I used to say that I knew when I was really in production when I had to approve color on a toothpick design. That emphasizes the reality of an animated show, that everything that moves must be designed and colored. I've written 23 pages of script for my comic. I have the detailed outline for much more. If this was an animated series, I'd be at the point where I get to hire a half dozen incredible designers to turn my imagined universe into awesome visuals. But when you're the writer/artist of your own comic, there's no one else to turn to.
"Turns out I'm really crappy at spaceship design which is not a good thing for my little science fiction project." I posted that on Facebook and well-meaning posters pointed out public domain model sources and artists I could pay to create my space armada. I was surprised at that response. Maybe it's because I often posted about hiring artists to work on my TV shows. But this comic is my own. I can see hiring a color artist if it was to be published by an existing company. So for now, it's me pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying new things.
As I do that, I will be analyzing my weaknesses and where I'm frustrated. I'm not looking for shoulders to cry on or fishing for compliments. I'm documenting my creative process which was the original purpose of this blog. I will probably showcase my self-doubt which many artists share. I will share what I consider successes while acknowledging that it's all a work in progress until it isn't. Then I will want you to buy it. So back to my spaceships.
I'm creating a comedy/adventure comic. Ideally, the ships should be just as caricatured as the characters. I like the speeder bike thing in my banner. It seems to be part of the same universe as the kids. The ships are not sleek fighters or massive star destroyers. They need to be the space traveling equivalent of campers, RVs and semi-trucks. They fly through space then serve as habitats. I'll get there. It's just more work which, when solved, will be part of the fun.
I kept scribbling weird shapes to finally get the one above that I like. This is the ship of Rocket and his archaeologist parents so that gun looking thing on the bottom sends the wrong message. It could be a sensor or some sort or a communication array but why draw a confusing message? I constantly struggle with making the ships believable in terms of the size of living quarters, space needed for engines, etc.. Here I'm finally loosening up on all that because I'm not doing Star Trek or even Star Wars. This comic will be closer in spirit to Darkwing Duck, if a little more adventurous. I decided to redraw this on a fresh sheet and ink it by hand. I knew I'd just be hitting the Undo button again and again if I went digital.
I should have switched to a pen for some of the details but this is just a rough to see what the technology of the Rocker Wylde universe might look like. The big size proportion problem to me is the suggestion of a cockpit. That makes the ship feel like a fighter instead of something that includes living quarters, labs and vehicle storage. But again, this is rough. I scanned this into Photoshop with the idea of enlarging those lower wings and distorting the ship in general.
This will be a colorful universe although these may be too saturated. I started with the red but those are Rocket's colors. It's not like I'd keep all red out of the book except for Rocket but he'll be hanging outside the ship a lot. I want the reader's eye to go to him, not his home. Those rectangular things are good candidates for pen instead of brush. I did the design no favor by giving them gray frames. I like the basics of this. Still have to shring the cockpit drastically and maybe skip the reel to reel tape deck over the engines. Technically the hull should be bigger but I'm taking cartoon license. Besides, a lot of clowns can fit into a car like that. Next time, aliens!