Digging thru old sketchbooks

Going thru old sketches can lead to inspiration. I recently scanned a lot of old marker high contrast drawings I did years ago. I think this was the period of my run on Batman Confidential, because there were some Batman sketches. I cannot remember why I never used thIs style on the book. It's a style as moody, if not moreso than my old Wetworks style, but is quicker and easier to do, being that all the magic happens on the fly since I go straight to ink from layouts, no tight pencils. I'm itching to find a project to use this style in now...
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James Bingham

The illustrations of James Bingham are an inspiration to me. Specifically his technique of using colored paper with shading and white highlights within the target zone of the image. His subtle use of white in various degrees make up for the overall simple color. I also love how he uses the white as a directional to focus the viewers eye towards the important parts of the image.

I am trying to translate this to my commission style with markers because this is a very smooth style that once mastered can be done fairly quickly. Perfect for conventions. I've always been looking for a style that can convey a lot of light logic but can be achieved quickly. I love rendering, and to be able to do it within the hustle of a crowded convention hall is a great skill to achieve.
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Markers continued...

Just tried some small quick test on colored paper. Not too happy. I used a white acrylic pencil. The white was too broad (rough) and not very controllable. I think I need to find a chalk pencil and smoother paper.
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Marker Experiments

This last convention at Phoenix I decided to give another stab at using markers for commissions. Something my wife has been asking me to do for some time now. I've been putting it off because I wasn't happy with my process. Either, I would put in too much detail, defeating the purpose of a commission, that you cam do it quickly or I wouldn't have the the image go to black or white enough. Now I will try to resolve my issues.

After spending the weekend doing commissions with markers in Phoenix I have come to enjoy the technique as I've figured it out so far. One reason is I stumbled upon what I call forced dry brushing. A technique where you"throw" the marker at the end of the stroke. Meaning you purposely and quickly pick up the marker off the page as you finish your stroke. This allows for happy brush like accidents, and gives you a fade off kind of an effect. Allowing for adding simple gradations of grey. This facilitates modeling with markers. This also gives you an overall brush look.

What's also fun about this is you can get interpretive strokes with it. So you can get a lot of expression in abstract types of backgrounds. Useful for adding energy glows and energy blasts. You must be careful, but this also helps you to decide on certain paths to follow in your work. I find when I am undecided on what to do next in a commission, I can take the broad tipped marker and throw a general broad stroke and use that stroke to dictate or suggest what to do next. This is important because it gives spontaneous energy to the piece and potentially gives you many variations on your work.

Because of this I am very happy with modeling with markers, I am now very comfortable shading with markers. Where I need work is the highlight area. I think I can occasionally hit the highlight correctly. But because this is a technique where you must "leave out" white of the paper for a highlight, creating highlight areas is not a natural process and requires a lot of forethought. I like shaping the highlights as I like shading.

Rafael Kayanan recently tweeted a tribute to James Bingham. He mastered a technique where I can take how I model with markers onto colored paper, instead of plain white paper, and then come in and work with maybe a white pencil and workout the highlight areas. By starting with colored paper I am from the beginning eliminating all white. I can then go in with a white pencil and control all of the white of the image. I'm thinking of using a white pencil because of the control I can exert with it, also this allows for quick execution. In the next few days I'll post my test.

The other side is going to black within the image. So far in my expedients I've been able to go to W7. That is, warm grey number 7 with Copic markers. W7 is dark but not exactly black. Going all the way to 100 black seems too many steps to take. Too much work. This is one thing I like about oil painting. Using burnt sienna and burnt umber is dark enough and allows you to actually go all the way to black whenever you want for effect.

So after I figure out the white thing, I will attack the black problem. I want to eventually be able to do blacks with thrown in highlights within the blacks like in a Frazetta painting.
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