November 17, 2009

I'm All Thumbs

Since my Draw Star Wars: The Clone Wars book came out, I've had a couple people ask me, "Do you really use stick figures and shapes like that?" So I thought I'd show some recent thumbnail sketches. I absolutely do use stick figures and shapes -- though, admittedly, they're much messier than the stuff you see in the kids' book. :)

When I start any larger project, be it a comic page or base cards (pretty much anything that I digitally color), my first step is always to grab a notebook and start doodling quick little poses and layouts. The stuff you see above is from an upcoming Star Wars card set, which I'll be able to talk more about in coming months. But essentially this is how much of my artwork begins: A messy little doodle. And once I decide which pose I like best, I scan it into Photoshop, enlarge it to whatever size my actual drawing will be, print it up, then use a lightbox to pencil over the thumbnail image and start my "real" sketch.

A lot of artists go straight to the page, and that's fine. There isn't one magical method that works for everyone. You need to practice and see what works best for you -- what's quickest, what gives you the best results, etc. Over the past couple of years, I've definitely discovered that thumbnailing things out beforehand helps me a LOT.