Last week, I posted a drawing of Galactus and I figured I’d follow up on that. I usually enjoy looking over other artist’s processes, usually while I’m seething with jealousy over their art blogs. I enjoy looking over these because it breaks down their art into something I can understand; it not only informs me about how they do what they do, but it also gives me a bit of inspiration. Maybe I can do that for someone?
When I originally sketched ol’ Galactus, I had envisioned the drawing to be sort of silly. He’d have a big space fork and a big space knife, maybe even a big space bib?
He was going to look down on our world and think “Yeah, it’s either Earth or leftovers tonight.”
I sketched a few, simple ideas for the composition. I toyed with a few silly ideas, like Galactus making a burger out of the Earth, or having it look like a scene from Green Eggs and Ham, but with everyone you know and love dead. Eventually, I weeded out the silliness.
I took a few (dozen) reference photos, where I stood in my office, like an idiot, trying out different hand positions, like an idiot. Once I found a pose I liked, I sketched out a rough outline using an analog device known as “pencil and paper.”
I didn’t draw the hands because screw you, that’s why because. Below you’ll find one of the many, many photos of me that I used for reference. You can see the very basic outline I drew over it, mostly so you see less of me:
Once I drew a visual representation of what I wanted to draw, it was time to draw it again! Only better! This was all done in Adobe Illustrator. First I’d lay out the general shape with the brush tool…
… then I cleaned up all of the line work with the pen tool. Now I had my basic outline. I began to add detail to the face. The blue outlines are going to become shading, the red outlines will become light areas. There are also yellow outlines – which became additional coloring – but you can’t see them because why would yellow show up well on skin tone?
You can see my reference imagine in the corner there. This might surprise many you, but I don’t what every single comic book character looks like off the top of my head. After I was satisfied with the face, I added the solid colors to the head. Then, I grabbed the brush tool and started scribbling yellow lines all over so I had an idea of where all the detail should go.
Each section of Galactus is really broken into 3 primary layers: base colors, darks, and lights. In this case, the greens become lights, the reds become darks. It’s not very complex, but it looks pretty nutty when you turn all the layers into basic shapes and lines!
I magically turned all of those red and green lines on Galactus’ head into shading and light spots. Now for the arms. Same method: lay out solid colors, scribbling some nonsense, have a few drinks, come back a few days later and:
I outline my darks and lights! I think you guys are getting the hang of this! Gold star. You can see a section on Galactus’ left arm where the color is solid. Once I lay out all the lines, making sure nothing overlaps, I swap the outline for a fill color. Then I try to find a color that best matches the solids underneath it, but I find the colors I want through trial and error. I typically make all the lights one color, then all the darks one color, then I go back and make sure it’s appropriate for that area of the body based on a light source I made up in my mind.
After I turned those outlines into details, I added more details! The subtle lines in the purple arm patches (and eventually the upper chest) were made using the blend tool, which I grew to love after using it about fifty times in my Rapper Portraits. It’s really just some wavy lines that follow Galactus’ bicep, which then are blended into lines that are less wavy.
I tightened up a few areas, fixed some angle issues, added a little more detail in a few places, and gave Galactus a torso. I also drew the Earth; below you can see how it looks with just the outlines of the shapes, then how it looks once everything is filled. After that, I was done … with Illustrator. I transferred all of the vectors to Photoshop.
Once in Photoshop, I set up my initial space. Get it? Space? I made a big block of black with a slight gradient. I made a few stars in Illustrator of various sized and I just cut and pasted them willy-nilly into the background. Since all of the drawing was done in Illustrator, it was just a matter of adding a masking layer so Galactus blends into the background, then finding just the right composition. That’s it! Galactus was done! The final step was writing this damn thing. Hope people enjoyed it.
If you have any specific questions, ask them below. It’s difficult for me to explain how I did what I did, because I know what I do and I does it. You dig?