Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 78

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wacky Reference Wednesdays: SCAD Edition

So, as I mentioned last week, I went down to Savannah this past weekend to participate in SCAD's Comic Art Forum, an annual event that I have now attended three times, twice as a professional (2006 and 2009) and once as a student (1999, when I was a senior in high school and the forum was open to prospective students). The activities include a panel discussion (which I skipped this year due to a missed flight), workshops, portfolio reviews, and plenty of eating.

I led two workshops, the descriptions for which I have included at the bottom of the post. Briefly, the first workshop involved the development of a digital color study using Photoshop, while the second took that study as the basis for a gouache/acrylic painting. As it happened, Photoshop crashed towards the end of the first workshop and, having forgotten to save, I lost a now legendary composition that included a lightsaber duel between a goat-man/satan/Jim Breuer and a tentacle-headed woman, an X-wing, a storm trooper taking a shower, the Death Star, all taking place on a catwalk inside of a space port. Perhaps the sheer magnitude of awesomeness was too much for the computer to compute.

Moving right along, I did a Punisher study from scratch during my second workshop. In order to give the students an idea of how I use reference, I took suggestions from the audience about character, lighting, and props, and posed accordingly. The entire process took about 3 hours, but I was talking much of the time and championed many digressions.

As usual, I started out with a pencil sketch that I taped to my trusty magnet board. You can see that most of the tools that I use have neodymium magnets attached so they are always close at hand, no matter the working angle.

Just to show an example of gleaning information from superficially contradictory reference, I took a photo of my Reed Richards maquette to get lighting information which could be "grafted" onto my earlier pose (I'm holding the maquette up towards the ceiling to utilize the overhead fluorescents as a back-lit, dual light source). This is a technique I often use when I don't have the time (or will) to set up a lighting situation on a larger scale.

While I wasn't able to finish the painting (or even start on the gun, for that matter) I felt like we covered quite a bit of material. Thank you to everyone who attended the workshops! You were a fantastic group, lively and eager to learn, and I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your studies.

Workshop Descriptions:

Workshop 1 — The Digital Color Comprehensive
In this workshop, I’ll use the computer to digitally compose an image that will serve as a template for a traditionally painted comic panel or cover. The discussion will include such fundamental concepts as color theory and composition, but will also cover many practical subjects like perspective, Photoshop tips, reference, and anatomy.

Workshop 2 — From Color Comp to Finish
In this workshop, I’ll utilize the color comp from the previous workshop to paint a comic panel or cover. While many of the same topics will be covered, this discussion will focus on the technical aspects of working with the traditional media of gouache and acrylic, including color mixing, mass tone vs. undertone, brushes, palettes, and paper.


  1. Yeh! I have one of those Punisher shirts! The Secret Headquarter's in Silver Lake! Rock on Paolo!

  2. Hi dude!!! Your work is very great! I like this pictures! :)

    P.S. Ms. Hulk

  3. RIP that digital painting. It was awesome though, thanks again for sharing your talents with us.

  4. Hah - your Frank cracks me up. He's like an Eisner thug.

    I was actually wearing your Punisher T under my sweater at Big Apple Con.

    Once I saw that you were wearing it too I was all "must not remove sweater."

  5. Thanks, everybody!

    Michael, you should have told me! I love that shirt (I'm actually wearing it right now).

  6. Thanks for coming down Paola. I really appreciated it and I know the students did as well.

  7. Draigstudio, it was my pleasure. I had a wonderful time, as usual, and will be a willing guest whenever duty calls. Thanks!

  8. Thats what I love about your blog. You show us techniques you use. You have to put out some videos.

  9. Thanks, Tim. No video plans for the immediate future, but in the meantime, I have some stuff posted under the videos label (if you haven't checked it out already).


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