Now that the Outsider Comic has been out for a few weeks, and we’ve started work on the second comic book, I’ve been drawing almost constantly. While Nicoy does all the beautiful drawings for the comic book I need to do illustrations, concept art and portraits for the characters so that she knows what they look like. Most of these end up in a small sketchbook I have just for Outsider and Defiance related drawings, and it goes everywhere with me. Nothing like 20 minutes on a train to draw a blind subterranean desert monster. Though you do tend to get strange looks from whoever is sitting next to you.
For the second comic book one of the first things I started sketching was Bjargtre. When I wrote out the history of the city the idea I had was that it was founded hundreds of years after Lǫgberg, and in many ways it’s trying to compete with it’s older sibling. It’s trying to be bigger, grander and more opulent in almost every way. The main thing (though I still need to do drawings of this) is that it needed to be more structured. Lǫgberg was started as a mining city, so it’s old and sprawling. Bjargtre needed to be different, like it’s founders had a vision for it beyond just mining when it was started.
One of the first two sketches drew in this sketchbook was the entrance to Bjargtre and Lǫgberg so I had a crystal clear image of it in my head when I started writing about it. Lǫgberg, while it still looks quite cool, it’s essentially just a massive statue in front of a crack in the mountain side. Bjargtre had to be a little more obnoxious about it and build a gate and battlement that looked like a giant mouth. Because, you know, nothing say’s “we’re better than Lǫgberg” than a giant screaming face in the mountain side.
If I’m perfectly honest landscapes and any kind of architectural drawings are not my forte, I like faces, clothes and figures, but I can manage a few rough sketches if I have to. The great thing with concept art is it doesn’t have to be perfect. You’re not trying to draw the next great piece of art, you’re just trying to convey an idea to the comic book artist. They’re an artist too, they get it, and you need to trust them to know what they’re doing. You don’t have to spend hours making sure the texture of the stone looks just right. It’s stone, the comic book artist knows what it looks like.
Ok, I take it back. There’s one thing I like drawing almost as much as faces and that’s creatures. Especially creatures like this where you get to create something which looks amazingly freaky. With the Wyvern I imagined them to be blind creatures that live under the ground. They sit under the sand, or mud, and wait till they hear something moving on the surface. Their face is quite solid (it needs to be to dig under the ground) but the rest of their body is quit soft so they need to be able to move fast. They have no back legs, just a long, long tail and clawed wigs. They can’t fly though, only glide over short distances, which is very useful for sneaking up on larger animals. Just glide over, sting them in the back of the neck with and wait till they’re paralyzed enough from the venom to eat.
I imagined it would be a little like an anaconda with claws, wings and a sting like a scorpion just sitting under the ground. Listening for something it can eat to move on the surface. Not the kind of creatures you want to mess around with. Especially the big ones.