—they usually only charge a small fee. Another money-saving tip is to buy a tackle or tool box to hold your art supplies at the local Home Depot, etc., as it will be at least 50% less expensive than the art box at the art supply shop is. You get basically the same item, and with the cost of art supplies always rising I say save a dollar whenever you can. Lastly, I make sure to wear my magic hat. Yes, it may look like an ordinary baseball cap with Conan O’Brien’s face on it, but this hat engenders smiles and good vibes from those who see me wearing it. People often feel uncomfortable if they see you sketching them, like they are being spied upon, and local mall cops and narcs may be suspicious of a person lurking and sketching, but that happy little hat puts out magic vibes that sooth their worries and allows me to get what I need... a little bit of their soul on paper! Hahaha! —Mike
The tools needed for on-the-spot sketching are simple and cheap. Here you see the travel kits used by Mike Manley and myself. If you have a favorite tool you don’t see here, by all means use it. Simplicity and ease of use are the goal—the key is to keep your tools compact, small and lightweight. Loose paper is fine, but difficult to keep tidy as you accumulate drawings—an inexpensive sketchbook binds your drawings together, is easier to carry about, and provides its own stiff backing to support the pressure of your hand. You can incorporate tonal rendering with graphite or other mediums, though this demands more time than a lightning sketch. This is fine—you want to vary the pace, depending on your mood and the subject. I suggest always starting a session with a marker or pen, though—and usually a moving subject, because this forces you to commit quickly and forcefully—no turning back, no correction! After you’ve warmed up a bit, then you can slow down—but not too much. The idea is to “prime your speed,” and avoid settling into a careful, meticulous approach that defeats the purpose of quick sketching. You can sketch virtually anywhere and everywhere—you’ll see I even made a sketch from the dentist’s chair as the Novocain numbed my jaw! It’s usually best to find a spot that is out of the main stream of traffic or activity, a place where you can draw without attracting the attention of your subjects or other people. (This often happens anyway, but most people are polite about it.) A parked car is a great vantage point, plus you have plenty of room to arrange your equipment, and the steering wheel of most cars provides a comfortable support for your pad or sketchbook. (Car sketching tip; clean the windows before you draw!) Our primary focus is people—figures expressing attitudes. You’ll see in the sketches by Mike and myself printed here that you can capture a surprising amount of essential information in just a few sweeping lines. This may not happen for you immediately if you are new to life sketching, but don’t worry, it will come with a little practice. The point of this method of forced observation under pressure is to eliminate unnecessary or self-consciously mannered marks and rendering, which are the first acquired crutches of the beginning artist. When your are working within the pages of your sketchbook, you are free to be yourself, and release any and all expectations you
have of your drawings or your “style.” This is not about proving skill or repeating habitual learned tricks—it is an adventure of discovery. You are trying to spontaneously translate your impressions into lines and marks that reveal what caught your attention—not what you think you should notice or what you believe another artist might focus on. Working under great pressure of fleeing time is important, and this will occur automatically by attempting to draw people in motion—you are forced to retain impressions of fleeting shapes and arrangements of form or light long enough to glance at your sheet and record them any way you can. There is a quality of mild desperation in this process that will quickly eliminate any hesitancy— before you are quite aware of it you will be honing in on the essential lines and movements that best suggest your desired effect. It’s good to begin with the biggest lines of action running through any pose or motion—try to get a sense of the entire image immediately, then add as much telling information as you are able to squeeze into the few moments the subject or the mental impression that struck you is still available. Avoid detail unless the subject is stationary or your memory impression is clear enough to trust.
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BLEVINS & MANLEY
Now we’ll have a little fun—here some of the lightning sketches have been used as a basis for a more finished drawing. Many details have been embellished from memory, from suggestions found in the original sketch, or through outright invention. But the sense of verity—spacial accuracy, the “rightness” of the body masses and movements, the convincing feeling of reality and personality owe their origin to the sketch and the observation/memory skills developed by sketching. A cautionary word about using photographs: there is a special benefit to drawing from life that is subtle but very important. The spacial relationships, the sense of volume and mass existing in depth and atmosphere is a quality that is unique to our human eyes. No camera can match the three-dimensional effect of seeing with two eyes, and the constantly changing focus of our vision is crucial to a drawing that feels warm and human. A photo, especially a digital snapshot, is massively compressed, and the depth and the optical effect of detail on our visual perception is wildly exaggerated. When drawing from life, looking across and into space, our eyes emphasize what is important to us, and dampen or soften the rest. The non-essential is not necessarily blurred by our actual organ of sight, but the impression on your mind and memory is selective. What interests you the most becomes dominant in your consciousness. In contrast, a camera records every detail indiscriminately, or through the settings and capabilities of its lenses/filters. When a photo is printed, all the information is compressed across the single thin layer of its surface, eliminating all depth and atmosphere, precluding the sensibilities and perceptionsIF ofYOUABOVE: ENJOYED TheTHIS lack ofPREVIEW, ruled edges give these drawings a “human” sense of CLICK THE LINK TO THIS a scene with mathematical precision—the your eye and mind. space—your eyesORDER do not apprehend ISSUE IN PRINT DIGITAL FORMAT! Your natural funcmeasuredOR rules of mechanical perspective create a convincing impression of tion of selection accuracy, but often at the cost of warmth, vitality and atmosphere. The slight and preference is but important shifts in viewpoint that occur as your mobile eyes change focus blocked because when observing the different areas and distances of a real three-dimensional you are looking at a space create a relationship of angles that more closely represent human vision. gross distortion of LEFT: I’ve used a naturally observed life drawing of my son Timothy as the reality. Drawings basis for a stylized caricature—the second image has strengthened the “heroic” made from photos or glamorous aspects of Tim’s head and face. Note how the planes and angles always look airless have been sharpened and exaggerated into greater symmetry—the eyes have and inert, and never been enlarged and the intensity of the gaze heightened. The shapes of the hair have the vitality of have been designed into a strong, pleasing, and instantly clear arrangement. direct observation from life. spective are convincing in a logical way, but they are lacking the mysThis function #11of reality that the direct observation drawings have. teriousDRAW! “essence” of human sightSTEVE alsoRUDE demonstrates his approach to comics & drawing, Of course artist’s arecartoonist free to use all techniques and knowledge ROQUE BALLESTEROS on Flash animation, political applies to inaniJIM BORGMAN on his dailyto comic strip Zits, plus DRAW!’s regusystems create their work, but the immediacy of life observation is mate objects and lar instructors BRET BLEVINS and MIKE MANLEY on “Drawing On LIfe”, more Adobe Illustrator tips with ALBERTO RUIZ, links, often missing from the artwork we see around us today. The conveenvironments— a color section and more! New RUDE cover! niences of living in an electronic age of infinite visual reference and look at the warm (112-page magazine with COLOR) $5.95 stimulation has$3.95 shaped the perceptions of many pairs of eyes around (Digital Edition) sense of spacial http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_59&products_id=314 the limitation of a video screen or printed page. Again, there is no dimension in these reason to reject this wealth of inspiration and enlightenment—but drawings of spaces your eyes and mind are wonderfully subtle instruments of perception and still lifes. no machine can match. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy them! Establishing vanishing points See you next time! and constructing these same scenes Bret and Mike in mechanical per-
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