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I am quite sorry, I fell out of the blog groove for quite a few days there, but I’m back now.

Another drawing tip for today. If you have trouble getting started drawing a woman’s face, then simply rough a man’s face in that position, and make it feminine. Sometimes we all have those mental blocks that
keep us from certain pathways, and you just have to go around ’em.

Cages on head keep the crazy out. Or is that in?

Rulers suck. Wait, that’s not advice. Rulers suck? No, that’s a question. Hmm. Don’t use rulers. Is that advice? Sure, we’ll go with that. Well, rulers need to be used, so maybe that’s not good. Shit. Avoid unnecessary straight lines. Yes! Winner! I should be paid for this, all the effort I put in. I’m comin for your job, Stephen Hawking.

Keep at least somewhat up on fashion. This is one of those things that you should probably be doing anyhow, so that you aren’t walking around with taped glasses, a checkered shirt, and a fanny pack. Put a little effort into the designs, and the more up on fashion you are, the more real and modern the extras will look, and the more smoothly your future character designing will go. You don’t have to go all out and become Gwen Stefani, or some other modern pop culture reference, but pay attention to the world around you.

If all else fails, just copy what better artists do. Rob Liefeld does it, and he’s a millionaire!

Don’t block yourself. If you’re writing an indefinite series, don’t write the best story ever written this issue, if five issues down the line, you’ll be stuck in a desert without any plausible way out. You need to keep gas in the tank, and oil in the engine, probably why John Seavey recently coined the term “storytelling engine.”

There are a variety of ways to do this, and obviously the more iconic and simple a concept you have to start with, the easier, but watch out that you’re stories aren’t too simple. As Superman can attest, too iconic provides for some lame adventures. All Star Superman may be great, but then it’s also supposedly going to kill off Superman too, so there’s somewhat of a block were that timeline to continue after the next creative team jumps aboard. I won’t tell you how to avoid the problem, that’s one of those trade secrets. Well, either that or I just blatantly stole the idea for this entry from Seavey.

Flowers offset a room.

Day 12: A good tip if you want to switch up angles, whether you’re the writer or penciller, is to show a character’s effect before showing them. Usually you’ll notice this when the character is supposed to look menacing, your average creator will just throw a shadow over a victim or another person and then focus on that person’s expression in the next panel. The shock, the horror. Blah blah blah. It’s usually pretty boring. But there are other ways to do it too. For example, show a rose, or some kind of small flower growing through a crack in the sidewalk, or stone ground, followed by, say, a woman’s feet, and then an important lovely female character. Or even a melancholy Superman would work. Or hell, Darkseid would do well. You’re creativity is the master, this is just a technique.

Day 13: Don’t take a good inker for granted. The job is not just tracing. And a fair amount of the good inkers gave up on pencilling to fill the need. I know I mentioned this before indirectly, but it needs to be said, just so we’re clear. In the past I went looking for an inker for my “Apocrypha” project, and there really are a lot of amateur inkers out there who think it’s just tracing, and anyone with a pen or a computer can do it. An inker can make or break a work, so you have to be wary of who you trust to finish the pencils. And make sure the inker’s style is appropriate to the penciller’s. Kevin Nowlan and Richard Friend are both ridiculously amazing inkers, I’ve actually bought work just because Friend was the inker, but they also bring a large amount of their own style to it, and can overlap the penciller’s work. It was great with Dustin Nguyen, because he’s such a good storyteller, and then you get a characteristically Friend (or even Charest-esque) style, but it isn’t always a good mix. IMHO, a lot of Joe Sinnott’s work after Jack Kirby was all very bland, and held the industry back from breaking Kirby’s mold. Which, y’know, Kirby’s a legend, but it’s like Alan Moore said with the “Drawing Comics the Marvel Way,” John Buscema is a good artist, but we don’t need a hundred of him. Helped the iconic imagery, but damaged comics as a serious artform.

So it’s the ol’ B-day today, and what else should I talk about but dames? Most artists will have figured out by now that broads are about 10x the better looking and 10x the easier to f*** up on. The common convention in comics is to draw as little as possible, letting the reader’s mind fill in the rest. Jim Lee, Marko Djurdevic, David Finch, a lot of the high-profile artists do it. It’s a solid method. Even a rule that transfers over to everything else, if you want it to.

But there is a more important reason they do this, and why too many lines can easily ruin a dame’s face. An actual dame’s face. You might have noticed that when you look at miss femme fatale’s face, immediately, there are still lines and shadows all over it, wrapping around the nose, eyes, mouth, lips, cheekbones, dimples, forehead, etc. etc.

Just taking Marisa Tomei’s face for instance:

Beautiful, yeah, but there’s more lines there than say:

So why get rid of the detail? Well, most of those lines, as it happens, actually describe a smoother, less prominent surface. And seeing as comics are generally done with a lot of black lines, for most artists, they would just end up as wrinkles. So you have Charles Bronson in a dress instead of a beautiful woman. Something I’m pretty sure no one should have to see. Ever. And if you’re like me, the back of your head just brought up Oscar de la Hoya’s fishnet escapade. Icky. Two in one day? Yup. That’s what kind of guy I am. I hope that haunts your thoughts like I’m sure it will mines.

Back on topic, it is possible to avoid the pinhead-bearded-leatherface-Clint-Eastwood-lady if you remember that the principle to feminine beauty is subtlety. The female face is soft and tender, so treat it appropriately. Who knows, you might just be pulling this off:

The eraser is a powerful tool, it can be the foundation or destroyer of entire worlds. If you use it too much, the paper won’t love the pencil marks like she used to, and if you use it too little, you can waste that piece of paper just the same. Wisdom is key. You’re One-Above-All, and it’s Thanos, sometimes you have to rebuild parts of the Universe, just make sure you aren’t effectively destroying EVERYTHING. That Thanos is a bastard, but a necessary one.

This goes for writers too, but sometimes you guys need to pull major overhauls, even demolish 90% of the multiverse. There really are some crap ideas out there, don’t purport blandness. This is comics, we get enough of that as is.