Sea captain and the procedure of illustration

Recently I finished the drawing of my sea captain, who’s a little old lady about 50 years of age, taking on the role of what is usually a masculine profession. A sort of an inversion on the Captain Haddock’s “gruff sailor” archetype. She seems like a great character with a potential of telling captivating stories, but right now she was a one-off which I wanted to make as a practice to get me to try out unexpected scenarios, design characters and practice drawing and colouring techniques. I also made a video detailing this progression of illustrating and colouring the sea captain, which was done completely digitally. Usually I much prefer to ink lineart on real paper, scan it, and then colour it digitally, but the sequence for working digitally is completely the same. I’ve published it on my Youtube channel:

I’ve divided the five general phases according to the level of detail they have on my pricelist, that I’ve published on Twitter. They are sketch, lineart, base colouring, shaded colouring, and scene.

You can open any of these images to enlarge them.

In the video I exchange between Sai and Krita a lot, and a little Photoshop. I really love Paint Tool Sai because it doesn’t hog my computer resources and because every action is swift and easy. I’ve grown so accustomed to it that it’s my general tool for colouring, for both scanned and digital lineart. I like Krita too, but it’s a bit daunting to master at this moment, and it has so many secrets and ways to edit the user experience that I wouldn’t want to get ahead of, but in this case I mostly use Krita for the business of colouring outlines and anything that demands colouring technical and mathematical shapes. Photoshop is the oldest of these tools that I’ve used though(since I was at the age of 13!), and the task for it is usually delegated for processing colour, various filters, and lighting, ambient and blur effects.

It’s really challenging to draw aged people and making them look authentic, and not just in the likes of grey hair or posture. I tried to do creases on the face, pores, and other tiny details which are organic in nature, but must not be too organic to break from the cartoony nature of the drawing. Below you can see a close-up of the face and the pores I added.

Basically what is visible is a whole bunch of lines I added underneath the cheeks and around the eyes. The pores I added are too faint to be properly seen but they are there, and I might have overloaded on the way they’re barely visible(most of them are in that big red “blush” on her right cheek). But if it looks like an aged woman, then that’s exactly what I tried to accomplish, and later I hope I’ll get more opportunities to draw older people. In any case I’m very happy with the results.

And here below are some other drawings and sketches I’ve been doing in the meanwhile.

Jeremy and Nelly lounging and listening to jazz. I don’t know why Jeremy doesn’t have any pants other than that I wanted to draw male legs.

Some sketches of Nelly plus another character I’m creating, a young African woman.

An ink self-portrait of myself, back when I was young and handsome. I always love doing the old Klaus Voorman-type hair swirls and there is something very beautiful to me in the sterile whiteness I add to the hair and eyes.

I love drawing, but breaking through is tough and never easy. I still seek employment and I had several opportunities that completely shot me down. I do however, have an imagination that is far from exhaustion yet and want to commit to realising them, and currently I’m setting my sights on drawing a 4-page comic for the Belgrade Comic Festival in September, and exploring the colouring and brush possibilities on Krita, in service to this project. I also want to begin work on The Ingrids Manoeuvre proper, but the amount of research I need to do is staggering, and I never feel fully confident that I could do it, being a Serbian kid who has never been to England. I do have to start it someday, otherwise I never will, and I do hope that I will be able to endow it with a lively sense of momentum, which is the highest thing a comic could ever ask. We’ll see you later, then!

“Given the chance
I’ll die like a baby
On some faraway beach
When the season’s over”