Saturday, 30 May 2009

Using blue lines

There was a time when I used to think that if you couldn't nail your drawing in the first try, somehow that meant that you were a lesser artist. In recent months after listening to tons of podcasts and learning about different artists working processes I realised that more often that not, most people tend to have some kind of a rough stage.
Illustrators like James Jean can go through several series of roughs, each one gradually tidying up the concept until the final drawing is the end result. It's easy to gloss over the effort behind a well executed and well-planned illustration.

This is some work James Jean did for AND1 Shoes.

The way I draw is pretty sketchy, mostly because I'm not sure exactly what I want so I use all of those sketchy lines as little tendrils to explore possibilities. If things get too messy though, it gets difficult to tidy up and pull out details so I feel limited.
I've praised the usefulness of colour leads in a previous post, but at that point I didn't realised how important this method would become to me. Just about all of the pages in Twelfth Night were drawn by first laying down a rough in blue lines before going in and drawing the details with a normal mechanical pencil.
I believe that what James Jean does is to scan in his roughs, print it out lightly in colour and do the next stage on top of that, which is essentially the same thing.

This is a page of pencils from Twelfth Night which shows my blue lines.

Tomorrow: Removing blue lines

James Jean artwork courtesy of
James Jean - Website
Twelfth Night - SelfMadeHero


Anonymous said...

I love love love seeing W.I.P.'s (even thought it is finished now haha)

I honestly can't wait to see the finished book, I've always wanted to have a full on book drawn by you so i can't wait to see your awesome art : D

nana said...

Thanks Scott! I keep saying this, but I hope it won't disappoint! :)

aqws said...

heh. I thought those Jame Jean drawings were yours at first :p

nana said...

Haha thought I'd steal some of his artwork to prettify my blog. XD

Cool that you could make it tonight!