Monday, 6 June 2011

Art Monday: Man-Thing WIP

(Should I bring back my Art Monday posts?  I feel like I've been posting more often so I'm not sure they're relevant. Maybe if I just talk about technique?)

Every summer I feel a huge urge to do some fan art.  So right now I'm taking this Man-Thing drawing from a few years back and colouring it using ArtRage Studio Pro. 



I tend to post desktop screen captures a lot when talking about ArtRage.  The reason for this is that the first time I saw what the program's interface looked like, I knew I had to get it. As a traditional oil painter, a lot of digital painting programs feel like you're working in Excel or Word: all these drop down menus and hunting under the headings for the tool you need.

ArtRage immediately struck me as a different beast.  And it is.  Most of your tools are in the two 1/4 wheels in the corners, the left for the types of art media (including chalk, glitter, watercolours, tech pens and much much more) and the right-side one for your colours, lights and darks and metallic-ness. When using a digital drawing tablet, it becomes easy to just dab, dab and you've switched your brush and paint, just like using the real thing.

Here's where my "Trapping the Man-Thing" painting is so far:




Man-Thing was originally created by writers Stan Lee, Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway and artist Gray Morrow. In case you're not familiar with the character, the basics are this: Scientist Ted Sallis was working in the Everglades to re-create the lost Super Soldier Serum that had turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. The terrorist group A.I.M. has somehow persuaded Sallis's wife Ellen Brandt into betraying him for the formula, and when he goes on the run from them through the swamp he injects himself with the formula and crashes into the oozy muck, where the chemical agents in his body along with mystical forces, transform him into the Man-Thing.

Man-Thing typically has no memory of being Ted Sallis, and shambles slowly along, stopping evil-doers. It can sense fear, and fearful beings burn at his touch, due to chemicals secreted through his hands or embrace. Man-Thing is entirely composed of vegetable matter, most of it rotting and it can quickly re-grow parts of itself when say, shot in the eye with a shotgun.  At different points, Man-Thing has been the Guardian of the Nexus of All Realities, which is found in his swamp, and recently joined the reformed villains superhero team, The Thunderbolts. More on Wikipedia.

My personal favourite artist for Man-Thing was Liam Sharp. Check out his cover to issue #7 of the 90's run here (with Namor of Atlantis!).

I've created this image below to illustrate some of the specific techniques I used. 



One of the handiest things most digital programs can do, ArtRage included, is cleverly overlay a pencil drawing on top of the digitally painted image.

In this case, I used real analog HB technical pencil in my Moleskine sketchbook to draw Man-Thing. I scanned him in and after creating my digital painting file, imported the drawing into a layer in ArtRage. Then, I set the layer to "Multiply" which allows the pencil sketch to kind of float on top of the painting, while the painted colours are still visible. That way, the drawing is more than a guide to be traced or a springboard to the rest of the painting: the pencils are part of the final image.

You can see the multiply-layer pencil clearly in the image above with Man-Thing's arm and shoulder. I've made the other painted areas invisible there and left the painting on his face by comparison. I blurred the background using a Gaussian blur in Photoshop to make the effect clearer. The pencil is totally visible. (Kind of like it blurred out...may keep it.)

It's a both more restrictive and less to work this way. It's moreso since the final image is determined by the pencils, but also less so since I can kind of just cut loose on the painted colour and texture and let the pencils describe the form. Using Multiply this way is a pretty basic tip for people doing digital painting, but I'm describing it here in case some of my blog readers are unfamiliar with it.

If you're familiar with Photoshop and worried about trying ArtRage since a few of your tools won't be available, don't fret. You can export ArtRage paintings into Photoshop with all layers intact and back again. Handy that. Though as I spend more and more time with ArtRage I'm finding there's very little I need to use Photoshop for.

So, why is Man-Thing being trapped by these crystals?  Do we need a villain?  Baron Mordo or Mr. Jip lurking in the background?

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.
Man-Thing is wholly owned by Marvel Comics.  This is fanart in homage to the cool mucky character. 

2 comments:

thiswritelife said...

This is really great! And yes you need a villain.

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks Mary Jo!

I might have to extend the image to one side to do successfully. Still, a cranky, cackling Baron Mordo could be fun. Maybe as a companion piece.

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