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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Jungle Friends

I had been doodling elephants for a bit, and somehow this evolved.


Gav H said...

I love this Eric! Having just bought myself a brush pen do you have any tips on achieving lines the way you do?

Eric Scales said...

Hi Gav,

Well, I'm still getting used to it myself but as it is still so new, I have a lot of thoughts on the matter. It might actually be much more than you need to know, but rather than censor myself I'll tell you what I can and you can pick and choose what you need. The ink is a bit slow to dry so there's a real risk of smudging it with your hand. Second, I rely very heavily on my underdrawing to guide my final line- I don't know if that's how you work, but it helps me a lot. I do mine in a medium gray marker, usually 30 or 40 percent, but different people use different mediums for their rough drawing- often red or blue colored pencil. Anyway, I try to get as much as possible figured out in this rough drawing. Sometimes there's the temptation to hurry at this stage and leave the details to the final ink- I tend to be sorry when I take that route. Once I'm finally ready to start with my final brush pen line, I usually start with the nose of my character, especially if it's a person, but with a lot of animals too. The nose, and then the eyes, carefully doing these details with lots of little strokes instead of long continuous ones. Your style may vary, but in my case, the eye is usually a stroke on top to indicate the upper eyelid or lash, and at least one curve underneath, often more though, for the rest of the outer eye. The hardest thing to do for me is to keep these details light and clear. Too thick, and their fine detail will be lost; eventually these little lines will contrast nicely with the thicker graceful lines. I tend to just work out from the face like that, onto the head, etc... I try to do the parts that are forward first, moving back from there. In other words, if a woman's hair is draped in front of her shoulder, I would do that lock of hair first and then the shoulder. Not only does this prevent misjudgement and lead to an unsightly intersetion but I'm finding how often I like to not connect things, sometimes having a line taper off to nothing and not actually make a connection. If it's done in the right way the connection is implied and it lightens up all the heavy black linework which I think can get a bit oppressive. Check out how the elephants back and tail linework tapers to nothing as it goes behind the snake's head, for an example of what I mean.
I still find that my lines are a bit jittery when using the brush pen, mainly when I haven't totally planned where I want a line to go. You really have to look at each line and figure out your end point before you start. Then pull your hand and the brush with it (I don't know if there's ever a reason to push it). The more deliberately and steady you can learn to do this, the better. I fully intend to sit down and just fill a page with different types of lines until I really what the brush will and won't do and figure out how to take advantage of that.

I like your work on your site, and it will be neat to see how you incorporate this new tool. Good luck!

Gav H said...

Hey Eric,

Thanks so much for taking the time to share some advice, much appreciated. All of it is in fact useful and it's nice to know I'm not the only artist that can speed through sketches faster than they should. My blog's a bit shabby, there's a years back log of posts to be made but adding brush pen and varied lines to things seems a little less daunting now