Monday, September 05, 2011
A Portland Spring: the Buffy Trials, Part C,"On the 8's"
So, where I left off was being in the need for devising (?) a way, a standardized manner, for acquiring a skilled finesse for drawing the principle actors and their characters so I could render them in pen and ink for the Buffy Season 9 series that Dark Horse was about to launch and hopefully when that launch occurred I'd have a nice seat aboard. Yeesh, I hate this layout, but what the fuck ever, we're rolling with the bastard...hang on. Any 'thickie' that took a history class can remember that the grid is very important in translating shit from life to 2d representation; fruits, birds, those funny cantaloupe boobs that Michelangelo put on dudes because he like looking at men and never used a female model so he couldn't draw a babe worth a goddamn, grids are great for breaking down a 3D element in order to convert it onto a flat picture plane.Simple stuff. So first step; make a grid. BOOM. Grid. I chose a 5x5 grid so there would be a full square on the median to place over the focal feature or anchor of each image, this being in all planned aspects, the Nose. Specifically, the tip of the nose. That way, no matter which aspect (lord this is boring shit, but you find this fascinating I'm sure, having not lived it already) ...which aspect the subject presents; full frontal, 3/4 left or right...there's always a box designated to "capture" the entire nose in and ample grids remaining to divide the rest of the features.
The next step was actually watching the show and doing screen grabs of the characters from angles that I thought were important and interesting and that I believed would fare well on the pages of the comics. Here are some of the grabs for Willow. Again, it was important to understand what makes Willow Willow but I also needed information about her in different angles because not every shot will have her looking dead on into camera, right...RIGHT?
These are just a few of the grabs, trust me, there are a shit-ton of them (that is metric, thank you) more.
The next thing that I needed to do was get some feedback from DH on how things were progressing. It was by now the heady, airless heights of the comic book convention season, so everybody was unavailable. So brilliant person that I am, I decided to friend another artist that I heard was rumored to be in the running for a slot on the franchise; Rebekah Isaacs. If this were Public Radio and I was Ira Glass, this is precisely where my underpaid, lackey producer would have you hear the audio of the phone call; the phone ringing several times before being picked up on the other end (EST) and then the inquisitive, breathy and vivid Georgian drawl of a young woman on the other end saying 'Hello?", and then i would say,"Hi! Rebekah Isaacs? I'm Tony Akins!"...
But this blog is certainly not that broadcast is it? Instead, you will read here, not listen to, how I located Rebekah by her Facebook profile and then sending a "friend" request and waited for her answer. She probably doesn't have a breathy Georgian drawl, but it sounds nice, no?
When she responded to my request, we messaged generously and were mutually complimentary as she is a terrific, gifted young talent and I'm Tony Akins. There was the shared excitement of the title in front of us and the commiserating over the solitary nature of our work. The one difference between us was that she had a script in front of her and was moving on her assigned title, "Faith/Angel"..."Fangel", while I was still languishing in 'stand-by for approval' status. Technique for rendering the characters was also discussed and it is a tricky thing, little ones. It was there and then, and here and now that I will explain to you what I explained to Rebekah regarding how I was tackling this issue, and I do apologize to Ms.Isaacs for having this be the venue to reveal what I had hoped to show her in a more exclusive manner. But, hey...no big, right? Yes, R...this is that "On the 8's" thing I was yammering on about. God this IS a long post. The "8's" is simple an eight by eight grid which gave me a place to extract and practice the information that I had isolated from the characters on the 5x5 grid. Simply filling row after row, page after page of the individual features of any character; noses, eyes, lips, ears, constantly like a fleshy, cartilagey, toothy mantra until the features could be recalled almost instantly without having to refer to scrap photos (mostly). Here's Willow 'on the 8's'and Xander, the same...
This method seemed thorough, deliberate and very satisfying which you will see in my next entry where I'll show the practical application of this technique; drawing a character that's recognizable without referring to a photo. This entry will also feature my most horrible misstep in the process of trying to wow my ass onto this title. Hilarity Ensues.