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I receive many questions asking me things like how I work or what tools do I use. So here is a little faq with the questions I'm more often asked:
-Where does the idea for "THE uNDERDOG" come from?
From many places. Graphically, from the great European comic masters: Moebius , Pratt , Manara , Bilal , Tardi , Giménez , Font and many, many others.
About the story and the concept I have obvious influences from movies. From old black and white boxing and gangsters movies like “The Set-up” , “Body and Soul” , “Requiem for a Heavyweight” , “The harder they fall” or “Champion” to Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky” (the ultimate underdog).
But I guess that the main idea came from Elia Kazan’s “On the Waterfront” and specially from that great scene where Brando was speaking to his brother:
"It wasn't him, Charley, it was you. Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and you said, "Kid, this ain't your night. We're going for the price on Wilson." You remember that? "This ain't your night"! My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors on the ballpark and what do I get? A one-way ticket to Palooka-ville! You was my brother, Charley, you shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn't have to take them dives for the short-end money." "You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charley."
I get a lot of inspiration from music too. I remember that I was listening to “Pictures of You” from “The Cure” when I was drawing the scene where the boxer is staring at his girl’s picture. I always listen to music when I draw.
A lot of books and writers have also been a big influence in me but basically I love boxing and I believe that it is a great metaphor for life. The boxing ring is like life itself. You just have one chance to give your best shot and you have to choose between your dreams and so many interests that are built around. The real fight is not in the ring but outside. It’s the eternal fight between the capable and the parasite living off other’s effort. I believe that everybody has at least one of those nights, like the character of Brando in the waterfront, when a looter comes in and tries to convince us that we just can’t win, that we just can’t understand, that there is no purpose in life, that every effort is futile, that there is no pride, no integrity, no honesty, no justice, no self esteem, no happiness… "THE uNDERDOG" is everybody who fights against all odds and becomes great by never giving up.
-What percentage of my work is digitally created?
100%! I first started using the computer just to color my comics, but it was difficult to do something beyond that with just a mouse. But since I bought my Wacom, I now work everything digitally. I no longer use pencils, brushes or paper. From the first sketch to the final image everything is done on the computer.
I usually draw in photoshop freehand with my wacom. Working this way allows me to draw faster and to be more productive. I don’t have to start penciling and after that inking because with the computer it’s like sketching and inking at the same time because you can erase the “ink” if you make any mistakes.
I also use some 3D with 3D Studio MAX as reference to achieve more realistic perspectives and to make several tests about the camera angles and illumination. You can see more information about how I work on “THE uNDERDOG” comic here.
-How do I use 3D for my strips?
I use a lot of 3D for my comics. I strongly believe that the computer and 3D graphics are just another tool that the artist can use as he uses his pencil or his brush.
I have been testing with a hybrid style that combines 3D “non-photorealistic renders” with hand drawings. Lately, I just make some “quick” 3D scenes with almost no textures and with one single source light. Instead of drawing horizon lines and suffering with vanishing points I use this rough 3D render as a reference for drawing complex perspectives.
-Do I find 3D speeds up my work?
I can’t say that 3D speeds up my work. I mean, 3D makes some of the tasks easier but you have to invest time in some other processes, like modeling or texturing. On the other hand, I can say that 3D really improves my images quality.
The whole combination of digital techniques is what speeds up my work. Working everything on the computer with the help of a graphic tablet has been a revolution in my way of working that really has improved my productiveness.
-Computer hardware I use to create my work?
-Pentium IV, 3.00 Ghz. It’s getting old, it’s time to change it : )
-1.00 GB of RAM
-Hard Drive: 1 Tb
-Graphic Tablet: Intuos2 12x18 tablet with USB connector
-Computer software I use to create my work?
-2D Drawing and coloring: Adobe Photoshop CS3, Corel Painter X.
-2D Effects: Adobe Photoshop CS3.
-3D: Google Sketchup, Autodesk 3D Studio MAX 8. Several Plugins: Character Studio, Cartoon Reyes, Illustrator.
-Images visualization: ACDSEE 2.22.
-Books that feature my comics and Illustrations?
- TOON ART: The Graphic Art of Digital Cartooning: by Steven Withrow. Released in July, 2003, available for order on Amazon.com. Featuring info on digital art cartooning, tutorials and art from different web cartoons, including "THE uNDERDOG" :))
- Digital Webbing Presents #13: Featuring "The Interrogation".
- "How to Draw and Sell Digital Cartoons" by Leo Hartas. This practical, hands-on guide shows how to create professional quality digital cartoons, with information and advice that will remain pertinent for years to come. This book is a most have for today's cartoonist.
- "Cenizas Revista Narrativa Grafica 1". Featuring comic strips and articles from cutting edge artists and writers.
- "LAMIGALA 8". Comic de Alternativa.
- "Character Design For Graphic Novels" by Steven Withrow and Alexander Danner. Character Design for Graphic Novels not only showcases the best in character design from the world's leading artists onscreen and on the printed page, but provides you with a hardworking guide to the process behind the evolution and development of character design, the key milestones of the art, the genre busters, and the genre definers. The List of artist featured in this book is absolutely amazing. Check it here.
This stunning book offers a unique insight into the creative process, interviewing the genre's leading artists, showcasing their work, and showing how it is done so you can benefit from their expertise when creating your own graphic novel characters.
Throughout the book biographies of the major artists in each field, their inspirations, their achievements, and their finest hours, are highlighted to give you the inspiration required to succeed in this competitive field.
Learn how popular characters evolved from sketches, drawings, and initial inspirations, through fine-tuning, discussion, and alternative proposals, to onscreen debut and first-edition publication on the printed page.