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FALL 2003 • VOL. 1, NO. 7


Editor-in Chief/Designer • Michael Manley Publisher • John Morrow Logo Design • John Costanza Proofreaders • John Morrow & Eric Nolen-Weathington Transcription • Steven Tice



For more great information on cartooning and animation, visit our Web site at:

Front and Back Cover Illustrations by




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Figurative interpitation by Bret Blevins

FROM THE EDITOR Welcome to DRAW! #7. As the autumn breeze sweeps the first hints of the cooler season past my home office window, it also brings with it the usual change and hectic pace my life seems to take every fall. This August, I started teaching a class on storyboarding and storytelling at the Delaware College of Art and Design, in Wilmington, Delaware. I’m also busy storyboarding on The Venture Bros. for Noodle Soup Productions in NYC. The pilot has already been shown on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. I plan on covering the show production in-depth with a trip to the studio in DRAW! #9. Next year I also plan a crossover with our sister book Write Now!, edited by old Darkhawk partner, Danny Fingeroth. We will do a crossover between DRAW! and Write Now! which will cover the complete process of creating a comic character from designs, plot, pencils, and script to final art and printed comic. It was also great to see so many regular DRAW! readers at this summer’s annual Comic-Con International: San Diego. Once again I shared a table with DRAW! contributor and best pal Bret Blevins, Chris Bailey, John Gallagher, and Randy and JeanMarc Lofficier. Our table was busy all show long with both Bret and myself selling our new sketchbooks as well as art and copies of DRAW! It’s always a hectic show and there was just too much to see this year, as the show somehow grew even bigger. Surf over to the web site and check out the pics I posted from this year’s summer shindig. Once again I’d like to extend another heartfelt thanks to this issue’s contributors, Bret, Paul, Ande, Dan Brereton, Alberto Ruiz (a.k.a. Dr. Cyberfunken), and Zach Trenholm. What a diversity of talent here—something I plan to keep striving for in DRAW! I’d like to leave you with two quotes: “A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.” —Michelangelo; and “An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.” —James McNeill Whistler.


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From hard boiled detectives, giant monsters and superheroes to the macabre, illustrator Dan Brereton covers it all with his lush and evocative brush strokes. The busy artist shares some of his working techniques. INTERVIEW BY MIKE MANLEY TRANSCRIBED BY STEVEN TICE


DRAW!: So what got you interested in drawing and painting monsters and horror material? Were you into that as a kid? DAN BRERETON: I started drawing monsters as soon as I could draw. They were the first things I felt I could draw, people never interested me as subjects, nor machines or architecture. I’d draw a hillside full of caves in profile and then fill the caves with reclining monsters. I don’t have a recollection of doing this, but my mom has shown me some paintings that I did when I was two, two-and-a-half years old. She has one that’s a blue, pink and red watercolor. My mom painted a lot back then, and she’d set me up sometimes with brushes and paints. The painting is entitled ‘Pecos Bill’ because it reminded me, for some reason, of the Disney character. I think just the colors, because there’s really nothing going on in the painting, it’s just a bunch of colors smashed on there. It’s probably one of the first examples of painting that I have. But as soon as I got to the point where I could actually sit down and think about what I was going to draw, it was monsters. I drew horned monsters with big teeth. Little more than stick figures, you know? One day in kindergarten we had an hour to kill and the teacher asked us what we wanted to do, so I piped up and suggested we draw monsters! She wanted to encourage me, I guess, so she indulged the request and the whole class had a ball. I was like the expert and I remember classmates coming to me with their drawings for approval and advice. It was like my first comic book convention appearance in a way. That day must have sparked something. It surely reinforced my love of creatures and the idea of excelling at something. I’ll never forget that day. DRAW!: So you liked things like the Godzilla movies, I take it? Things like that?

DRAW! • FALL 2003 3



You know what? This is really weird, but I watched Ultraman on a daily basis. I watched Speed Racer, I loved the Warner Brothers cartoons, I loved the Groovy Ghoulies and Scooby-Doo and stuff like that, but Godzilla I could not get into. Because it was just a big rubber suit with a guy in it, and it just seemed really fake to me. And a lot of the Godzilla movies that were out when I was a kid were the ones with little Minya, and the more friendly Godzilla stuff was just lame. It wasn’t cool like Ultraman. I didn’t draw monsters from films or TV, most movie monsters scared me too much. I had what I guess you could call night terrors or something. I was scared to walk down the hall to use the bathroom at night and would imagine things wanting to get me in the darkness. My parents didn’t leave a single light on in the house at night and it was creepy. Years later when Poltergeist came out, I could totally relate to the scene with the clown, toys and clothing that always looked like devils and creatures in the dark. I would spook the hell out of myself. Its not like I had a bad childhood, either. My parents are great people and they encouraged my imagination. I just had this over-active imagination, like, to a fault. Comic books were my salvation, I loved superheroes instantly and I loved stories where they triumphed over the villains. The first comic I ever saw was Captain America battling the Red Skull, drawn by Kirby, I knew I was home. The only time I wasn’t drawing monsters or aliens was when I was trying to draw Cap. DRAW!: So were you into the Gamera movies at all?

BRERETON: This piece started with a color rough (center right) that I did as a scribble of a sketch with washes of color, then scanned in. I don’t do color roughs often, but I wanted them to see the color treatment I had in mind because it was important to the composition, which is rather simple. I really liked the pencil sketch for the finish (left)—something about the Baroness’ face really appealed to me. But when I got into the painting stages, I started to feel that, since she is a villain, she ought not to be so cute—it really didn’t fit the feel of the illustration, so she ended up looking much more evil. The tilt of her torso and where I had to crop her chest makes her end up looking much chestier than she would if you could see her entire torso line—believe me, I wasn’t trying to go crazy there.

4 DRAW! • FALL 2003


DB: I hadn’t really seen Gamera when I was a kid. See, I got into all this stuff later, when someone in ’95 or ’96 sent me some tapes of the more recent Godzilla movies of the early Nineties, and I was like, “Oh, this is cool!” They’re somewhat low budget, but they’re pretty well done for being low budget, and I really liked what they were doing. And I totally got into them. I completely fell in love with the Godzilla stuff. Old, new, you name it. I bought a Japanese laser-disc of the original movie, the




© Jess Acridge, 2003 , Be Afraid Productions.

(ABOVE) BRERETON: For this cover to Nocturnals: The Dark Forever, I worked out a pleasing montage and I instantly knew what the color scheme would look like. This is not unusual for me, I tend to get an image in mind in color and rather than try and nail it down on a comp, I let it come naturally. There have been times when this approach hasn’t worked out, but 99% of the time, I have the palette well in mind. If you look closely, you can see I made few changes. (LEFT) BRERETON: The painting of the rawhide ghost town character, Digger Payne, was something I could have done off the cuff quite easily. The comp for it—done in monochromatic blues and ink washes—was kind of pleasing when it was done, but they needed a higher level of finish and warm, autumnal tones, so I gave that to them. I’m still partial to the rough.

DRAW! • FALL 2003 5





The Crow BRERETON: The assignment for this Crow image gave me an opportunity to do a little portraiture of Brandon Lee. I started with the prismacolor sketch on the far right—which was originally just the prelim sketch—and ended up being the drawing I physically painted over. I fixed the pencils with acrylic matte medium, then painted over it with watercolor and acrylic washes, sometimes mixing acrylic gesso with the watercolor. (I do this a lot to get an opaque or pastel shade) the effect of the water-based medium on the matte medium created a very painterly look without sacrificing a bit of the drawing, which is the backbone of the piece. I also loved how the fixative “bleeds” the prismacolor, making it more brilliant in hue and creating a “soft focus” sort of line. Matte medium is a great way to create an instant surface for painting over a drawing, while protecting the drawing if the painting isn’t going so hot and needs to be wiped off—something I learned from Barron, who often fixed sketches to paint later, or add to a larger piece.

8 DRAW! • FALL 2003

DB: I always wonder about something: look at Walt Kelly, who started drawing Pogo in the Fifties? Forties? Look at the funny animal stuff that Frazetta was doing when he was younger and then look at Pogo. Is there a correlation there? Was somebody looking at someone else’s stuff? Was Frazetta looking at Walt Kelly at one point? I don’t know. And then you look at Buscema, and there’s so many similarities between Buscema’s work and Frazetta, and you think, was Buscema influenced by Frazetta? And I met John Buscema—I was really lucky to meet him that one year he went to San Diego—and I had a nice talk with him. And I asked him about Frazetta. He liked Frazetta’s work, but he didn’t go on about it like, “Oh, he was so great!” But you got the feeling that he was looking at his work. I always used to wonder if Buscema was inspired by Frazetta. I really don’t know. DRAW!: I think all of his peers were. It’s hard not to be, because Frazetta was so huge, so popular, but I somehow think Halloween Girl—BRERETON: Evening is one of my favorite characters to draw. Imagine, after all those years of super-heroes and monsters, first reading about them in comics and then illustrating them, she is really refreshing. The drawing is watercolor over black prismacolor, done at the table of a comic book show. I probably did some clean-up in photoshop, which I’ve taken to doing after scanning art in. I’m never interested in relying heavily on digital tools—they’re just tools. The drawing and painting is always done in the physical world, with digital tools helping to come in at the finish. Maybe after I’ve come to learn it better I’ll be able to do more, but to honest, I don’t mind having a limited knowledge, because I’d hate to become dependent on it.



JANE © 2003 ERB INC.

Tarzan’s Jane BRERETON: Colored pencil with watercolor wash. I did this piece in a sketchbook full of depictions of Tarzan’s girl. I was blown away by many of the pieces in the book, but inspired too. This was originally a two-page spread, something I enjoy doing in sketchbooks. After scanning the piece, I used photoshop to play with it, and touch-up the area where the two pages met. The winding trunk shapes and twisting vines are prime material for creating a strong composition that carries the eye through the piece from left to right, from background to foreground. Simpler compositions are best—if it’s strong enough, you can build off it and it remains powerful.

house style of comics. The ’60s era style.

Buscema was more inspired by Alex Raymond and Hal Foster than Frazetta. And Frazetta was heavily influenced by them as well. It all goes back to the same well. DB: Yeah, I think he was inspired by the guys that Frazetta liked, too. Raymond and Foster and Wally Wood... the adventure strip artists. Burne Hogarth, Foster.... DRAW!: I think those artists of that generation all were inspired by the strip artists; that’s the material that they read as kids. Milt Caniff or Foster or Raymond... the great illustrators in the Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, etc. DB: Yeah. I always thought Conan was all Buscema, and I really like his Conan. And then you discover, oh, there’s this guy named Frazetta who painted these Conan covers, and you look at those and you think, “Wow! These are pretty cool, too! What’s going on here? These guys, do they know each other?” No, they didn’t, but they’re all in the same family. They have the same fathers and uncles. DRAW!: Right. That’s a very good way of putting it. DB: If you look at, say, the Image house style...when I say that I mean back when Image first started, you had Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane... who was the other guy? DRAW!: Liefeld? DB: Liefeld, yeah. You look at their work and you see that they established this house look that is still so heavily prevalent in comics. DRAW!: Well, it basically replaced the de facto Jack Kirby/John Buscema Marvel Comics style that was the sort of

DB: Well, look at DC Comics. DC and Marvel, you’re looking at the house styles of John Romita and John Buscema, Jack Kirby. And then at DC you’ve got Jack Kirby, Carmine Infantino— DRAW!: Curt Swan.... DB: And Dick Giordano, those kinds of looks. I know I’m leaving out a bunch of awesome guys. José Luis Garcia-Lopez. You name it. And they’re being replaced by this other look. And at DC, especially, forget about the Image style, there’s this DC house style now. It’s this sort of really realistic, rendered style. And I just look at this stuff sometimes and it just boggles my mind. John Cassaday and Bryan Hitch, those two guys, I look at their work and I go, “Holy Christ. I’m in the same business as these guys?” They’re incredible! But, at the same time, as incredible as these guys are, their work leaves me.... From a technical point of view, I’m stunned, but I get weary looking at it. I think, “I can’t draw, I stink.” [Mike laughs] But the stuff leaves me cold, emotionally. So from a technical point of view, I’m stunned, I’m in awe. DRAW!: Well, there’s not much humor in it... the way there was in Kirby’s stuff. DB: No animation in it. DRAW!: Yeah, there was a bit of humor—the old Spider-Man stuff had a lot of humor in it. DB: They’re British. DRAW!: British? Can you explain that? DB: Not really. But it’s rendered heavily, worked endlessly. If you look at a lot of the other British stuff that was coming out in the late Eighties, early Nineties, guys like Steve Pugh and... DRAW! • FALL 2003




who drew Grant Morrison’s first book over there? He has a real great style... Steve Yeowell. He had some animation, some humor, some opinion to it. And that’s the stuff that really gets my juices. That’s why I think I like Bruce Timm’s work so much. People who are working on his end of the spectrum get me a lot more excited. I’m juiced to it. DRAW!: That’s why I really liked what Darwyn Cooke was doing on Catwoman. DB: Yeah! In fact, I was just looking at that stuff. I actually happen to have a copy of it someone gave me, and I was just looking at that stuff. I love the way he draws figures. There’s some opinion to it, there’s some juice to it, and there’s also this sense of... you’re not just going to be super caught up in rendering. You know what I mean? DRAW!: Yes. But I think, as an artist... it’s all so personal. It’s your taste, some like detail, some like exaggeration, some simplicity. It reminds me of the old Alex Toth argument. Many artists hold up a guy like Alex Toth as being the artist’s artist. Sort of the artist’s ultimate goal/example of less equals more. Yet fans’ taste is often reversed—more equals more, or better. I think, if you’re an artist, your interest in the comic is more based upon your desire, in a way, to emulate your art heroes, your influences—to be able to draw as good as them. In your case, it would be somebody like Frazetta. DB: Yeah. DRAW!: Where I think, to the average comic-reading fan or person looking at art, they look at most modern cartoonists drawing super-hero books today and they see all this attention to detail, and to the average person, they equate detail with sincerity and quality. That means if the artist was really, really rendered up, his drawing is really good. It’s easy and obvious and lays there and requires the reader to do little work to complete the connections. There it all is. Not much mystery. DB: It means, “Wow, he put a lot of work into this.” DRAW!: So there’s always this eternal argument going, this little battle going back and forth, within some artists in the industry. Maybe not huge, but I certainly talk with many artists about this, because the fans never raise up an artist like Toth. The artists raise up a guy like Toth as sort of the ultimate—an artist who got really close to perfection in the medium. DB: Well, you have to get to a certain level as an artist to be able to understand why it is that Toth is a genius. Just like when you’re studying art, and your teachers are pushing Picasso on you, and you’re like, Picasso, Van Gogh, these guys sucked! They couldn’t even friggin’ draw! Give me a break! Picasso draws a nostril in the middle of the face? Well, then you come to realize, well, okay, Pablo Picasso mastered drawing the figure when he was a boy. He transcended and went up into the stratosphere artwise. And most people don’t get that stuff. They just don’t have the education, they don’t have the patience to under10 DRAW! • FALL 2003

ABOVE—Gatchaman—BRERETON: This piece might have worked better for me if I’d played with the value more, there needs to be more push and pull in the art so that some of the montage elements don’t conflict with others for dominance. The only thing that saves it is the varying sizes of the figures. At the same time, it has a crazy anime feel to it that I kind of get from watching the shows the card is based on, so its not a total disaster.

stand why it’s important or what makes it great. And Van Gogh, oh my God. I couldn’t have cared less about Van Gogh before I got into school, and now I look at his stuff and it is so simply beautiful. It burns with emotion and passion. It has all these things that I guess just took people a while to figure out were there, just like it took me a while. DRAW!: Well, if you go into an art gallery, the work that the average person would buy is work by someone like Thomas Kincaid, because to them, they look at it and it’s very detailed and it’s got all the glowy light and everything—that’s good. DB: That’s “good” artwork. That’s like my great-uncle. One day he comes over and he shows me this painting of a boat in a harbor. It was totally photo-realistic. The watercolor painter had obviously taken a photo and tried to do as photo-realistic a job on it as possible. And he shows it to me and goes, “See that? That’s Art.” [Mike laughs] He was basically telling me that what I do is not ’good’ art because I don’t make it look real. And then of course I show him a panel of my comic where I had taken some reference and done a portrait of someone’s face, and I said, “What about that? Does that look real enough for you?” and he nods and says, “Well, that’s good. That’s good, right there.” But basically anything where you use too much imagination is not




For my purposes, I bought a couple of packs of nibs, which came with holders. I had some old pens on hand, but I thought it might be a good idea to buy new stuff, in case Hunt had changed them since I stocked up a decade ago. By the end of the testing, I was really thankful for that decision… one of the pens had changed dramatically, and it has become my new favorite nib. Hunt makes a wide variety of nibs, which I quickly narrowed down to pens that I thought appropriate for comic book work. Pens were eliminated for being too blunt, or for not being large enough to carry a good amount of ink. A useful pen needs to be capable of detail, and I don’t intend to waste my working day dipping my pen every couple of lines. Here’s a breakdown of the pens that made the final cut:


100—A flexible nib, for use with Hunt’s 104 pen holder, but can be used with the 102 holder, as well.


PENS and INK Greeting, fellow Draw-ers! Your humble critic returns this issue to give you the rundown on your choices in pen nibs and India inks. I have to admit that I’ve been in a rut for several years when it comes to these tools… using pretty much the same products, and finding myself fairly satisfied with the results. When I hit the art supply store shelves to refresh my knowledge of what’s available in today’s market, I was shocked by what I found. There were more choices regarding inks than I had imagined, and I was equally surprised to find that, in the American market, a single company holds a near-monopoly when it comes to pen nibs. Even so, I found some revelations awaiting me when I put these products to the test. PENS Since I started slinging ink for a living, I’ve used dozens of different pen nibs… pens made by Brause, Gillott, Esterbrook, Soennecken, and Hunt. At times, I’ve preferred a number of different pens, but the one I’ve found myself using most often is the popular Hunt 102. When I hit the Internet to see what’s currently available, I found that Hunt dominates the marketplace. I did find Gillott pens at one source in the US,, but the Gillotts I tested were not as well made as the Hunts, and did not offer any unique properties. I’d encourage you to try the Gillotts, but since Hunt pens are so much easier to find, and I prefer them, I will not be reviewing the Gillotts in depth. The good news is that Hunt makes some excellent pens, and they are widely available. You should be able to find them at any arts and crafts store, not to mention a number of internet retailers. Unfortunately, a lot of crafts stores carry only packages of a variety of points. That’s fine if you want to try them all, but not practical if you use the same pen or pens every day. The Critic’s favorite internet source,, offers all of the Hunt pens in bulk. If you buy a dozen pen points, you should pay well less than a dollar per nib.

102—A stiff nib, for use with the Hunt 102 pen holder. This is probably the most popular nib amongst comic book artists. It’s capable of very fine detail, but can be pushed into making some fairly wide lines. This is the pen used by Terry Austin, Erik Larsen, Kevin Nowlan, Jerry Ordway, and yours truly, to name just a few. 103—A very flexible pen, for use with Hunt’s 104 pen holder. This bouncy pen can almost be used like a brush. You can get a wide variety of lines, but it takes a gentle touch. Beware of ink blobs! 107—A very stiff pen, for use with Hunt’s 102 pen holder. This pen is even stiffer than the 102. It’s wonderful for backgrounds or for ruling lines with a raised straight-edge. 108—A flexible, bronze-finished pen, to be used with the Hunt 102 holder. This is the pen I was most surprised, and pleased, with. When I used this pen in the past, it was very bouncy… even more so than the 103. The new version, though, is stiffer and easier to control. This pen is used by Al Williamson and P. Craig Russell, among others. I know… it may look like your humble critic is slacking off, only reviewing 5 pens. If you search, I’m sure you’ll find other options, and you may prefer one of those alternatives. My focus, though, is on tools that are widely available. I’m confident that you’ll be able to find a pen that will suit your purposes among these choices. As always, I encourage you to contact me if you love a pen that I haven’t mentioned. I’m always looking for new products. I’ve provided a visual example which should help demonstrate what lines each pen is capable of, but I’ll give you a brief rundown here, as well. I found the Hunt 100 handy, but I prefer the 108 or 103. This pen falls between those two in terms of flexibility. It handles well, and ink flows well from its tip. If I want a pen with this much flex, though, I’d probably just jump to the 103. The 102 is an old standby. I’ve been using this pen pretty exclusively for years. It handles well, and you can get it to produce an amazing variety of lines. It’s not especially durable, especially if you press down hard. I snap the tips off of these pens several times each year, and it’s never fun. At best, you can end up with a small ink splatter on your page. At worst, the ink, DRAW! • FALL 2003 25



PEN INKING DEMO STEP ONE I asked my pal Will Rosado to provide a copy of a panel for this demo. Will’s stuff is amazingly rich and textural. Check him out these days at CrossGen. Anyway, Will was nice enough to provide several examples, and I chose this one to demonstrate how I might use several different Hunt pens to approach a drawing.

STEP TWO I first hit the drawing with the Hunt 108, using the pen on the main contours of the figures. The pen’s flexibility allowed me to produce some very heavy lines. It’s fine enough for some detail work, but I save the finest figure work for the 102. I plan on doing most of the hair with a brush, but I provided myself some guidelines with the pen.

STEP THREE I did the face on the background character with the Hunt 102, along with the papers. This pen is great for fine work where some variation of line weight is called for. I want to use a dead line for the background elements, so I saved them for an even stiffer nib.

26 DRAW! • FALL 2003


An interview and demo with caricaturist

ZACH TRENHOLM San Franciscan Zach Trenholm is a busy artist. He’s not only a top, in-demand caricaturist, but is also a scholar of the art form. This interview had to be slightly delayed because Trenholm was fighting a tight deadline for Fortune magazine the very day DRAW! Editor Mike Manley called to conduct it via phone. Trenholm’s easy going demeanor and laugh definitely kept him from “hulking out” over the last minute changes to the illustration he had just e-mailed over to the art director....

This interview was conducted over the phone, transcribed by Steven Tice and copy edited by Zach Trenholm. DRAW!: So Fortune magazine called you up this morning and gave you a quick assignment to draw, an illustration featuring.... Zach Trenholm: Larry Ellison, CEO of the software firm Oracle. Basically they wanted ’em him pointing directly at the viewer or the reader and holding a fistful of bills— pretty straightforward. I thought I could knock it out by the requested five o’clock East Coast deadline (I’m here in California) and did. After e-mailing the illo over, I guess an editor got... DRAW!: Got a brainstorm? 30 DRAW! • FALL 2003

ZT: Yeah, exactly. After getting the art, the art director, Robert Dominguez, got back to me immediately with an editor’s request that Ellison now be turned into the Incredible Hulk. He wanted him appearing angrier then had been done and as the Hulk it could be accomplished in a timely, pop cultural reference sort of way. I guess the barrage of summer movie promotionals really does have an impact. So now I needed to ditch the body I had just spent the last few hours doing and quickly redo him as the Hulk. To be honest, I’m not much of a superhero artist (even an anti-hero like the Hulk). But here’s what I typically do in a situation like this: I go straight to the masters, and the master in this case would be none other than Jack Kirby. DRAW!: [laughs] Go find some cool, old Jack Kirby Hulk examples....



ZT: Exactly. Find a Kirby take on the Hulk. Which incidentally I was able to easily do online.

Ellison”—you’re going to bring up a lot of image files titled “Larry” or “Ellison” or both that won’t necessarily be him....

DRAW!: Did you try to incorporate Kirby into your style?

DRAW!: So you need to try and narrow the search criteria.

ZT: Oh, that’s impossible. That wouldn’t work at all. For starters, he excels at foreshortening, and I’ve never been able to wrap my mind around that too terribly well. DRAW!: When did Fortune originally call you with the assignment? ZT: I got a call around 9:30 this morning here in San Francisco, so it was around 12:30 there in New York. And the art director needed it by 4:00 or 5:00 New York time, so I needed to really knock it out. DRAW!: What’s your first step? Do you draw up a rough and then... do you go on the web and try to find as many pictures of the person you are going to draw as possible? ZT: It depends on the art director. In this case, he supplied me with two pictures basically from one of the same sources that I would have gone to, which is Corbis (an online public access photo archive). Another is Google’s search engine for images. DRAW!: Right. So you could go to Google, and search under “Larry Ellison” and hope to find some pictures of the subject. ZT: Google’s my last-ditch place to go actually, because if what you’re looking for has a common name, such as “Larry ABOVE: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison “Hulking out” from Fortune magazine. LEFT: Neo and Orpheus from The Matrix.

ZT: Right, so even though the art director sent me reference, I still always go online myself to see if I can conjure up anything better, especially any type of candid or offguard reference. That’s always ideal when striving for the most definitive likeness. DRAW!: Do you draw something quickly in pencil and scan it in, just so you can mess around with the shapes of his face, to get down the caricature, the likeness? ZT: No, no... I pretty much do a tight sketch. Particularly with the face. The rest I can approach like that, such as the body and background aspects.... DRAW!: Now, is this in pencil, or is this on the Wacom tablet in Photoshop or...? ZT: No, it’s done in pencil on paper, and after scanning the sketch into the computer, I convert it into a template for tracing over in Adobe Illustrator. DRAW!: Is that what you send to the art director first, or do you send him the sketch? ZT: No, I’m really bad about that. Unless they’ve worked with me before, I probably give ’em a slight case of hives the first time around [laughter]. What I do instead for my own creative flexibility is, after making sure I’m clear on what’s needed concept-wise, I simply just proceed with it and then provide the more or less finished illo the first time as a proof. The client then has the option to make any fixes or revisions as they see fit. Most of the time though, things are pretty much accepted without any rework. DRAW!: So there’s not a lot of back and forth changes, “move his arm, move his leg”? ZT: Well, never on that micro of a level, but as I mentioned earlier with Larry Ellison, he went from being simply himself in a business suit to needing to look like the Hulk, or to being the Hulk. DRAW!: Now, do you charge them extra to do that, because you had essentially already finished the illustration? ZT: [laughs] It’s interesting that you ask that. No, I never really do that—I lack the business cajonés I guess [laughter]. The majority of my art directors are quite fair and in the particular case of Fortune, they were already paying me a couple of hundred dollars more than normal because of the shorter turnDRAW! • FALL 2003 31



around. As a matter of fact, when I got the commission, he told me they were going to compensate me X amount for it and as I thought that sounded overly generous, told ’em to knock off $100 instead. DRAW!: Really? ZT: Yeah, but this was, of course, before I had to re-make him into the Hulk. [laughs] So after spending another couple hours or so converting him into the Hulk, I then asked if he wouldn’t mind boosting it back up to the originally quoted fee. DRAW!: Do you have a standard day rate for this, do you have an hourly rate that you figure for yourself in case things like this happen, where they go haywire, or do you just have a standard way of...? ZT: No, I just sort of roll with it. Budgets are generally dictated by the publications and I pretty much take on the jobs that I do based on who’s calling. DRAW!: And what interests you, I guess? ZT: Yeah, that’s as equally important. It’s basically two things; the more esteemed the mag or newspaper, the more inclined I am. And then of course it depends on how famous the individual to be depicted is. The more well known the individual, the more timely the individual, then the more I want to take the assignment on.

DRAW!: So you can keep your portfolio fresh, so to speak? ZT: Well, yeah, but it’s not entirely based on portfolio reasoning. Speaking of such, I actually don’t even have one anymore. I’ve got my website, and then I have some folders that I slip tear sheets into, but I haven’t had a tangible portfolio, y’know, something you would show an art director, in probably about ten years. DRAW!: Wow. So most people, then, if they want to find out what you do, or to find out the kind of style you have, you are referring them to your website? ZT: Right. Well, they usually find me—mostly by seeing my work. DRAW!: They’ll see your byline and then look you up online and give you a call? ZT: Right, that’s usually how it works. I also send out a promotional postcard every couple of years or so. That way if they’re not already familiar with what I do, they’ll hopefully take the time to visit my web portfolio and that will (once again hopefully) lead to a commission at some point. At least that’s the idea behind the nefarious scheme. DRAW!: So, most art directors who you have not worked with before are people who are either coming across your work BELOW: Producer Weinstein and directors Scorsese, Rob Marshall and Stephen Daldry done for the Wall Street Journal.

32 DRAW! • FALL 2003

From pencil sketch to Adobe Illustrator—THE PROCESS STEP 1: Zach’s first step in doing this spot illustration of Cybill Shepard was to compile photo reference of Ms. Shepard. He does this by visiting an extensive clipping file of personalities that he has built up over the years and by the Internet, which has become an excellent source for material with its thousands of celebrity shrine or fan sites. After studying the collection of pix of her, Zach lets his mind, rather than eye, take over. With regards to likeness and character, it is far more selective and interpretive—retaining what is essential and ignoring that which is inconsequential. He usually achieves his likenessess in anywhere from 1 to 5 sketches, although it can sometimes take upwards of 50 sketches to obtain the same desired effect. He states that he knows when a likeness is successful: “It’s when the subject looks more like the caricature rather than the other way around.”

STEP 2: After he gets the likeness where he more or less wants it, he then moves on to the other elements of the illustration, sometimes doing a complete sketch (as he has here with Shepard), but more typically drawing each aspect separately (i.e., head, body, rocket, exhaust clouds etc.) and then later composing the “parts” collage-like, on the computer. Zach finds this way not only faster than working out compositions on paper but that it also allows for unlimited experimentation.

STEP 3: The sketch or sketches are then scanned into the computer for conversion into templates for tracing in Adobe Illustrator. Since time was of the essence in this case, the treatment fairly straight-forward and the magazine familiar with his work, Zach proceeded directly to final art without providing a detailed sketch to the publication. Working digitally makes this possible. He sends all his illustrations, finished or otherwise, initially as “proofs.” If after seeing the artwork the client has any changes or additions, he can easy make those corrections to the original file and send the illustration again.

The Power Of Sketching BY BRET BLEVINS


DRAW! #7 Interview, cover, and demo with DAN BRERETON, ZACH TRENHOLM on doing caricatures, “Drawing In Adobe Illustrator” step-by-step demo by ALBERTO RUIZ, “The Power of Sketching” by BRET BLEVINS, “Designing with light and shadow” by PAUL RIVOCHE, plus reviews of the best art supplies, links, a color section and more! (96-page magazine) SOLD OUT (Digital edition) $2.95




LIGHT and S H A D O W By Paul Rivoche his time out, I have chosen to outline a few thoughts about T how I approach lighting a design drawing, illustrated by various animation background renderings. My aim is to discuss some of the thinking process behind the choices which were made, not to prescribe an ironclad step-by-step procedure. As with other areas of art, the topic is so large that it’s only possible to put down some central ideas—in other words, to outline various interesting areas for further investigation. Regarding my comments and diagrams, I assume that the reader will have some basic understanding of perspective theory and the geometry of forms, because these underly many of my statements. ARTISTIC LIGHTING VS. NATURAL LIGHT AND SHADOW In the real world around us, light and shadow behave according to inflexible laws. For example, a given geometric form— let’s say a cube—repeatedly lit from the same angle and with the same intensity, will cast the same exact shadow every time the experiment is attempted. The rules of light will not change according to the day of the week, but instead act with utter predictability. One can verify this for oneself by observation. This is the natural world which is recorded in candid photography, such as news photos—nothing is arranged or altered, but is all there as nature allows it to unfold. In contrast to this is what could be termed “artistic lighting.” Just as “artistic anatomy” is different than the anatomy which a medical student would study, so too does the lighting which an artist uses differ from the raw light and shadow seen around us or in spontaneous photos. The artist’s advantage is to be able to “edit” the elements of his picture carefully, to arrange and manipulate light and shadow to suit a given artistic purpose,

while still remaining obedient to the rules of light and shadow. The artist strives to reveal or “explain” form to the viewer and direct the viewer’s eye, not simply to record raw data as it happens to unfold in nature. An artist has limited means at his disposal, yet wishes maximum results. His transmission device is a flat piece of paper and a relatively narrow range of tones. If he slavishly records everything everything he sees, unaltered, whether the source is in front of him or in a photo, he soon discovers that some sort of editing is required, that the paper has a two-dimensional language of its own that must be taken into account. He discovers that the more marks he makes, the more he tries to copy every nuance of light and shadow, often the less form is described— paradoxically, form can get lost in the confusion and complexity. Some alteration is required, some editing, to cut through the clutter. You could term the results of this editing process “artistic lighting.” It is a process of clearly revealing three-dimensional form by careful placement of light source(s), manipulation of highlights, halftones, core shadows, reflected light, and cast shadows, and also the removal of extraneous and distracting information. Similarly, if an artist seeks to capture an internal vision seen in imagination (as opposed to drawing from an external model or photograph), and describe it clearly and convincingly to the viewer, he also soon realizes the need to understand the rules of light and shadow and the language of describing form on paper. Without a convincing play of light and shadow across his invented forms, the viewer’s eye will probably not “suspend disbelief”—will not accept the artist’s invention as real or possible. If the artist wantonly ignore how shadows really fall, stubbornly calling any excess “style,” conviction will be lacking because even at a subconscious level, people know what rings true and what does not.

ALIEN COURTHOUSE: This was a development rough sketch done for a key scene in a Justice League episode. The setting was a vast alien courthouse under a dome, with an accused person on trial, a prosecutor on a floating pod, a giant viewscreen with alien judges, and an audience of aliens ringing the whole scene. Including all these elements in one angle was a juggling act, so to simplify things I used a surrounding “frame” of aliens. I varied the lighting on them, with one alien in total silhouette, and the rest with increasing lighting as we go upwards. This gave the viewer some information, but also kept some mystery by not showing them completely clearly. And rather than showing thousands of aliens at once, which would be impossible, I chose to show only these foreground eight up close, and suggested the rest in the far distance by using specks. These foreground ones “explained” the distant ones. For the lighting in the arena, I chose to use a harsh toplight, to create a feeling like a blinding noontime sun—the accused has nowhere to hide. The cast shadow below the accused’s floating pod gave a height indication, with just a little softening at the edges to give a touch of realism. The screen unit where the judges are seen was rim-lit from behind and below, to create an ominous mood.

DRAW! • FALL 2003 79

Draw #7  

DRAW! #7 (88 pages with COLOR SECTION, $5.95), the professional “How-To” magazine on comics, cartooning, and animation, kicks off with a fan...

Draw #7  

DRAW! #7 (88 pages with COLOR SECTION, $5.95), the professional “How-To” magazine on comics, cartooning, and animation, kicks off with a fan...