Two of the most frequently asked questions I get are: “Did you really draw that?” and “Why does it take you so long?”
In an effort to alleviate the mystery, I am starting this new blog series titled “Making of A Commission”. Each entry will show you the step-by-step process I go through to complete a piece once I am commissioned. Due to space limitations, I have decided to cut out all of the cussing, crying and staring into space I do while waiting for the image to draw itself just as I envision it.
So without further ado, here is Entry #1 for Making A Commission: Gwenpool.
Step 01- OK, so I had already completed the hardest part of the whole process before I decided to document everything. The very, very beginning is me sketching dozens, if not hundreds, of pose ideas in my sketchbook. Once the pose is figured out, this is the first step. As you can see, I use red lead to do my layouts. It’s just something I have been doing since high school. No non-repo blue for me!
Step 02-A closer look at my initial rough layout. At this point I’m doing last looks on her costume to make sure I have all of the details correct.
Step 03-Even though I had tightened up the drawing in the Red Lead stage, I decided to go over it all with a 4h lead. Why? That leads to…
Step 04-Copic Marker Time! I used Neutral Gray 01 (N1) for all part of her costume that are white and Cool Gray 01 (C1) for the pink parts. I believe I used N4 and N6 for the sword handles.
Step 05-A closer look at the gray’s. I normally use the Copic’s after inking but for this piece, I decided to try it the other way around. I wanted the ink to lay on top of the gray, just to see if it would make a visual difference. And it gave me a bit more freedom when applying the gray.
Step 06-And the inking begins! I use a Hunt 102 nib and Eon’s Vortex Ink for 90% of my inking. This is one of my go-to photos when people ask if it really was drawn by hand.
Step 07-A fully inked Gwenpool! At this point, I have put over 10 hours into this piece and have not even started on the background yet. See why I am making this blog post??? I decided to add a splash of color to her lips to give the piece a focal point.
Step 08-It’s tough to see but here I started laying out the background. The design of the background took around three hours of just sketching different patterns and tying different ideas.
Step 09-And here the background is now complete! Early on, I decided I was not going to ink the background so I went extra crazy with the detail and circles. I’m not sure there is anything I hate inking more than circles. So I avoid it whenever I can.
Step 10-We have made it to the end! This is another photo I use to answer the “Did you draw it by hand?” question. At this point, I have around 18 hours total in this piece. Now there is just one final step!
Step 11-And here she is, after being scanned into Photoshop. At this point, I didn’t like how the background looked in the scan so I completely redid it in Illustrator. Surprisingly, that only took another hour or so. Lesson learned from that? I’ve started creating the backgrounds in Illustrator from the beginning. Once the line art is finished and scanned, I print the background lines out and then break out the old lightbox so the original art matches the digital version.
Step 12-Since this piece turned out so well, I decided to do something different and I hired Thomas Mason to bring her to life in full color. That was one of the best decisions I ever made because he just nailed it.
Alright, that is a super truncated version of how a commission comes together! All in, I have about 20 hours into the piece. And I think every second was worth it.
Thank you for reading and I’ll be back next week with another behind-the-scenes post! Maybe even a video!