Drawing comics presents some special problems to a commercial artist. One is drawing the same object or character many times and in different angles and lightning conditions. Some solutions include making model sheets of the character similar to the method as done for the animation process. Another might be to make a maquette or real model of the character. The artist could also utilise a real object or living model to portray the character. I sometimes make a digital model in a 3D program, light and render it as needed to serve as drawing reference. In Ragemoor I used all of these techniques to varying degrees.
Deep in tunnels under Ragemoor lives a tribe of mutant baboons. I visualized them with bare skull heads. I used a plaster casting of a real baboon skull as a highly detailed reference. For one of the human characters, I used a miniature head I had made. Both of these objects are small enough to hold in one hand while drawing with the other.
The title character is Ragemoor itself, a castle grown from living rock. This structure had to be shown from many angles and with varied lighting conditions. I chose to create a digital model of the castle. It was fairly simple to build and I only put enough detail in it to set me on the right path when drawing the panels.
A particular event in the story required that the castle have a large carved gargoyle at the end of a “look out” point. I could have made a model from Sculpy clay, but I decided to try a digital one which could be set into place on the digital castle. The gargoyle appears enough times in the story to make the model worth while.
The interior of the castle is always dark and gloomy and is very much an important part of the ambience. I wanted the light and shadows from candles and lamps to be drawn with some authority. That is, I wanted to be able to draw a large room lit only by firelight and candles to be preplanned without getting bogged down by having to reconstruct it for every panel. So I made a digital model of the room, with fireplace, table, chairs, dishes and ornate drinking glasses.
Drawing people on a spiral staircase is a challenge, at least for me. Having it lit only by candlelight held by one of the characters compounds the difficulty. So I thought a digital reference model would be of great help to me. It was. The model is just the bare structure. I freely made up the ornate statues, rotting and covered with cobwebs.
Ragemoor has a release date of March 21, 2012.
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The making of Ragemoor by Richard Corben