Step-by-step: Draw a convincing clash of heads
First I use 3D posing software to establish my composition of the violent encounter between two combatants. This helps me align all my core elements properly by enabling me to adjust the positioning and angles of major elements without having to fully redraw them. As well as providing accurate proportion for the figures, this initial render can be very useful for lighting reference – less so for anatomical detail. Here I compose a sketch over the top of the 3D render. I’m using Photoshop for demonstration purposes here, but in most instances I would use paper, a pencil and a light-board. The sketch enables me to enhance the details that I want to emphasise: in this case, I make the anatomy more angular and tensed, and add more characterful facial detail. I may also make use of photo reference for some of the physical niceties. I then go on to produce a more detailed drawing, cleaning up some of the line work and attempting to achieve convincing shading. I’ve kept the lines a little ragged here to emphasise the raw aggression of the scene, but tried to avoid overselling the effect. Clarity is still paramount and I don’t want to sacrifice visual consistency by changing my rendering style too much just for one panel.