Wacky Reference Wednesday, No. 175

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man #577, Page 30, Panels 3-4. 2008.
Ink on Marvel board, 11 × 17.25″. Original Art

I rarely use Sketchup these days, unless it's to download and pose a ready-made model, such as a car or building, from the 3D warehouse. It's faster for me now to sketch everything "by eye" and overlay a perspective grid in Photoshop. But back in 2008, I was still building models from scratch, an example of which can be seen below.

It's not exactly the most exciting piece of architecture—it's just the tail end of a mid-size cargo ship—but it was a set-piece that appeared in several panels, and thus required many different perspectives. Like I said, I'd do it differently now, but it worked well enough at the time. What I find these models best for are vehicles with complex curves, and any kind of architecture with repetition, i.e. tiling or columns; this model is neither.

I should also mention that this shot, as well as all the others, were based on several photos of an actual supply vessel. I found a site, Maritime Sales, Inc., that had just what I wanted. If you're ever in need of a particular kind of reference, find someone who's trying to sell it.


  1. Terrific post, Paolo! It's fantastic to see and read about your process, both and present. Thanks for sharing!

  2. My pleasure, Chris. Thanks for reading.

  3. Hi Paolo! Thank you for sharing another process! I've been trying to improve on my drawing skills lately, and Sketchup has been very helpful in providing props and settings to my artwork. Your posts were very inspiring in showing the potential of the program.

    However, I think that I'm relying too much on reference photos and Sketchup models for drawing anything. I've read on one of your earlier posts that at the beginning of working for Marvel, you used a lot of reference. How did you start growing more confident and stopped using references so much? Was it only lots of practice? Thanks!

    1. Ceridwen, you already know the answer. Practice is the key. The more you use reference, the more your internalize it, and the less you will need it. At least that's the hope. (Obviously, I still use it.)

    2. Oh ok! No magic potions then! *sigh* :) Still it's good to know that I don't need to worry about this "learning to crawl" phase, as it'll pass...

      Thanks for the quick reply!


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