Saturday, May 12, 2012

INKS! (Well, Digital Inks!)

There's something really cool and really "off" about working digitally. I miss the feeling of the paper. I am still working out how to "see" the correct size so that I don't zoom in and do too much rendering. Also, I'm working on layers to accommodate whatever means of "toning" or "coloring" that I head towards. So, there's a foreground, midground and background layer on every page.

This is page six in progress. I started on page three.  I'm still working on being messier with my line work. I can't help myself. I try to clean up my lines too much.

I have been looking at some line illustrations by Frank Godwin as an influence for some looser line work and it's been a bit of a help.

I think the tones or colors will make or break these pages. As usual, I'm proud of and confident in my storytelling, but I'm always working on my "finished" look.

Feedback would be appreciated. Where am I making good changes? Where am I not changing enough? Where am I making bad changes?

Your opinions, please.

Thanks-   Tom


futant_DNA said...

Tom -
I really like the rendering and vegetation in the BG as it has a particular Tom Lyle/BWS flavor to it that really works well. The only thing I could possibly see to experiment with a perhaps a (slightly) heavier line weight on the figure (or maybe black placement) to further separate them (see note below) from the BG.

While most of the characters stand out from the BG maybe a little more contrast between the two would help it pop. The toning would most likely help as well so there may be no need to increase the line weight. I'd like to add I'm really digging the storytelling, action and character design!

David Balan said...

Hey Tom! Loving the textural organization. The characters pop right out. Great use of black and white balance.

The one thing I miss from your old inking style is a good, solid black. No splotches or nicks and crevices in it - just black. I feel that putting that in just a few places would add some punch to your inks and also push depth.

You'd just have to decide whether to use a solid black in the foreground or the background. (or perhaps as the previous commenter suggested, on the characters)

For example, I feel like making the foreground elements in panel one retain a solid black would be successful, but I think it would work better on those faraway background trees in panel 2. Panel 4 would also call for black in the foreground (On the character in this case) to separate him out.

Just my opinion! It might not work - it could look too 'clashy' as if the art were from two different places. You'd have to test it out, if you're interested.

rie said...

prof lyle,
too bad i can't see the detail of the line works because usually what makes the digital inking isn't working working is the way the line works look "too digital", at least for me.

i love the way you render the background and a nice black panel behind all 4 panels. also, the fact that you don't put any background on panel 3 makes it a good negative space <3. i can't wait to see more!!!

i am not so familiar with your previous awesome works; i hope i don't make stupid statement :P

Tom Lyle said...

Panel three just isn't done. Believe me, there's LOTS of stuff to go in there still.
That may be unfortunate.

Not a bad idea.

David -
Seems possible, but I'm specifically trying NOT to use solid blacks, so ... I'll think about it.

Thanks, everyone!


Sarah Herrin said...

I love how the rocks and the figures draw the eye to the clearing in the back of the first panel, which leads directly to the larger figure in the second panel. I know you've said in class, but who are your biggest storytelling influences? It always amazes me how artists can cleverly hide these techniques in their work.

I like the idea of having 3 different layers for fg, mg, & bg. It sounds like a good way to keep conscious of each.

- Sarah Herrin

Joan Cooke said...

Hey Tom!
These pages are looking great. The only thing I can say that hasn't already been addressed is the slight haloing effect you have around the main character in panels 2 and 4, I'm not sure if that is necessary. It seems like you are putting a strong emphasis on the use of color later on for these, so I think the inks of the background could go right up to the characters without clashing once you put the colors down. Just my two cents!

Tom Lyle said...

In terms of storytelling, Barry Windsor-Smith is the biggest influence on me. But it doesn't show as much any more. It's mostly in the way I think about cropping and arranging things.

I think it is VERY humorous that I'm playing with a halo effect and I tell all you guys to never use it.
"Do as I say. Not as I do."

Works for me.


Sam Reveley said...

Hello Tom!

I can tell you loosened up on your textures and I think its working really well. Gives everything a nice, breezy feeling which works great for the natural setting you have.

Why have the white halos around the characters? Since you'll be coloring the page and since your textures in the background work so nicely, I'm not sure you need the halo. I think this especially so for the last panel where Tom's face will stand out even better against the gray texture of the leaves behind him without the white halo.

Woops, I just read all the posts above and it looks like the halos have been addressed already. Ah well, hopefully this is still helpful, haha.

Good luck!

Tom Lyle said...

It's just (the halo) something that I'm trying out for a "style" thing.
We'll see if it stays or not.

Thanks for the input, Sam.


James Kilgore said...

Dear Mr. Lyle,
What I have done in the past, is to set my image size to 11" x 17" and resolution to 300, and made my judgment based on how blurry the image was when I zoomed in.

naits said...

Mr Lyle,

I didn't know how to contact you, so I'm sorry, that I'm doing this via your blog.

I'm a huge Batman fan from Austrian and trying to complete my Batman #401 - #500 set signed by the cover artists and graded by CGC. I already have 60% of this set signed by artists like Hannigan, Perez, Bolland, Mignola, Jones, Breyfogle and so on.

You did the great covers of the numbers #467 to #469 and I wanted to ask if you are attending any conventions to get the books signed by you and complete my set.

Best wishes,

Unknown said...

The big thing that's jumping out to me right now is the nasty tangent on your sleeping bag and your brother's face.

I like the cleanness of your figures against teh detailed backgrounds. That's a nice contrast.

Tom Lyle said...

Write to me via email at and we'll work something out. I'd be glad to sign those issues for you.