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      CommentAuthorCuriosity
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2008
     (559.1)
    (I didn't know exactly where to put this discussion, whether it would go here or in Printheads.)

    Why is it that every single book about "How to Draw _______" (be it comics, fantasy, manga, whatever) focuses solely on character design and posing and completely neglects backgrounds?
    I've searched for a decent book on how to draw comic-style cityscapes and the like to no avail. Can anyone recommend something? Or if it doesn't exist, would anyone please publish it and make their millions, so I can buy a copy?

    Curi.
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      CommentAuthorFerburton
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2008
     (559.2)
    I don't think there is any way to draw "comic-style" city scapes really... you develope a style and it goes with how you draw the entire comic. You should be looking for a book on how to draw landscapes, your style should natural show when you start learning to draw the landscapes.
  1.  (559.3)
    There are how-to-draw landscape books. There might be a how-to-draw cityscape books. I know most of my books spoke about perspective and buildings, etc...
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      CommentAuthorAlexis
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2008
     (559.4)
    I'm not sure what you mean by backgrounds, but I would recommend a book called "Perspective for comic book artists" by David Chelsea.
  2.  (559.5)
    In my opinion, drawing isn't about learing a bunch of tricks and rules that you can apply to different situations, which is how the majority of 'How to Draw x,y&z' books tend to approach things...
    if you're interested, I'm writing an all-purpose how to draw text at the moment that takes a different approach (click here). Should cover people, backgrounds, whatever you want: the things I discuss are hopefully universal to any representational drawing.
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      CommentAuthorcarney
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2008
     (559.6)
    Yes back grounds are tedious, and frustrating at times. I've been using a ruler alot more than usual. Man I wish I owned a scanner that scanned 14"x 17". Those types of scans get expensive as hell.
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      CommentAuthorBrand
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2008
     (559.7)
    I know this sounds cheesed but How to Draw the Marvel Way goes into perspective and some background stuff.
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      CommentAuthortonymoore
    • CommentTimeJan 19th 2008
     (559.8)
    drawing's overrated.
    just stick a photo back there.

    -T
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      CommentAuthorhowyadoin
    • CommentTimeJan 21st 2008
     (559.9)
    In my opinion, drawing isn't about learing a bunch of tricks and rules that you can apply to different situations, which is how the majority of 'How to Draw x,y&z' books tend to approach things...


    Bingo. "Here's a bunch of ways to avoid learning how to draw!"

    Well fuck, sign me up. God forbid I might actually try to be an artist.
  3.  (559.10)
    drawing's overrated.
    just stick a photo back there.


    Rob Liefeld is fond of that...
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      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJan 21st 2008
     (559.11)
    I'm weird. I like drawing the backgrounds and props more than the actual characters.

    What I've found works very well is sort of a half-finished look: instead of drawing every brick in a brick house, draw a few of them scattered about evenly, and the eye fills in the rest. Ditto for things like wrought-iron designs on fences, windows on skyscrapers, scales on giant city-devouring fish monsters, leaves on trees, etc. It gives it a stylized look, cuts down on work, and doesn't distract from the characters, which are, usually, the main focus of any comic panel or illustration.

    Perspective! for Comic Book Artists
    by David Chelsea is a great source for perspective and backgrounds in general.
  4.  (559.12)
    it such an esential part of it, its sort of mention when the books cover perspective but thats not enough really.
    I use photos for bckgrounds and sort draw a really basic outline of them.
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      CommentAuthorCuriosity
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2008
     (559.13)
    I'm actually more interested in manga backgrounds than anything. How can there be 5583095 books on how to draw a magical girl or a battle scene, but nothing on how to draw a neighborhood? I know Manga University offers premade books of useable backgrounds, but I'd rather know some tips on how to do it myself than use someone else's work or a photo.

    In my opinion, drawing isn't about learing a bunch of tricks and rules that you can apply to different situations, which is how the majority of 'How to Draw x,y&z' books tend to approach things...


    Agreed. I already know how to draw. But I'd like to have certain things that I draw look better.
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      CommentAuthorsebasp
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2008
     (559.14)
    I use to print an image of a background, and I trace that image with a light table. I don´t do it exactly like the reference picture, the details that I let in and out will make this image unique and different form a picture. Of course I´ll add or quit elements to fit what I need, (as buildings or trees), but this way I can do a very detailed and well done bg, without using a directly a photo
  5.  (559.15)
    one piece of advice that i heard that stuck with me was this:
    when drawing inorganic backgrounds, draw in pleasing organic shapes and then build up the background to fit into those organic shapes. this way you are thinking compositionally first...
  6.  (559.16)
    Another tip of the hat to David Chelsea over here. That book is damned fine.

    Carney: As a low-level publisher of comic books I have to scan pages all the time. And as we all hopefully know, most comic pages are 11x17 inches in size. What most may not know is that to scan a single image at that size usually takes something called a "commercial scanner", which is very costly. Now, again, I'm low end, so I don't have thousands to spend on such a piece of equipment, but I got lucky, and now so can you. May I suggest the Mustek Scan Express A3. This scanner is pretty decent for scanning color work (if you know how to use it), but where it really kicks ass is in scanning black and white work like pencils and inks. You can't beat it for the price (less than 200 U.S.). Highly recommended for the "young buck on the come-up", to use the parlance of our times.
  7.  (559.17)
    i think great backgrounds are way more impressive than great character work. i mean, if you can draw a city scape like the following example, which isn't the best example but just the one that quickest came to mind, you would have to be a great architect / city planner on TOP of being a great artist. it's very impressive.

    http://www.ryanottley.com/images/covers/pencilsTOinks.jpg
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      CommentAuthorBrand
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2008
     (559.18)
    I'm actually more interested in manga backgrounds than anything. How can there be 5583095 books on how to draw a magical girl or a battle scene, but nothing on how to draw a neighborhood? I know Manga University offers premade books of useable backgrounds, but I'd rather know some tips on how to do it myself than use someone else's work or a photo.


    But that's how a lot manga artist's today do there backgrounds, using pre-made ones. I've also seen where a photograph is photoshopped to become a screen toned background.

    Honestly the same basic rules are going to apply no matter if it's an American comic book or a manga, It's all about the perspective drawing.
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      CommentAuthorSalgood Sam
    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2008 edited
     (559.19)
    I tend to take a 'cinematic' approach so BG are important to the sense of place, and atmosphere. But it's also cool to drop them if you want to emphasis something else. And not trying to draw everything like Artemis suggests is a good note to take, don't want to over do it, you can overwhelm the characters that way.

    Don't think using photos is such a taboo, well really anything in art should not be 'taboo'. But i do pref for my own work to make whatever i do feel as organic as the rest of it, so my modus is to take my own, or hunt for reference material, sketch it in some detail, and then draw the final art with the sketch, rather than free hand from the source material directly. Mostly its just a way to filter the work through my minds eye, and to get away from 'correcting' things that happen in the sketches which tends to happen if the source ref is in front of you at the time. Keeps it from being too stiff or didactic.

    The suggestion about working from organic forms and then building up details from there is a good one as well, use it a lot for the basic composition proses.

    Studying perspective is very important if your going to go for a realist look at all, but eventually once you have the hang of it, i suggest experimenting with doing it free hand, rather than using rulers. One ruled line on a page makes every organic one seem messy, but if you just go by gut and do it free hand then the internal logic of the image will be constant and you wont have to spend horrific amounts of times getting everything 'just so'. Real sweat saver that one is, picked it up working in animation.

    You are going to have to learn how to draw the stuff though, cant fake it, it shows.
    Doesn't mean it has to be strait from your head, you can use life study just like for figure work. but you do have to learn to understand why you do the things your doing for them to look like you know what your doing.

    good luck.

    max
  8.  (559.20)
    Another recommendation for the David Chelsea book here.

    But, someone asked about books about manga backgrounds. This book has a TON of really specific stuff about drawing buildings, cityscapes, etc. Really cheap if you get it used, too.