Kitty and Lockheed by tydesignSketch Fury Challenge No. 7
Sketch Fury is challenging, but that’s intentional. It keeps us sharp. You have two weeks to draw each challenge, but a new challenge is posted every week. Personally I know that if I allow a few days to pass, my skills become dull.
Kronos0666 had a great suggestion to include our ‘scraps’ along with our submissions. I’ve done this on previous posts (most recently with Sketch Fury Challenge No.6, Quicksilver). I often start drawing only to quickly hate what I’ve done. Rather than sulk about it, I usually launch into another sketch. The trick is knowing when to stop and start over and then return again. Doing multiple drawings can offer a fresh perspective from sketch to sketch.
When the Commish issued this challenge, I initially was compelled to take on Daenerys Targaryen. It would simply be the more difficult of the two characters because a likeness to Emilia Clarke (actress) is required to properly adapt the character. A successful comic book adaptation of a living character is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Georges Jeanty captures Sarah Michelle Gellar’s facial expressions while still adapting her to a 2D world.
At the end of the day, however, I couldn’t pass up the chance to tackle one of my favorite X-Men characters. When I think about comic book characters, I remember covers. After all, it’s what publishers use to entice you to pick up, purchase, and buy the book. Now of course, I’m a long time X-Men fan and if you’ve followed Sketch Fury on Facebook, then you would know some of my favorite work on the book occurred in the 1980s. It was my golden age and it was the pencils of Paul Smith that had me hooked. There was an ease to his style that still managed to effectively tell the intricate stories being weaved by Chris Claremont.
I’m nostalgic for those days because there was a certain levity interwoven into the action and often life-threatening stories being told. As any X-Men fan will tell you, playing baseball with mutant powers was an often reoccurring activity in their books. One more example before I launch into my weekly art reflection. Have a look at this moment crafted by Paul. It’s pure magic for me and always leaves me tickled pink and enchanted by the wonders of comic book storytelling. Direct link to the art, click here. And to credit the blog I found this scanned gem on: The Real Gentlemen of Leisure site.
Now on to the crux of what I learned this week.
Lately it feels that I’ve been more focused on the figure rather than the overall composition. I’m being overly critical of course, but the figure has been a challenge in of itself so I’m allowing myself a hall pass.
I draw roughly. I press hard. I sketch in many lines when one may do, just to get the form correct. I’m changing this though. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe it’s an important part of my process—start rough and tighten the sketch to a more finished line. It’s my practice to minimize the amount of erasing I do during the blue line phase. I’m searching for the form to the elements and drawing through to make sure my proportions are correct.
Once I’m satisfied with the structure I then lay in my finishing graphite pencils. I’m still a bit rough here because I’m also making adjustments. Much like a sculptor, I’m shaping and whittling the form. Where I often fail, is I don’t get tighter. Now this is a stylistic choice. Certainly there are many different levels of finish and it depends on what you want to achieve. For me, I want a cleaner look, so I want cleaner lines.
With Kitty this week I feel as if I’m making some breakthroughs towards my goal. I’m quite happy about the way it turned out, but as I’m writing this of course I’m beginning to see the fault lines if you will.
Each week I’ve been struggling and working through the same issues of foreshortening the figure and the twisting of the body (see my sketches of Quicksilver and Hawkman for comparison). I’m getting there though and I’ve been quite happy with the progress I’ve been making from sketch challenge to sketch challenge. Every moment brings me new insights to my own tendencies in drawing. I’m beginning to pick and choose which of these habits to keep and which to leave.
- Crosshatching and shading is getting there. I need to determine when to cheat, not always drawing crosshatch areas if it muddies up details, such as the face.
- Cleaner and tighter finished sketch.
- Pilot Color Eno Mechanical Pencil – 0.7 mm – Soft Blue Body – Soft Blue Lead
- Ohto Promecha 500P Drafting Pencil – 0.4 mm
- Paper Mate Tuff Stuff Eraser Stick
- Tombow Mono Zero Eraser – 2.3 mm – Circle – Black Body
- STAEDTLER 526 B209 Mars Rasoplast Black Edition Eraser
- Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Board Pads
- I wish I could say it’s not foreshortening, but yeah it is. It will be until I feel I’ve got more control over it.
- More dynamic poses with even more foreshortened extremes.
Closing Sketch Bonus
Paul Smith recently redid my favorite Kitty Pryde cover, Uncanny X-Men #168, as a commission. Requirement was to include Lockheed! (The Commish must have been colluding with Dr. Strange for this challenge).
View Paul Smith’s Kitty & Lockheed