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Drawing the Beast Within, by Pingo (picture intensive, no kidding)

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This started out as a series of posts in the Randomness thread as I was noodling about with ideas. But things in Randomness get lost fast, and people seemed interested.


So here is how I developed a pen and ink drawing from a preliminary sketch to (hopefully - not quite there yet) a finished drawing.


I'm currently involved in a game set in the World of Darkness combined with Exalted. My PC is a (former) vampire with a certain amount of mental baggage.  This drawing started as a tiny doodle in my sketchbook about The Beast Within, a major leitmotif in White Wolf's vampire games, as seen in the character's House of Memory (a sort of mental structuring invented in the real world in classical times to help people remember awesome amounts of stuff).



The original sketch was about 4 by 8 cm.


The text (if anyone is interested) is "... I could see what of my character was now imposed. Alien ways --" "You weren't frightened?" "They are only memories -- Diagnoses, if you will, of the actual thoughts. They cannot harm me."


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You uploaded a version without words in one of the threads. I was browsing the forums in bed, in the middle of the night, in the dark, and all alone. It startled me. T__T


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Once I saw the possibility of a full sized artwork, I worked up a preliminary sketch on tracing tissue.


This is a professional technique I learned in my illustration classes.  If you draw on tracing tissue it's easy to flip the drawing over and see it backwards.  Also you can trace things as needed and tape them here and there to help with the composition (I didn't do that this time -- if I had I would have used drafting tape, a tape that looks just like masking tape but has a much weaker adhesive and isn't so brutal when pulling it off paper).


This is pencil, smoothed with Q-tips and drawing stumps (tightly rolled cylinders of paper with soft points at each end), highlights picked out with a kneaded eraser.  It was an unholy mess of graphite, even wearing gloves, because tracing tissue has a slightly unsympathetic slick surface.  After I finished it I sprayed Krylon fixative on it (discovering that happily even after twenty-five years on the shelf my spray can of Krylon fixative still works -- I don't use it much).


ETA: Forgot to mention, this is a 14" x 11" sheet of tracing tissue, with a bit of a margin so the drawing is about 12" x 10".



Edited by Pingo
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So here is a the professional method for how to transfer a sketch to good art paper for a final drawing.


The art paper I am using is Strathmore Series 500 Bristol Board, Plate (smooth) surface.  It is a 100% cotton rag acid-free bristol, very nice to work on. (I have a big yellow-covered pad of Strathmore series 300 below that I am using as a drawing support.  It is pretty poor quality -- their lowest in fact -- and bleeds when inked. I use it for scratch paper.)


First, lay down a sacrificial piece of tracing tissue.  This is in case the spray fixative didn't fully take. 


Then lay the sketch down face down. You will be able to see it, backwards, because of the tracing tissue. 


Tape a clean piece of tracing tissue to the back of the sketch using drafting tape or a similar very gentle tape (visible at the corners below).  Use a ruler for the edges of the drawing.


Trace as precisely as you can with a fine point, soft lead pencil along the contours of the drawing, including major areas of tonal shift.



Gently remove the tape (even being gentle I lost a corner) and separate the tracing from the sketch.  It will look something like this. Note the very fine point technical pencil (0.3 mm lead) and lump of kneaded eraser to the right.



Now take your good art paper -- in this case a 14" x 11" sheet of Strathmore Series 500 Bristol Board, Plate Surface -- and again using a very gentle tape like drafting tape, secure the tracing, face down (graphite side down) to the paper.


In this case I had already lightly ruled the margins on the bristol board, so I lined  them up with the sketch's.



Now, taking a non-marking stylus sort of thing (I use a bamboo skewer, visible to the right, above), go over all the lines.  I like to draw directly over the lines on simple forms and rub, or burnish, in small complicated areas.


It's okay to peel up a corner and peek to make sure the pencil is transferring.


When done, remove the tape with more care than ever, and remove the tracing tissue.  The prepared art board should look roughly like this:



This is now ready to be inked. Protect it in the meanwhile with a clean sheet of tracing tissue (I have also rested it on a piece of the not-so-good bristol to protect its underside).

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Actual drawing starting!


Here is the prepared drawing paper and some pens.


In the Randomness thread I said:

Once upon a time I did all of this with brushes, dip pens, fountain pens, rapidographs, and India ink. Lovely results but my gods, the set-up and clean-up.


These days I have been using various of the good quality India ink art pens and felt-tip "brushes" available, augmented with some brush-and-ink for large areas of solid blacks.  What a difference!


(My eldest keeps asking why I don't use a tablet. :rolleyes:)


Here you can see a couple of pieces of scrap bristol board to the left where I have been testing various pens and approaches.  I cannot emphasize enough how useful this is when doing ink drawings.


Also note that most of the board is covered with a sheet of tissue paper.  This (and wearing gloves when inking) helps protect the drawing from accidents.



Working left to right (because I am right-handed), I started by laying in the coarse blacks on the monster's leg and background with a Pigma MB "brush" pen, following the flow of the forms with the lines. This helps accentuate the musculature on an otherwise flat surface.





Then I went in with smaller brushes and pens and added a lot of texture and tone.  This is the step that took two hours before I thought to take a photo.



I did some stippling, which is super tedious but can look marvelous.  This is still fairly flat-looking.



Here's a close-up of where I got to.  The ghost of my old mentor is tsk-ing at the harshness of the stippling, but I think I can make it work eventually.


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I was dissatisfied with how the stippling was shaping up.  After mulling it over for a few days, I decided to throw decorum to the wind and go in with some other textures.


First I used a brush pen to shape the edges of the smoke.



Then I took some extremely fine point pens and started noodling in little vermicelli patterns.  I don't know if I have photos close enough to show them well; they are really tiny.







Then using a smaller brush pen I started laying in the atmosphere in the center.  The lines are meant to follow some of the flow.





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13 minutes ago, hdclearman said:

Nice.  Most I can muster are googly eyes.


There will be googly eyes.


52 minutes ago, pcktlnt said:

You uploaded a version without words in one of the threads. I was browsing the forums in bed, in the middle of the night, in the dark, and all alone. It startled me. T__T



:ph34r:  Uhh, oops?

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Here are some close-ups to help get an idea of what I did. (with a centimeter scale)


To make the wolf legs look more organic and less geometric, I took a very fine point pen and drew little "C" shapes over the entire surface.



Once I decided I didn't like the stippling effect on the smoke, I went back in with very fine point pens and did a sort of noodling round scribble. You can still see stipples, and I added more on the ones I hadn't done yet to keep their look consistent.






Edited by Pingo
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Next I inked the areas of solid black, using old fashioned India ink and a brush.


To make sure the edges were neat, first I delineated them carefully with a fine pen and drew a little black around them, to help avoid brush mishap.








And drooly bits:


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And here is the inking.  Some of these will remain sharp, but the eyes are meant to be the most dark part of a very dark area and will be shaded.




After this I used medium-sized brush pens to begin the central area, which will be very dark indeed, almost but not quite solid.


Even though the lines will be mostly obliterated, I try to keep them flowing organically with the image.








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LOVE your creation; e, it is SO delightfully macabre. I would love to do it as one of my photo stages...credit for inspiration will be given if I do.

The range of your talents is truly impressive. 

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Coming along great!  That thing looks really excited about whatever awful and bloody thing it is about to do... or eat.


Love the big toothy grin on its face and the bugged out eyes, they are both equal parts frightening and adorable.  It's kind of hard to look away, very nice work!



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I added deeper shading in the center, and more nuance.


Next I started working on the figure. I used a medium brush pen for the dark areas of the hair and finer pens for the rest of the details.





I wanted the cloak to look essentially white but soiled and blood-soaked at the hem.  I started to lay the shadowed folds in very lightly with the finest pen I have (a Pigma Micron 005).


Light tones are sometimes the most difficult in pen and ink because one has to have a really light touch to keep things smooth and plausible.


I also put preliminary shadows under the cloak with a medium brush pen (and outlined the creature's toenails)




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I laid in the creature's left foreleg coarsely with a medium-large brush pen to suggest hair:



I went over that with a finer (but still slightly coarse) pen with medium-length vertical lines to make it darker and hairier:



It's hard to see the details, but then I took some very fine pens and sort of scribbled curlies all over the leg.  I also used the fine pens to add more shadows to the cloak and to begin to shade its hem:


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