Thursday, August 30, 2012

Entry 156: S.H.I.E.L.D. Update #4

Welcome to another S.H.I.E.L.D. Update!

You will notice that I have dropped the "Weekly" from the "S.H.I.E.L.D. Weekly Update" I figured out pretty quickly that trying to do one of these every week was not a good idea. I just don't have enough "making of" process stuff to keep doing it every week. Also, these posts take time to put together. Time I could be using to get more Shield done. So, I'm scaling back a little. I'm only going to post an update when I can make it worth your while. So without further ado, I give you S.H.I.E.L.D. Update Part 4.

In the interest of honesty, this maybe Part 4 but we are actually on week 7 since I started this feature.

So where am I on the progress of this issue? Well, I've got 17 of the pages done and the last 3 pages laid out. Unfortunately, It looks like the Avengers stuff is going to have to take a greater priority for me in the weeks to come. So I'm not sure how I'll be juggling things, but I will keep you posted. (Wish I could show you some of that Avengers stuff.)

This week I want  to talk about the tools I use to draw S.H.I.E.L.D. And I wanted to show you a step-by-step progression of a drawing so you could see how I use those tools. But rather than show you progress images of one of the pages I've been working on, I thought it would be more effective to do an original drawing just for this purpose. 

Before I start, here are the various pens and pencils I'll be using.

-Starting on the left I've got a 0.5 mechanical pencil filled with blue lead.
-Next is a 0.5 mechanical pencil filled with HB lead
-Then a 2.0 lead holder drafting pencil also filled with HB lead (this I keep dull, I never sharpen it)
-Then a .25 (beige) and a .30 (yellow) Rapidograph pen filled with Rapidograph Ultradraw ink.
-Inbetween those I have a Pigma Graphic #2 pin (Wedge tip)
-A Staedtler eraser
-Then there is a Prismacolor 10% cool grey marker. (which I won't use on this piece but I do use for in the book. I'll explain.)
-And 2 Copic markers-- Cool Gray No.3 and No.5
I start with the blue pencil, working out the gesture and underlying structure stuff.

Next I use the regular hb pencil to lightly start working out the details.

Then, still using the hb pencil I tighten up the details.

Now I use my dull lead holder pencil to work out my lighting and where the blacks will be.

Here I inked all the details in and outlined the black areas with my .25 beige Rapidograph

I fill in all my blacks with the Wedge tip pen. (If this were a cover or if I had to fill in a bigger area of black, I would use a brush)

 You might not see the deference here, but what I did was use my yellow Rapidograph to give some variation to the line weights.

I don't use gray tones for everything in Shield, but I almost always do them on Tesla. This is just the #3 Copic

Here you see the addition of the #5 copic and even some #6

 Here is the raw scan.
 In photoshop I drop out the blue lines, desaturated it and adjust the levels so that my blacks are black and my whites white. I also clean up little smudges and mistakes.

And then I do a bunch of other photoshop things. 
First I put white highlights on Tesla. 
Then I create more electricity. (Some times I do this and the highlights with pro white opaque watercolor on the page. Doing it digitally saves me time)
Then there are the pixel tones created in Photoshop. You'll see these occasionally in Shield, not a lot though.
And last are the white splatters. These are Photoshop brushes I made from scanning actual splatters I made on paper with ink.

(Anther character that always gets gray tones is the Star Child (the Celestial). But I do it in a completely different way. For the Celestial I do the tones with an hb pencil. Then I use the Prismacolor 10% marker to smooth out the pencil.)

And there you have it. The creation of a S.H.I.E.L.D. drawing.

Now YOU can draw your own Shield comic! It's just that easy!

Actually, if anyone has there own drawings of Shield characters I would love to see them. It might be cool to do a little drawing competition. I'm not sure how many people would be interested in doing it, but here's how it would go: Draw a Shield related drawing. E-mail it to me. I'll post them up, decide who the winner is, and that winner would get a shield drawing from me.

It's just an idea. 

Anyway, blogged and blogged


  1. I can't wait to read the next issue of shield. Your art work very well with the writing of hickman and with your colorist.

  2. You have a deadline for this "contest"? Can I swipe an image/pose or do they need be all original? I might try this, but I have no rapidograph pens or anything!

    1. If enough people express an interest in the contest idea then I'll set a deadline. Otherwise, I have collected some SHIELD "fan-art" from around the internet that I'm planning on putting in a future update post. If no one else is interested in a contest then I can use whatever you do in that post.

      This is really just about me being selfish. It gives me joy seeing other people draw these characters.

  3. Dustin, I just saw the Avengers covers go up on and they are fantastic! I've been eagerly awaiting the completion of S.H.I.E.L.D, but I can wait a LITTLE longer if those gorgeous covers keep being created. Keep up the great work and thank you very much for these process blog entries. Very appreciated and informative!

    1. Thanks so much! I really appreciate the support. I wont let you down:)

  4. Thank you for the updates. I appreciate the dedication you demonstrate both to the story and your craft - and your enthusiasm is infectious. Also: I love the peeks at your creative process, very interesting. Finally, thanks for the respect you show for us, the fans of the series.

  5. Tesla! The numero uno!

  6. What?! When did you draw this? How do you find the time?!!!

  7. Just wanted to drop you a note and compliment you on Shield. I read the first volume and no doubt like legion of others I anxiously await the next. You and Mr. Hickman really do represent some of what I think is best about "adult" comics -- respect for the continuity without being slaves to its dictates, a commitment to solid narrative story telling (in both art and in the writing), and just mind blowingly beautiful artwork. No surprise, I'll be sending copies of this book as a Hanukah present to more than one friend.

  8. Beautiful stuff, as always. Thanks for keeping us up-to-date. Cannot wait to see the finished product! Keep up the great work.