Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hello all, I managed to take some shots while working on this Frankenstein page.
 I will take more shots that take every single step into account, but right now here is
breakdown of how I work the page through.

Now keep in mind, that I like to treat every page differently, what works for one page
might not work for another. I think that is the way my mind works, it would be nice to
have a set way of working, but it would also be a bit boring for me. Sometimes I might
bypass a step or add another, or simple ignore everything and just start with the palette
knife and see where it goes from there.

 So in step one, there is the small thumbnail, basically one of the most important links
in the chain of creation. This little sketch is the atom that everything hangs on. Even when
you want to digress from it, you have a point from where to digress from. So I put a lot of
work in these small roughs. I make notes, of the colors and what works and what doesn't.
 Sometimes, after doing that small sketch I put it to the side and work on the painting and not
even look at it. Just to keep it fresh. I figured by that time its ingrained in the head, and in
the hands.

After this step comes step two, a rough pencil drawing, this is one of the steps
that can be very detailed, or very loose, or not at all.. In this case I did a rough
pencil just to make sure I get the size of things correct. In comics we do very tight 
pencils, but when you are working on your own stuff, and doing the inking,
plus everything else, this will mostly do. Again for this page it was very loose, because 
I had a clear view of where I wanted to go.
In step three I start to do a quick line drawing in Raw Umber. 
I like Raw Umber because its sort of this nice undertone color that can be
painted over and still be soft. This stage can be very tight if you need it to be
but again for this page, it was lose and it was mainly to keep the shapes mapped
out for the painting. Sometimes I go a bit much with all the shadows and tones, here 
I kept it as a line drawing. India Ink would work just as well, but Raw Umber fits is 
just as nice and can be graded to give shades.
And now we get to the fun part. The painting, big bold strokes 
and then coming in with more careful smaller choices of shapes.
One of the reasons to keep everything loose at each stage is to
give yourself the freedom to explore, one never knows until it is 
all finished.

Anyway hope you enjoyed some of this process I know I do. Multiply it by sixty 
and you got yourself a book, kid.

Later I will put up some of the oil studies I was playing with. I wanted to use
oils in a project I was doing to give it a very unique look, but that project fell 
through and I will be using it on this Frankenstein book instead.

Best to all.


  1. Gorgeous. It's very cool to see the thumbnail-to-final process. I'm excited to get this Frankenstein book. Always looking for ways to support your work!

  2. Thank you so much, Shane!
    The process as you know always evolves, personally I think that is a good thing, it keeps you feeling that your best work is always ahead of you. Thank you so much for taking the time to write, it always means a lot working from the cave of Obi Wan. The Frankenstein book I hope will be one in a long series of more illustrated works.
    My best to you.

  3. Lovely work Frank. Its amazing the way you can keep the vitality of your thumbs through to your finished work. Whenever I try it feels like I have lobotomised my drawings!

  4. Thank you Dave, and Mike!
    I had the same problem for a long time Mike, one of the cures was to treat the original in the same frame of mind as the rough. We tend to get very nick picky and careful with the final drawing, and forget that it should be a evolving in an organic manner. That is why I sometimes do multiple small thumbs and get it into the system, then when working on the final put away the roughs for a while and just explore. As you know when you work on the corporate jobs everything is so tight and rigid, because that is how many art directors think, but when working on your own stuff it is time to let loose the hounds.
    Thank you for taking the time to post.
    Best to both of you.