Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My approach to RuneStone's "Look"



Hey all-

Basically I wanted to talk a little about the "Look" of RuneStone.

Generally, the work I've done before has been an action adventure tale set in the world we live in. I know that sounds pretty broad, but when it comes to comics, that actually narrows it down a bit. I've worked on books that were military, fantasy, and even superhero in nature. What I found in RuneStone was a combination of all of these things and more!

The preview that you can see on the site was my first time doing the penciling and inking myself. Previously, I've either had to pencil very tightly because I didn't have the inker to finish the lines, or I was the inker over another penciler. Having to pencil tightly (and very clean) was due to not having an inker for most of the GI JOE books I did. I was the last say, when it came to the line art. So that made me very detail and line weight concsious.
I will go into the professional benefits of an inker, and being on both sides of the process at a later date.
Only recently with the work I did at Marvel was I finally allowed to pencil a book knowing a very professional inker (Rick Ketcham) would be handling the finished line art. I could trust the process enough to not have to draw every bit of detail, texture and line weight in. It's amazing how much time that saved me!

So, having professional experience in both steps of the process allowed me the ability to do both jobs on the preview. What I learned very quickly about RuneStone, was that we would be better off getting someone else to ink it. Heh.
Towards the end of the preview I was finally letting up in the pencil stage, and doing the details and finishing touches with the inks. But I'm still too set in my ways for that to save enough time.

One interesting effect of inking my pencils, I was alot more free with spotting blacks and finding places for heavy shadows. It certainly helped with the mood of the preview, being at night and the seriousness of the fight. When we have more scenes at the school, I'm sure that will lighten up as needed.

So with a moodier feel to the art through heavier shadows, another major contributor to the art is of course the colors.
By acquiring Bob Pedroza to color the book, we knew going into the preview that he would really be able to handle the effects and mood of the fight. The abilities each character has needed to have their own signature color/design. We wanted them to very much feel like an unique individual, but also keep them feeling like a team. Bob did an amazing job with that. Gar's blue transformation, Jenny's orange surrounding armor effects, Kat's ability to manipulate fire were all rendered in a unique way. However, you never feel like it's out of place in this world we've created.
We wanted a very slick, but dark superhero atmosphere. And through a combination of shadows and texture in the inks, and Bob's many embelishments through great color choices, we've found a great "look" for the series!

At any rate, there is a look into the process. I will be posting more sketches and character designs, so be sure to check out the block regularly!
Robert