I've had a few people over the years ask exactly how I set about to create a drawing and I thought it might be fun to take some photos and sort of document the process. I really and truly believe that anyone can create art, you just have to devote the time and effort to the craft you choose be it drawing or painting etc...
Today I will be drawing Betty & Veronica from Archie comics. My aim is not to draw them exactly like they look in the comic but sort of translated though my style. First you need to decide what kind of a pose in which to draw the girls. You can of course come up with something on your own but I figured for the sake of this exercise I would use a photo reference. It is much easier to draw anything using a photo reference as it gives you an idea where everything fits, perspective, etc... but I'm only using it a reference and fully intend to add my own touches, to make the drawing uniquely Becca.
I keep tons of pictures from magazines as well as several books of pin-up photos for pose reference. They really come in handy when you just can't figure out what you want to draw. In those cases I'll just flip through the books until the drawing comes to being in my head. Sometimes I use one photo other times I combine several to create the pose I desire.
Now that we have a basic idea for our pose, using pencil I draw loose circles and lines to represent the body and it's pose. It doesn't look like much but this is a very important step. It sets up the groundwork for the whole drawing. The more dramatic the pose the more interesting your drawing will likely be.
I suppose now would be a good place to talk about supplies. I usually draw on 11x14 smooth bristol paper but will draw on just about anything really that has an acid free white surface :) The pencil I use is just a BIC #2 retractable pencil the kind you buy in the office supply area of the grocery store. I tried fancier pencils but could never get the lines to erase completely so I stick with BIC. My eraser is a Mars Plastic eraser by Staedtler, it's super cheap and erases completely. I adore my eraser not enough to marry it though.
Once the circles and lines are on the page you want to sort of refine the body shape, add very basic details. You are sort of like a sculptor at this point adding and taking away where you need to.
Once I have the basic body shape down now the fun really starts and I begin adding all the details, create the face (eyes, nose, lips)...
Here are a couple of examples of how I draw lips. In the second gif you'll notice after I add Betty's mouth it makes her face too short. That's why I do roughs in pencil so I can make adjustments which I will do before adding ink!
Add clothes, jewelry, add a background, add whatever you like and once you've filled your page with what was in your head you are done with pencils :)
Now is the time to add ink! There are hundreds of options for pens and everyone has their favorite, my favorite are PITT artist pens by Faber-Castell. The pens come in 5 sizes; XS (smallest tip), S (small tip), F (fine tip), M (medium tip) and BRUSH tip! It's like painting with a pen :) The pens are waterproof India Ink (great detail if you use markers to add color) and are fantastic! If I could marry them, I would...sorry SamuraiFrog but it's true.
First I ink every detail I want kept in the final drawing using the "S" pen. Unless there are details too small for "S" and then I occasionally use the "XS"
Next up brush pen! I use the brush pen to draw sort of an outline on my characters.
Question: Why do I use so many different pens for inking?
Answer: By using different size pens I am creating the illusions of depth. If you use only one size pen the image tends to look a bit flat. The bolder the line the closer the object will look.
You don't want to use tons of brush pen however, if you use too much you will just go back to having a flat image only now the lines will be thicker so that's where magical Mister "M" comes in!
Use the "M" pens in areas that you want to stand out but not so much it would be distracting. (hey look I got my finger in that photo :)
When you finish with the "M" pen you can erase the pencil and add any finishing touches! Leave your drawing black and white or you can add color manually or with a computer painting program.
And there you have it, a drawing is born. If anyone actually read this whole thing and has any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments area :)