Bard of a Different Feather
Interview with Bernice Gordon
News for October
Break Out the Colored Pencils
PerspectiveAsk an Artist
by Annie Rodrigue
This month, I decided to tackle quite a subject. It's one that I have been struggling with for years: Perspective! But thanks to my comic book project and my friend at the studio, I was taught a new way to work through those tedious perspective scenes and compositions. And I wanted to share it in this month's edition! Hopefully, it will help some of you too!
My problem lay with the white page, the starting point. I had an idea in my mind, but how could I make sure that the horizon like and vanishing points would give me the exact angle and point of view I wanted for my final illustration? I had absolutely no clue. So most of the time, I would just go with what I had and be happy with that. Getting the wanted results was really a matter of luck more than a matter of skills. And it got annoying with time, especially when doing the comic because every panel had to be at a specific angle.
But after talking to my friend, she introduced me to a very clever technique. She was literally working the other way around. I will try to show a step by step of it here.
The first step is to thumbnail the whole idea. I will work the angle of the building I want to draw first, and then from the few walls I have set, I will get the horizon line and the vanishing points. This will allow me to work out the rest of the thumbnail. Yes, that's totally the reverse of what we are taught. But setting that building first is much easier. Then you can always adjust the walls with the set vanishing points after. The perspective will still be coherent.
And so, in my little thumbnail I have the exact setting I was looking for. If I need to frame it differently, it's easy to erase and move it around too. There is no pressure with a thumbnail. You can redo it many times without it being too time-consuming. (Unlike redoing a whole full blown background) And if parts of the perspective are not accurate, it's also not a problem. It will get fixed in the final version.
Scanning and Resizing
The next step would be to scan that thumbnail. Scan it at very high resolution (800dpi at least). We will play around with the resolution so that we can enlarge the image to the final size after. Take notes of the final size you want to work with. Then in Photoshop, you can uncheck the Resample Image option. This will allow you to convert your image so that it is bigger without losing quality.
In the height or length, enter the final size in inches, then click on OK. Once the conversion is done, you can print this out. You will use this as a reference for your final illustration.
Setting Up for your Final Draft
You will need your enlarged thumbnail print, your sheet of paper, rulers, most likely extra sheets of paper to set the horizon like and vanishing points and a light table! Scotch the enlarged thumbnail right-side up on the front of your sheet, and then turn your sheet around so that you can draw on the back.
Open your light table. You should now see your slipped setup through the light. In the back of your sheet you will be building the horizon lines, vanishing points and constructions lines. If you need, tape extra paper to the sides so that you can mark your horizon line and vanishing points.
From there, you can now easily build up your scene in the back of your sheet. Only work on the construction of your scene. Draft the lines that will be useful to you on your final illustration. When I'm done with my constructions lines, it looks something like this:
The construction is done. You can flip your paper again and remove the taped thumbnail. If you keep the light table on, you will now see construction lines through your sheet. What's wonderful about this method is that you don't have to erase /redraw these lines every time you need to fix something. Once you want to work on your scene without the construction lines, turn off the light. Now you are set! You can finish the piece and the angle and composition will be as planned!
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