Thursday, April 12, 2007

Process: Sheena

No, not Shanna. Sheena. Queen of the Jungle. If you're old enough to remember the 80's, you might remember the movie that starred Tanya Roberts running around in the skimpy leopard bikini. Even as a little kid, I was like "yo. . . . . .that's hot." Anyways, that movie was based on the Sheena comic book that came out way back in the days. And now Devil's Due has the property, and they asked me to do a cover for the 1st issue. And me being me, I had absolutely no problem drawing a hot chick running around in a skimpy leopard bikini. I mean, c'mon. It's me. So this was the process.


Whenever I do comic book stuff, the first step I do is do a layout on 8 1/2 x 11" paper. It looks like a comic book board only because I scanned in a board and placed it on 8 1/2" paper to get a better idea of how it will sit on the actual page. I sketch it out all rough type, trying to layout basic shapes, composition, making sure there is enough room for the title logo and indicia, and pass it off to the editor. I got approval (on the first sketch, woo hoo) with notes to make sure that the girl is blonde, but of a not too specific nationality. You know, sorta like Jessica Alba in the sense that you don't really know what the hell she is, she's just hot. Works for me.


Now that's it's approved, I blow up the small sketch to 11 x 17", place it under my bristol, and lightbox it to create the clean lineart. Similar to the Chaor piece, there are no inks to this lineart, it's just blue pencil to rough in, and then F pencil to create the clean line. There are no spotted blacks used, as I have a very specific look I want the finished art to have, which is to basically look like an animation cell. This is also the reason there is very little deviation to the line art thickness. The background is a flat, dead line weight on purpose, because I want it to recede. The foreground figure has slightly more variety to line but only enough to push it to push it forward some.


Once again, the marvelous and talented Tony Washington makes me look good with the colors. Tony is so good I really didn't have much direction for him. I only told him two things: 1 - cell shading on the figure with painted backgrounds, and 2 - NO BLUE SKIES. Any colorist that works with me knows I absolutely hate blue skies. Hate them. They're the most boring thing in the world to me. But that's just me. You'll notice between step 2 and 3 her skirt changed some. As I was doing this Sheena's design was still being finalized and it was decided that her skirt was going to change from being a regular skirt to more of a triangular loincloth. So I quickly patched that up via Photoshop.


Like I said before, revisions are a part of life. Like death and taxes, know what I mean? So, everyone is like 99% happy with the product thus far. The one thing bugging everyone is, that somehow along the way from layout to pencil to color, she's just not all that cute anymore, lol. Like she's aged a couple years. This kinda stuff happens, where something looks cool in black and white but somehow once it gets to color it aint so cool anymore. So the editors asked me to go in and revise her face, making her a bit younger and cuter. I agreed. Deadline was approaching and I did what I could, but I'll be honest I'm still not 100% happy with her face. Oh well. You do the best you can with the time you have. The rest of it I really, really like however. And there you have it.

Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #1 will be out in June.