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Howdy Comic Artisans,
It's Korey here, the other half of the creative duo that runs the show here at How to Draw Comics .NET. Thanks to my creative knack for conjuring up monstrous abominations, brother Clayton has passed on the reigns to yours truly for today's Tutorial.
That's right! I'm here to teach you how to draw monsters and creatures - brewed from absolute, creative mayhem...
Whether it be the next boil engulfed brute, ghastly ghoul, or manglated mutant; I'm here to direct you in drawing up the most frightening foes your Comic Book Heroe's and Heroines will ever face - The egor to your Frankenstein; the bulging belly to your gestating xenomorph.
In this special How to Draw Monsters and Creatures tutorial, I'm going to break down my creative process for drawing this beasty to the right > the one, the only, Papa Pig.
You'll discover the secret sauce to getting your creative juices pumping into a grotesque frenzy of creaturely ideas.
Then I'll show you how to flesh them out, drawing them down onto paper using simple building blocks to construct the frame work of a solid creature design.
You'll learn how to convey a compelling back story for your creepy creatures through strategic design choices and carefully placed visual ques.
Finally, you'll learn how vividly exude a monstrous personality for your character through posture and body language.
Enjoy the tutorial, and be sure to send your horrifying hogs to firstname.lastname@example.org to score your place in the Comic Art Gallery right here on How to Draw Comics .NET!
Step 1. Creating a Story
Every drawing begins with an idea; beautiful, beastly or otherwise. So before putting your pencil to paper - sit back, relax and mentally mull over your soon to be monstrous masterpiece. Since we're drawing nightmarish oinkers here, you might syphon your seed of inspiration from a formidable 'giant, man-eating pig movie' (Razorback... Chaw... anyone?)...
Once you've planted that seed, what's really going to bring your idea into full bloom is the Story you've buried it in. Story gives an idea clarity and meaning - grounding it in reality as something unique, but not something which is different for the sake of being different. Story helps the idea to make sense of itself, giving it a reason not only for the way it visually looks, but for its entire existence. In fact... the backstory behind your morbid creations can be one of their most compelling aspects.
So what's Papa Pig's story then?
"Papa Pig is a retired War Hog, who had been respected by many as a legendary warrior of the highest calibre. Living out his days in the aftermath of glory, the old boar was too weak to guard his clan from attack, managing only to protect what was most important to him - his sons. Evading capture, Papa Pig, along with his piglet kin ventured into the wilderness. Over the years the Piglets were moulded into fierce battle hogs, as Papa Pig sternly taught them the ways of his own master, in hopes of someday avenging his people."
This brief and relatively simple back story gives us enough material to begin picturing a mental representation of Papa Pig in our mind. It works in very much the same way as reading any other fictional story. As you read you interpret the visuals with your own imagination.
Okay... Moving on. From this paragraph alone we now know that Papa Pig, being a retired warrior, is likely going to look physically older in age but with a solid, heavy set build. His costume will be derived from a tribal design, with references to characters such as Conan the Barbarian, assorted Lord of the Rings Characters, and maybe even some Dothraki War mongers to boot. He'll also need to come across as a wise leader, a sensei of sorts.
Taking the attributes we've noted down here, derived completely from the backstory of this old War Hog, our mission now is to create a design that visually consolidates and communicates them to our audience. This is ultimately what effective monster and creature design is all about. Even when creating a completely original concept, your audience still needs to be able to understand why and what it is you're showing them without a doubt.
So now you have your brief, what's your interpretation of Papa Pig and how will you 'show' him as an old, wise, warrior retired, pig father? If you like, play around with the example story and try to give it your own twist before moving on.
Step 2. Drawing the Shape and Pose
We'll begin from the ground up, by laying down the foundational frame work for Papa Pig's Drawing. The three P's are really all we need concern ourselves with at this point - Placement, Pose and Proportions. Any Anatomy, Design or decorative Details will ultimately be wrapped around this sketchy skeleton of a drawing; making the three P's an absolute nessessity to the drawing's overall success.
How exactly do we determine the scaling and placement of the three P's? By drawing directly from our back story of course!
Let's consider this old Boar's Proportions first. As an example, you might've pictured Papa Pig as an immovable, heavyset brute, that's probably drowned his sorrowful days of battle down at the local tavern all too often. So proportionally he'd likely be a little on the chunky side, with giant lumbering arms and little hind legs to support his beer filled, barrel of a body.
Once the Proportions are portioned, it's time for Piggy to strike a Pose. Since Papa Pig is an old and worn down warrior, he could be drawn hunched over and weary; perhaps leaning on a support of some kind to keep himself from toppling over. Let's not forget however that this Hog was once a fearsome Battle Boar, as such he still needs to appear as though he is capable of holding his own. So his stance could be set wider apart here to help stabilize and ground his solid, oafish stature.
Remember, this is merely my interpretation of Papa Pig. Maybe you imagined him to be completely different - which is a good thing! Call upon your unique flavour of creativity to draw Papa Pig in your own vision. Once that vision's vividly burned into your mental retina, nail down the Proportions, Placement and Pose using a simple Manniquin Model made of 3D Primitives.
Keep your lines loose and gestural to give a sense of fluidity to the pose and don't be too precious about neatness or refinement. Now is the time for experimentation and prototyping. Taking the pressure off yourself in the beginning affords you the freedom to think more broadly about things such as composition and layout.
Step 3. Drafting the Design
With the Proportions, Pose and Placement of our Manniquinised mud roller done and dusted... It's time to get down and dirty with the design draft. This is what you've been waiting for folks!
Daring design prototyping is thoroughly encouraged here, providing our creative exploration is aligned with Papa Pig's story. Since he's a wise old swine, why not try on a finely manicured moustache, complete with a tamely tied goatee? A staff in the form of a pitch fork, that also doubles as a quadruple headed spear might also be in order. And of course, no boarish beastie ever leaves home without a sturdy set of studded leather armour pads.
Let's not forget to draw in Papa Pig's precious piglet kin either, since they too are also an integral part of his story.
To keep our options open for creative exploration, the initial design for Papa Pig, his costume and his piglets remains rather loose. Just as soon as we've got something solid to run with, it's time to nail down our creature concept for good.
When it comes to the articulation of your design, it's a good idea to refer back to the reference material to capture those subtle nuances that might otherwise have been missed. This will also help to keep Papa Pig from falling into the dreaded well of generic design decisions.
See, our brain tends to be conservative when storing and recalling information. It generalises input to make all the information it receives more manageable to process. As an example, while you may have a vague idea of Conan the barbarian's dress code, it likely exists as more of a symbolic representation then a mental replica when called upon from memory. This is why, when working without references, designs tend to turn out more generic.
You'll notice above, in example 3, that although the lines I've used to flesh out the design are tighter then the design draft in example 2, they are by no means representative of the final line art. The aim here is to get the drawing to a level where we're able to tell exactly what we're working with. After that's handled, only then is it time for the final polish.
Step 3. Detailing and Rendering
With the design doodled in, it's time to polish up this not so little piggy with a rendering rundown.
Rendering encompasses a few things in the final stages of a drawing. Primarily Highlights, Shadows and Half Tones, as well as all those intricately placed Details. So before we get too carried away, we're going to need to establish some kind of Light Source. From there we can determine a direction from which the light will be cast onto our figure. At this point, placement of the Core Shadows and Highlights quickly becomes apparent.
Environmental lighting conditions are also something to consider. This helps to determine how much shadow actually needs to applied to our character in the first place. For example, if Papa Pig was placed in a night time setting, saturated in darkness, he'd likely be drenched in condensed clumps of shadow. In comparison, if he were placed in day light, a few sporadic hints of shading here and there might be all that's needed polish off this piggy.
Now that the light source has been established, it's time to jump right into this! Papa Pig's head is the first order of business here. Rendering and Shadowing can be a tedious, time devouring struggle of a task to tackle. So let me make it simple for you... Literally. Simplify the drawing.
Because let me tell you, shading the head of a hideous hog is a lot more complex than if you were to instead think of it as a simple Sphere with a Cylinder shaped snout tagged on the front. By translating your drawing into Primitive Shapes, it instantly becomes clearer as to where Shadows actually need to be placed. Of course, not everything can be whittled down into Spheres and Cylinders. So for the more intricate areas of your character, try converting them into Geometrical Planes. The planes facing away from the light will be in shadow, while those facing toward it will be graded in lighter tones.
It's also worth mentioning here that, depending on the direction of your Light Source, certain forms will cast shadows across those sitting behind them. Cast Shadows are usually laid in thick with little to no tonal blending.
After handling his head, I turn my sights to the rest of Papa Pig's body. The thick muscle forms bulging out of his arms are described using a combination of shadow and midtone rendering.
The armour clad around his shoulder is a nasty mess of razor sharp spikes, clustered atop leather covered sheets of forged metal. Here I pay special attention to capturing just the right look for the iron beaten surface material of the shoulder pads.
Papa Pig's belly folds are elegantly defined using a series of Render Lines. By breaking them up into tiny dashes of detail, the surface of his plump pooch roughens into lumpy dimples of cellulite.
Rendering Lines are also great for blending pure white and black tones together. By varying their length and distance to one another, tonal gradients can be achieved to create soft shadows that transition seamlessly from dark to light values.
The two piglets are basically Papa Pig's hunting hogs, restrained by studded leather collars that wrap tightly around their necks.
I'm trying to suggest a very subtle balance of savagery and cuteness here. While they're all chained up they almost look like you could squeeze those chubby cheeks and give them a good pat. Let loose however, these petrifying little grunters wouldn't think twice about running their victims down and savagely mauling them to death.
Combined with their smaller size and relatively less hideous features, the piglets also contribute a certain level of contrast against Papa Pig. In a way, this causes Papa Pig to look even more monstrous then he otherwise would if it were just him and his pitch fork.
I rinse and repeat the same Rendering and Shadowing technique until the overgrown, brutish boar is drenched in copious amounts of delicious detail. From there it's time to show the neglected miniature piglets some extra tender love and care.
Because these guys aren't fully grown mutant porkers just yet, they're pretty much the stark resemblance of a normal pig. Which makes things fairly straight forward for us in the source referencing department.
As I refine and render their beady little eyes, puckered snout and subtle folds of fat, I can't help but to picture these adorable little pig pugs being carried around in a diamond covered hand bag.
Step 4. Finalising the Drawing and Inking
We're only a few strides away from the finish line folks! At least where the drawing is concerned anyway. When it comes to lighting your figures, human, creature or otherwise, you'll likely bump into more then a few obstacles before getting a real feel for it. But here's a few bonus pointers to help guide you along the way when it comes to Shadowing and Rendering Comic Art.
Remember, Simplifying the comlpex forms in your drawing will help you to visualise, in your mind, how the shadows should be cast. Sure, the smaller forms, such as masses of muscle and wrinkled fabric folds might break up the shadowed areas of the larger forms, but you'll always want to maintain a conscious perception as to how the lighting is being distributed across the underlying, broader forms they sit on top of.
Casting one side of an object directly in shadow and leaving the other completely lit works if the light source is sitting right next to
the object. In reality though, light is capable of casting from multiple directions, so it could also be beaming in from the front, top, back or bottom - or a combination of those directions.
To replicate realistic lighting, it's paramount to not only keep this in mind, but also to place your Core Highlights and Shadows accordingly. By Core Highlights and Shadows, I'm referring to the most intense points of light and dark values across the form.
For example, if you were to imagine a cylinder being lit directly from the front, the Core Highlight would be placed close to the middle, while the Core Shadows would occur on either side of the object.
Finally, remember that the bigger the form is, the larger it's shadow will be. This goes for both casting, and the thickness of the shadow on the form itself. Defining a shadow which is too thin can leave the form with an undesirable, embossed effect.
After getting down and dirty with some last minute intricate details, we're about ready to wrap this drawing up for good! Speaking of details, as much as they do add additional juicy goodness to your art work, don't overdo it! Cramming your drawings with too much detail is the perfect recipe for a pig’s breakfast, causing it to wind up looking like a flat, visually unreadable mess... So try to keep a healthy balance of detail and rest stops for the viewer’s eyes to relax.
Alrighty. So now that the drawing is done and dusted, what next? Well now that the pencilling phase of this comic book illustration is out the way it's time to move onto the inks. It's easy to misinterpret inking as that part of the comic art creating process where the drawing is simply traced over with black Lines...
But it is in fact, much more then that. When it comes to pencilling, you can, in some instances, let the Line work slide a little. It might even look a little sketchy in some parts. Regardless, inking your drawing is the final frontier where the line art of your drawing is concerned.
As such it often takes even longer then the initial pencilling to complete, as this is where the line art is impeccably polished into its definitive form. It'll be the inks that are presented to your audience when the illustration goes to print. So don't take any shortcuts here.
Personally, even though the finished pencils of my comic art are usually quite tight, I still like to ink my own work. This ensures that the final Line drawing ends up being exactly what I envisioned it to be.
If you are getting someone else to ink your pencils for you, I'd highly suggest polishing off the pencils as much as possible before passing it down the line. The looser and sketchier the pencils are, the more open the drawing is for interpretation when it comes to inking.
Most, if not all of my work is inked digitally nowadays. This has a few advantages, primarily being that if you make a mistake or you want to tweak the line weights you can simply use the eraser tool to do so. Of course, traditionally, these inking hiccups would be addressed with white out.
Step 5. Comic Art Coloring!
When it comes to Comic Art, I like to stick to what I do best - which is drawing terrifying monsters and grisly creatures. So in this section I'm going to hand over Papa Pig to Clayton, the comic book coloring crusader himself. - Korey out.
Hi class! It's Clayton here, let's get stuck straight into coloring up this impeccable man-pig - Comic Book style!
Step 1 - lay down the base colors you'd like to saturate your creature in. This is known as color flatting, primarily because all we're really dealing with at this point is one flat color tone.
That means we don't have to stress over lighting, or the various dark and light color values that might crop up as a result, at least for now.
Our main concern in the flatting phase is filling in Papa Pig with an appropriate color scheme; and keeping inside the lines of course. Consider that certain colors evoke particular feelings. So the colors you decide on will also depend on the kind of mood you'd like your character to exude!
Being the grotty grunter he is, I've opted for a carefully picked palette consisting of desaturated, muddy colors such as browns, beige and grey pinks and peaches. Since there's very little contrast between these colors, and none of them are at all bright or saturated, they present Papa Pig with an undertone of unwelcoming gloominess. Which is exactly what I'm going for here. After all, the last thing I want this boorish beast to be comparable with is sunshine and lollypops.
You might also notice that the combination of colors themselves work together in unison to further accentuate Papa Pig's murky eminence. This is actually a hybrid mix of Analogous and Neutral color schemes, meaning that most of the Colors sit together consecutively on the color wheel, and are greyed out or 'neutralized'.
With the flats finished, Papa Pig may have color, but he is still yet to have form. Where does form come from? Why Highlights and Shadows of course!
Let's venture into the darkness first... When it comes to picking a shadowy color scheme, I like to ride with cooler hues, such as semi-saturated Blues and Purples.
Korey has made it crystal clear with his slickly refined line art as to where the light source is casting from in his comic book illustration. So using it as a guide, I'll broadly overlay the cooler, darker tones right in over the top of the Base Colors.
To make this as easy as possible I'm going break this insanely detailed drawing back down to basics, Laying in the shadows around Papa Pig's forms as if they were nothing more then Cylinders and Spheres.
As soon as the shadows are set, we're really going to make this piggy pop by pin pointing the core highlights. Concerning Highlight colors, I'll compliment the shadow's cooler tones by picking from a range of warmer hues, such as Yellows and Reds.
Keeping the light source in mind, I considore where the highlights will be at their most intense against Papa Pig's base forms. Since the light is being cast from above, the highlights will be much more intense near the top half of his body, then the bottom.
It's not over yet though folks... With the base pass of highlights and shadows laid down to rest, the time has come to articulate the secondary forms; particularly regarding piggy's facial features, rippling masses of muscle and intricate armour details.
This is as simple as lassoing the areas we want to articulate and punching up the brightness. Instead of thinking in terms of Cylinders and Spheres, this time round I think of each part of Papa Pig's anatomy as a form in and of itself, building up the highlights on each.
Okay, it's time to bump up the brightness on those highlights once more to give Papa Pig's juicy masses some mad definition! For this last lighting pass, I pull the selection zone in, around the form's high points to really pin down the highlight hotspots. As the brightness is intensified, subtly hitting the edges of those selections will cause the lighter tones to step up in value, instead of ascending into a straight gradient.
Take contrast into consideration and be aware of where the highlights will be at their most intense across each form. As we near the climactic end of Papa Pig's colorization, finessing the tonal balance is what will really cause your creation to pop off of the page with an even higher degree of three dimensionality.
Finally to really polish this piggy to perfection, you might want to make some color corrections your creaturely creation by adjusting the overall brightness, contrast and saturation.
And that my friend is where I leave you back in the capable, creature creating hands of Korey. Oh and before I go... In case you're hungry for a more detailed lesson in Creature coloring, here's a link to the video tutorial I've put together as an additional addon to this tutorial - (Coming Soon)
So my fellow creature, creating Comic Artist, how did your horrid hog pan out? Listen, let's not put lip stick on a pig here - Papa Pig probably ain't gonna win no beauty pageants any time soon. But one thing’s for sure, the fancy pants Super Hero who crosses paths with this guy won't fathom the fear reined upon them by such a monstrosity; no matter how brave they are.
Now that you've got your brutish boar prepped and ready to bombard those spandex clad crusaders, why not come up with another fearsome foe of the critter kind? Grace the pages of your Comic books with an entire brood of beasts. After all, doesn't every super villain need at least a few horrid hench men to scare the bajeezus out of those good guys?
Drawing Creatures and Monsters for Comic books is a fearfully exciting endeavour, because this is where the imagination gets to truly roam wild. Proportions don't need to be perfect, and anatomy can be reshaped and appropriated to fit the structure of the monsters and creatures you envision. The key is coming up with interesting and unique ideas that your fans will drool over...
So do some research! The world is full of strange and wonderful creatures you can use as inspiration. Combine a few together and blow them up to novelty size. In this Creature / Monster Tutorial, we went with a giant, half-pig, half-man combo. Next up, you might merge a Cow and a Chicken together and scale it up to the size of a bus! Or maybe you could try creating a miniature camel-ape... One shutters to contemplate such an abomination!
Don't stop there either - sure tearing the Heroes of your stories limb from limb and devouring the rest is threatening, but do your Monsters and Creatures have any super-powers of their own? Do they spit radioactive slime, or fire poisonous projectiles made of bone? Go crazy with these creatures... but not too crazy... You mad scientist, you!
I hope you thoroughly enjoyed this Comic Art Tutorial on Drawing Monsters and Creatures. Be sure to venture back around these parts again sometime, if you dare! Until next time, draw out the monster within. - Korey
Thanks for reading;
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Free how to draw comics tutorial.
Until next time, goodbye and GOOD LUCK!