Sharpen your art skills! How to break into comics with DC’s Ken Lashley
there was a time when I treated my digital canvas just like a traditional canvas. I’d work without layers and build up the image through my line work and filled areas. I didn’t concern myself with layers, but that became problematic as I moved forward and tried to make changes.
These days I’m continuously improving my use of layers and applying different digital art techniques. Yet I still treat each digital painting as a singlelayered image. To me it’s the easiest way to figure out how to do it. I think that’s the way you should start. If I had followed the recommended path to painting digitally, this would have slowed down my growth quite a bit.
ImagineFX is the magazine that I picked up when I was starting to learn and improve my digital art skills. By this time I was well into my career as a traditional illustrator when I made the decision to tackle the digital canvas.
I’ve learned a lot over the years. The last work I did for Lucasfilm was for the annual Celebration event in Germany. I painted Groovy Galactic Love all on my own and am rather proud of that piece. It was done digitally on my Cintiq. I noodled in some places and then realised that I was working too close to the image. I had done these beautiful details in the scene, but when I zoomed out it was all but impossible to see them. Still, that’s just part of the learning process.
Diving in and making mistakes paid off for me – funny as that may sound. You have to be willing to make mistakes and produce awful-looking results, so that someday you can look back at them and recognise how much you’ve improved.
1 Make a rough start on the image
I usually start a painting assignment with a series of roughs, probably four or five. My role as a cover artist at DC is to develop as many ideas as possible. Sometimes they’re off the beaten track, yet some have the potential to influence the original concept. Take this cover, for example. I was given lots of different ideas to play with, and the broken glass fun house was just one of those.