The Genie Experiment

So, in my newly found quest to become an illustrator, it quickly became clear that I was missing a very cool and mysterious toolset- the digitally colored, scanned-in, ink drawing. This whole thing was ,and still is very curious to me, because I've tried it several times, and each time, I've been bummed out by the results. The lines were fuzzy, and I could never quite get the process right, because mine looked like poop. So this week I decided to really dedicate 100% to something I wasn't very good at to...well get good at it- or better at least. 


If you want to see the full res versions of the scan and colored artwork, you can look at them here.

Idly drawn pencil genie. Click to enlarge. 

So what I started with was a drawing I did pretty casually at work and in bed over a couple of days. I didn't hate it, and I've been interested in fleshing out something like it for a while.


I taped things down so the back of the vellum wouldn't get all smudged up. Click to enlarge. 

Detail of some jewelry in pencil. Click to enlarge. 

So when I was happy with the pencil version, I taped it to some board and taped some Canson Graphics 360 paper over top of it. This, in hindsight, was a bad idea because the graphics paper, while amazing for markering, was terrible for rapidograph pens. Live and learn I suppose. 

Unfortunately my stubbornness knows no bounds, so instead of being reasonable and switching to felt-tip pens, I stuck it out to the end with the rapidographs. The problem with these is that they just don't work with the paper as well, and bleed ever so slightly in weird ways, which you can see if you scan it at 1200dpi like I did. Bristol, this is not. 


The first hour of inking. Click to enlarge. 

Detail of the jewelry inked. Click to enlarge. 

Final Scan, crease and all. 

Here you can see the final scan. There's a really awesome crease there in the corner I made while being really careless in the studio. Life lessons abound in this project! I scanned it in at 1200dpi to try and get as much information as possible to start with.

Final coloring without a background. Click to enlarge. 

After a lot of tutorials and starting over several times I finally got to the place where I could start actually coloring. The process from there was extremely simple-just picking my palette and carefully, tediously filling everything in. I wanted the color to add some volume and character without detracting from the lines I had made. I'm not sure how successful that was, but I enjoy the colored version more than just the lined one. 


Final coloring with background. Click to enlarge. 

This is the kind of sort of final coloring of this guy. I didn't want to overwork things like I usually do, so I drew a stopping point and just stopped. I thew the purple in the background because I'm so used to just drawing characters floating in white space, and that just isn't that visually interesting for most people. I drew a lot of inspiration from Native American (specifically pacific northwest tribes) and ancient Egyptian jewelry for the genie's ornamentation. I really like the idea that a genie's power is derived from these symbol-laden, jewel encrusted, enormous jewelry pieces. At any rate, I have had a lot of advice to post my process on my site, and in doing so I really have been able to reflect on what I liked and disliked about this project. In the future I will definitely get sharper lines initially to avoid all my fuzzy scan in problems. I hope you enjoyed reading, or at least looking the funny drawings.