Thursday, May 24, 2007

HANA PART 1: Page 7 - Noah Way!

Thanks again to everyone for the kind words about part 2. Man. Wow. I'm so glad it all paid off! It was such a tough story to draw. At times it's just so implausible! I really struggled to ground it in the harsh reality of HEROES and not make it an over-the-top sci-fi epic.

Do you know how hard it is to draw Jack Coleman (aka Mr. Noah Bennet) without his trademark glasses? Probably not, so take my word that it's HARD. I ended up going to the episode COMPANY MAN for my reference.

I've had some speculation on the 9th Wonders boards as to how I do what I do. In a weirdly flattering sorta way, people have been asking if I run a filter over photos. In a nutshell, here's what I do. I create photo matts (a technique that Eisner award winning Tony Harris does). These are screen caps of the actor's faces over a body that I shoot myself. One of the worst things that can happen as a comic artist is that you start drawing, then you realise that you won't be able to fit the hand holding the gun in the frame! Photo matts avoid that error, for as long as you keep to the rough guide of the photo you can't go wrong.

I then trace over this BY HAND. If you think this is easy, I defy you to trace a photo and see what happens. You can see my Niki in part 2 for what happens when it goes wrong. you can also see by the lineart on this page just how much the painting contributes to the likeness. I then get paint a texture underneath using the original photo as reference. I tend to create my own lighting. It's here that things can go wrong again. People's faces are defined by the light that we use to illuminate them. If you don't honour these curves, you lose a person's likeness. Ever seen a photo of yourself and thought, "I don't look like that!" That's what I'm trying to combat with every image.

I promise when I get to the second part, I will demonstrate it step by step there. The art in the second part is so much cleaner and easier to dissect. Everything in part 1 is such a mess! It's literally DOZENS of layers.


HERO said...

Thanks for giving more tips about how ya do whatcha do! I wouldn't think that what you accomplish is ever something easy, and it's great to see how you make a difficult task appear so effortless - that's gotta be the mark of a talented artist! It's wild to think that with lighting, texture, and the coloring, a 2d portrait looks so realistic! Stunning. :)

Rinibini said...

Honestly the dedication and effort you put into these comics is unbelievable. And your likeness of Nikki was fantastic...again i think you're way to harsh on yourself

thanners said...

Awesome. It's like the rotoscoping technique used in "A Scanner Darkly" (c:

curlymarie said...

I actually like the sans-glasses HRG quite a lot. He looks great. I think you got a bit of the sense of vulnerability that seems to haunt HRG when he hasn't got those protective frames.

I still love the punch to the face, though. :)


CurlyMarie said...

Oh! And I forgot to mention the lovely transition from the flashback into the present. The panel with Hana pointing the gun at HRG is a nice mirror of her punching him in the past. Nice layout!

(CurlyMarie, again)

AcidBurn133 said...

I agree with CurlyMarie - I love glasses-less Bennet. er... Noah. haha.
I love your technique, seriously. Anything to make the characters mirror their TV counterparts - I remember when I read the first Hana comic and then saw a picture of Stana and was like, "hey, that's supposed to be her? What?" lol. The comic itself was good, but Hana looked nothing like Hana, not like your version :) I gave the photoshop trace another go with an entirely digital Sylar before Ep. 22 came out - I traced the outline and then removed the bg, working from a still that I grabbed from the trailer as a reference for the painting, and I can agree it's not easy! lol.
Great work on this page (as always!). I love the last shot of Hana leaving the guys on the playground - she has that, "why do I have to fix this?" attitude, while the guys are like, "so... what do we do now?" If I had to add a caption to the last panel, it'd be:
Matt: Hey, Bennet, are you going to push me on the swing now that she's gone?
I kid, though, I kid. Grunberg was the reason I started watching in the first place :)