A couple of days ago, I was talking to a fellow cartoonist/illustrator, and we got to asking each other what we did for warm up sketches…those doodles you do on a piece of scrap paper, or in a sketch book, to start off your day of drawing. You’ll never get a decent drawing first thing in the morning, so illustrators work out the kinks for twenty minutes or so with indulgent exercises to get the brain started. In my case, about fifty per cent of these are just anatomical studies of some part of the body I was having trouble doing the day before. The page above followed a day when I felt I wasn’t getting hands just right, so I built a bunch from the ground up the next morning, starting with skeletal forms, and tossing skin and muscles on.
Some days I doodle heads, constructing from scratch to remind myself of the basic maps.
And some days I’ll whip down drawings of the characters I’m doing that day as fast as possible, to reduce their forms and costumes to rote shapes. These character sketches are never allowed to go for more than two or three minutes, five at the most.
I think I might have penciled this in five minutes, and inked it in five, as I was doing the pages for Spider-Man 657 a couple of weeks back, so it's a long sustained piece as far as sketch-book stuff is concerned.
Here’s one that came out of my hand in under two minutes for a day I was working on a Green Lantern spoof for a Mad Magazine thing (a Fundalini Page thing that never came out, unfortunately). I really do time them to be under two minutes as an exercise.
I have about fifteen books just filled with this sort of nonsense. It’s part of the detritus that accumulates when you doodle for a living. There’s one or two in the huge pile that are actually worth seeing, and I’ll probably find ’em and scan them for the blog someday.
Ty the Guy OUT!
Here now, your BONUS sketch-book page: I was re-reading a Golden Age Marvel collection and came across this actual-not-making-him-up 40s Timely character about six months ago, and couldn’t help sketching him as my warm up that day…
There's a twelve issue mini-series in this guy...if only I had the time.