Interview With Marvel Studios Storyboard Artist Justin Copeland: PWP #23


“You’re not a professional because somebody pays you to draw. You have to turn your mind toward professionalism.”

Justin Copeland

Justin Copeland is a storyboard artist for Marvel Studios and one of Chris’ best buds.

In this episode, we interview one of Chris’ best buddies in the industry – Justin Copeland – storyboard artist for Marvel Studios.

Justin is working on the new Avengers cartoon for Disney XD.

He tells us the story of his transition to a successful career in animation after struggling in comics for a a few years.

He talks about the differences between working in comics and working in animation and explains why all comics artists should, at some point, learn to storyboard for animation.

You’re not a professional because somebody pays you to draw.
-Tweet This Quote

He gives some fascinating “behind the scenes” insight into the production of animated, action TV shows and tells some honest stories from his own life that will help to ease the minds of comics creators who hope to become storyboard artists. …right before he lays the smack down.

He shares his passion for filmmaking, SketchUp and the production process and gets Chris so revved up he almost explodes.

[Read more...]

Easy Comic Lettering & Word Balloon Layout: Comic Life Tutorial

We’ve been talking recently about the importance of lettering when making your own comics. In my two posts Comic Balloons & Clarity and The Comic Lettering Spell the discussion in the comments turned toward discussing our own processes.

Personally, I use a program called Comic Life.

A lot of you asked to see how I use Comic Life to letter my comic, The Dreamer. So while the topic is still fresh, I recorded my lettering process on the most recent page of my story.

In This Tutorial I Will Show You:

  • how to import and export between Photoshop and Comic Life so the process is seamless.
  • how to create and use Styles to easily format all your balloons in one time-saving click.
  • why lettering your comic early will help you make better, stronger comic layouts.

Read on to learn how I use this simple program with professional results…

[Read more...]

Comic Layout Tutorial: The Comic Lettering Spell

Screen-Shot-2012-07-08-at-8.40.26-PMI was never interested in lettering.

…until I learned that good comic lettering is one of the most important ingredients for casting a story-spell on my readers.

I just have to make sure the words don’t cover any important element in the art and I’m done, right?

Early in the making of my webcomic, I received a comment from a reader who politely pointed out how awkwardly I had spaced the words in a balloon.

Wait, there are rules to comic lettering?

The commenter gave me a helpful suggestion which seemed embarrassingly obvious after I read it.

Mortified, I thanked him and began re-lettering large portions of my comic.  If this reader had noticed, I was sure others had. If people were getting tripped-up by awkward lettering, I was breaking my own spell.

In this post, I’ll share four tips for good comic lettering which will help you to cast your story’s spell instead of breaking it.

[Read more...]

Comic Layout Tutorial: Comic Balloons & Clarity

comic-balloons-comic-layout-captain-americaYou’ve just written a fantastic script and absolutely cannot wait to draw it.

Then, after laborious hours and perhaps days, the artwork turns out perfectly.

You cannot wait for your readers to see it. You really can’t.

All that is left is that final, insignificant step: lettering.

You begin dropping in a few comic balloons but it doesn’t take long for the dread to start rising in your stomach.

At first, you just suspect there might not be enough room. But only five minutes later you’ve tried everything and can no longer deny it: You did not leave enough room for both script and art.

Will you make cuts into your pitch-perfect script just to uncover the art? Or will you leave in the script intact but cover up detail, action, or even significant plot-revealing aspects of the art?

There is, of course, that third, horrible option. The one we don’t talk about, much less instigate. That villain of all villains:  the redraw.

In this post, I’ll share with you my tried and true method for designing comic balloons into the art from the very beginning.  Follow these few simple steps and you’ll never have to face the villainous redraw again.

[Read more...]

Perspective For Comics: Google SketchUp Demo

A few weeks ago, a bunch of us from the Paper Wings Community had a conversation on Twitter about  using Google’s free 3d modeling software Google SketchUp as a way to speed up the process of making comics.

I was amazed to discover that everyone had the same problem I did before I learned how to use the program.  So that got me really excited to teach you all how to use this amazing, FREE tool to help you with perspective for comics.

In This Tutorial:

  • I explain some Google SketchUp basics that will help you draw geometric environments, vehicles and props in perspective.
  • I show you how to choose your camera angle and lens, shoot and save a screen capture (no long 3d renders necessary).
  • I show you how to “clone” elements so you can edit a piece of one clone and all the other clones will update automagically.

Backgrounds are maybe the most obvious application, but SketchUp can also be used to rough-in (or completely design) vehicles and anything else comprised mostly of geometric shapes.

Read on to learn about how I have adapted my character design process at Disney to include Google SketchUp…

[Read more...]

How To Draw Clothes :: Sketchbook Pro Tutorial

how-to-draw-clothes-different-types-of-fabricWhat’s With All The Spandex?!

It can seem like every character in comics is wearing spandex. …and not just the superheroes.

Because so many artists struggle with how to draw clothes, characters often appear in tight, awkward, generic jeans and t-shirts that fit like Spidey’s tights.  A few small wrinkles around the joints doesn’t help to create a convincing illusion of reality.

In true Paper Wings fashion, Lora demonstrates how to achieve believability.

AND she shares some helpful insights that will improve your drawing skill, create more believable characters and help to make drawing fun again.

Read on to get the video…

[Read more...]

Listener Questions Answered :: PWP #18

PWP18In this episode, listen to Lora and Chris announce big news– both in their personal projects and the future of Paper Wings. Then they answer YOUR listener questions.

Press PLAY to hear them answer:

  • How do you deal with the fear of rejection?
  • When is too late to start a personal project?
  • How do you balance readability with visual punch and style on a comic page?
  • What advice do you have on balancing a social life with a successful career?
  • How to I avoid losing the energy in my pencils when I ink my comic pages?
  • How do you approach color theory in storytelling when making comics?
  • Will I be able to make a personal contribution if I work for a large studio?
  • What resources would you recommend for creating a website for my webcomic?

AND discover two resources that will help you solve your story problems!

[Read more...]

Live Critique with the Grand Prize Winner of the Paper Wings Challenge

In early 2011, The Paper Wings Podcast ran a contest for the Paper Wings Community.

The grand prize was a private critique/ Q&A with the hosts Disney Character Designer Chris Oatley & IDW Comics Creator Lora Innes.

In lieu of a regular episode, we wanted to share an excerpt from the critique with you.

This portion of the critique covers lighting and composition.

Art by Alexandra Vo

Four Tips for Designing an Original “Pretty Girl”

Screen-shot-2011-09-04-at-9.26.44-PMAlexandra Vo, the grand prize winner of the Paper Wings Challenge, skyped with Chris and me this week as we critiqued her winning piece.

Afterward we had a time for a few questions and she asked, “How do you deal with the problem of designing the ‘pretty girl’?”

She was asking about the difficulty that arises when drawing a character type that doesn’t have much room for pushing and pulling shapes or exaggerating features. So what do you do?

[Read more...]