Pencil and ink
Dive into the intricate and brooding shadows, as Andy Brase uses line and ink to depict a deadly version of Ezio, the iconic killer from Assassin’s Creed II
Andy Brase’s game character.
What’s better than getting a chance to draw some of the iconic characters from Assassin’s Creed? Being asked to make them darker and portray them as villains!
Those familiar with my art probably won’t be surprised to know that I gravitate toward the shadowy and more mysterious characters. This often happens to be villains, anti-heroes and monsters. The Assassin’s Creed characters are already quite dark, so this assignment was right up my alley.
Ezio, from the Italian Renaissance time period, was one of the assassins I was most drawn to at first. To show this character as a villain, I want to do it in a fairly realistic way using mood, shadow and the atmosphere of the drawing. I don’t want to make him overly demonic or bring in elements that might be totally out of place in the Assassin’s Creed world. I’ve always liked drawing statues and think it’ll fit well with this image to bring in some elements that will build up a gothic atmosphere.
The focus of this workshop is on the inking and line work of my Dark Ezio drawing. This piece is made to be presented in black and white ink, so I’ll be approaching the artwork in a way so that colour won’t be needed. Having a lot of contrast and spot black shadows generally works well with drawings that will be in black-and-white. It gives more weight to the drawing if there are some heavy blacks present.
I’m often asked what tools I use to ink my art. Most of my detailed works are done with Sakura Micron Pens. Long ago, when I started inking, I used Rapidograph technical pens, but they started leaking and required a lot of cleaning, so I switched. Microns don’t require any cleaning up afterwards and they also have more of a flexible tip than some technical pens. If you’re new to inking it’s always good to try out some different tools and see what works best for you. Many comic artists and other inkers prefer to use a brush and ink to achieve a different line style and more thick-to-thin lines.
For me, Microns tend to be what I use most often. The following pages will give you a better look into my ink work. Now on to drawing an assassin! Andy is best known for his dark character, creature and cover illustrations. Titles he’s worked on include DarkSun, Kull, Daredevil, Swamp Thing, Assassin’s Creed, book covers for George RR Martin, and his own artbook/sketchbook titled Exorcism. www.facebook.com/andybraseart
1 Rough sketch
I start with a rough sketch to figure out the main shapes of the composition. Sometimes I do smaller thumbnails, but in this case I jump into a sketch at the same size that I’ll be drawing the final. I add a couple of bloody hands near the bottom after I’ve done the initial rough.
2 Transferring and pencilling
When I have the basic composition figured out and approved, I transfer this sketch with a lightbox to my Bristol board for the final drawing. Then I start pencilling in the bigger shapes, using a mechanical pencil and HB lead. Once I’m happy with this, I focus on adding more details.
3 Pencil finish
In the tighter pencil stage I make sure to figure out all the important anatomy and composition issues. I correct any major problems with the drawing that were present in the rough version. Having a pencil drawing with a strong structure will help me to focus on the inking process.
4 Starting to ink
Next I move on to the ink stage. I do the most of my inking with Sakura Micron Pens, sizes 005, 01 and 05. I start simply, by blocking in some of the black shadow shapes in the angel statue and on the assassin’s forearm.
5 Spotting black shapes
I continue inking some of the black shapes, moving up to the collar section. Because these are small black shapes, I outline them with a 01 Micron and fill them with a Micron brush pen. To make sure I’m not smearing my pencil work, I have a piece of scrap paper that my inking hand rests on, whenever it’s on part of the art.
6 Textures to shade
Now that my hand’s getting warmed up with the pen work, I move into more of the line work and ink textures. I use different ink textures to shade and build the shadows. I ink Ezio’s shoulder, keeping in mind that I want to give the fabric a rough and gritty feel.
7 Depicting the blade fist
Now I decide to tackle one of the more important elements in the drawing, which is Ezio’s clenched fist and blade weapon. I ink the solid black first, then build the values with line work, paying close attention to line thickness, spacing and the light source.
8 Details and values
I move on to finishing the angel statue. Keeping in mind the lighting and the fact that I want a full range of contrast, I use lines to create the shadows. My lines curve around the surface and toward the light source most of the time, to give the statue form. I also add numerous cracks and marks to give the statue a weathered surface.
9 Hand details
Next to the statue are the hands of a victim, which are dripping blood. I decide that the blood will look best as a solid black, and ink this first. I continue to render the hands with line work. This type of detail work, like the statue, is done with the smallest size Micron, 005.
10 Fog and wind texture
I decide to have the assassin’s body fade into a fog-like effect. This both adds a creepy atmosphere and helps the foreground elements to pop out more. I do this with lines, close to horizontal, that start thick and become thinner as they go down to his feet. Some wavy lines imply the sense of wind. The idea is to have the black shadows fade to grey and white to the viewer’s eye.
11 Dark shadow textures
There are some areas on the drawing that I want to add dark shadows to, without making them completely black. Underneath the statue, the shadow area could have been done with a black fill, although I decide to add a crosshatching texture to give it a rougher look.