Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 44

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In this page from Amazing Spider-Man #577, I utilize one of my favorite reference tricks, Google Sketchup. I find it especially useful for architectural elements (like those pesky staircases) that I have to draw from several angles. Every once in a while, the circumstances warrant construction of a model from scratch, as is the case here — the bridge of a ship.

Luckily for me (and perhaps you), the 3D warehouse provides a virtual library of components with which to build a structure. In this example, I used a prefabricated staircase and railing, but you can find just about anything.

You may notice the rectangle behind each of the 3D models. Those are my initial compositional sketches for each panel. Once imported into the program, the model can be aligned to match a two-dimensional image. Below, I've included those original roughs. As you can (hopefully) see, I've already got a pretty good handle on the perspective, Sketchup just hones my preliminary marks, making the inking process less time-consuming. You can find out more about the alignment process at Sketchup Help.


  1. Very useful! I love Google Sketch Up. I didn't know you could align images to your roughs though, Thanks will definitely have to give it a try.

  2. Glad you could use the tip, Manny. In a future post, I'll show how I use the same trick to make perspective grids for myself.

  3. Thanks Paolo. You and Joe Q both recommended the program in the same week. I definitely look forward to testing it out...

  4. Michael,

    I've heard that Joe Q uses it as well. Where did he mention it?

  5. He has an upcoming cover for Amazing (featuring the sign for The Coffee Bean at an extreme angle) and mentioned the usefulness of Sketch-Up as a tool in his weekly MySpace blog here: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=92159514&blogID=471980198

  6. Thanks for the link, Michael. Marvel actually sent me that file recently in case I ever have to draw it.


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