I finalized the costume that I was talking about last week. A proper character model sheet would probably have Tuga in profile as well, but this is about as finalized as any model sheet I've done has ever gotten. A head on shot (sometimes I have an action pose as well) with little notes lined up with aspects of the design that I think I'll need reminders for. Keeping continuity in the story is important and so it's nice to be able to glance at at a reference sheet to be reminded which side of his head the feathers are on, or how many chains are in the necklace. Flpping back through the seven pages of this short isn't too bad, but for Awful Lot my character model sheets were crucial.
Since ironing out Tuga's look I went back through my full page layouts and started drawing Tuga in place of the bean people placeholders. The bean people were already posed framed; I really tried to focus on sharp rendering (relative to myself) and more accurate proportions. To this end I feel fairly successful. Tuga gets a little short legged at times, but I hope to have remedied the pervasive problem. Next I will start drawing in the other characters and then I'll move through the pages and put in back and foregrounds. Normally I draw in everything for a page before moving on to the next one. I've seen Timothy take this approach, and it allows him to revisit and edit pages a lot more often.
What worked less was my constant referencing of Barry Windsor Smith's Freebooters while pencilling. I am no BWS. Even knowing exactly what I was looking at and taking from Smith's style I find it hard to point to anything that resembles his rendering at all. Despite my shortcomings as a draftsman I do think it's smart to look at artists I respect while drawing. Being mindful of their techniques has to put me in a better state of mind while I'm constructing my own pages. I plan to look through Smith work on Savage Sword of Conan as I draw the monsters in this story. I could see why some may be hesitant to take this approach, but I don't feel like I'm aping BWS at all. That would be impossible. I love his work and hope that I can learn something from a man I consider a master at the craft.
- Jon O'Briant