Sketch Fridays #49 – Hellrider Jackie with a Pentel brush pen.

On Tuesday, I wrote about the idea of staying on-model as an artist with your characters and how, especially in comics, this is a much looser requirement than it is for animation. For Long John, no character is more off-model––even from panel to panel––than Hellrider Jackie. Part of that has to do with how infrequently she appears in the comics; part of it has to do with the translation from artist to artist (though I drew her first appearance, Josh Tobey drew her first story and I fed him some inconsistent information in my notes and layouts).

It shouldn’t be that hard. She wears an all-black dress with a big bonnet with a skull over her face. And yet, things can vary.

The first “real” Hellrider Jackie.

That being said, I did do a “final” design for her like I did for Long John back during the development phase of the comic. And though it turned out to be less of a model sheet, like the Long John drawing, it was the first drawing I did where I felt like it was “right.” For me, at least, that’s how it comes together when developing ideas; you play with them, mold them, throw them against he wall until you look at it and think, “There it is!”

So, these “model sheets” acted as baselines, a solid floor to work up from rather than a soft, muddy earth.

Earlier this week, I was up working one night and, before going to bed, I decided to sit down and try a “real” drawing since I haven’t really drawn much since completing Chapter 3. I was inspired by a new artbook collection of the video game series, Metal Gear Solid (collecting the “studio” and “gallery” work for the first four games), whose art has long served as an inspiration (if indirectly) for me.

When I first saw (way back in 1998) the art of Yoji Shinkawa, the lead artist of the series, his loose brushwork always belied his solid designs. Looking at the large-format books collecting his work, I could see more of the assorted techniques he used to create his ephemeral drawings of super spies (which is what the Metal Gear Solid series is about).

An example of Yoji Shinkawa’s loose by solid brush drawings from the Metal Gear Solid series. Source: Konami

I sat down and decided to do a brush drawing over loose pencils of the Metal Gear Solid protagonist, Solid Snake, but it was a disaster. Then I tried to abandon penciling completely and make a quick brush drawing of Long John. I mean, I’ve drawn him enough times to get it right on the first try.

That also tanked.

In a fit of desperation, I turned the paper over and just started throwing down ink of Hellrider Jackie and, though it was way off-model, it looked pretty good. No pencils, no guides, just a brush and a white-out marker for some special effects. Being pleased with it, I decided to use it to resurrect (for a week at least) Sketch Fridays.


A taste of things to come.