Super Saiyan Jesus

Family has the sniffles, so we’re skipping church this week, alas. Today I decided to draw Super Saiyan Jesus.

Step 1

It’s a bit dodgy. I’m not supposed to work on my project o the month on Sunday, but it’s not December yet, and this is not a storyboard for Awesome Moments, and I feel like doing it, so it doesn’t technically count.

So this is a ‘pencil’ sketch composed in Krita. My ideal workflow is to convert this to cyan, print it out on cardstock, and then ink it with my Tombow brush pens. The ideal workflow will be used for this picture, but may not be useable for the awesome moments books; my printer is not capable of printing or scanning large enough pictures for the U.S. Letter size book I aim to make.

But there are workarounds: printers exist that can manage big enough papers, and are available at high (for starving artists like myself) but reasonable prices. It’s possible my church may have an industrial printer that I can borrow which will solve all my problems. And at the last resort, I have determined I can ink it digitally, even though I really, really don’t want to. That was the whole point of making this picture:

I’m going to post this blog post right here, right now. But I’ll come back to it as I accomplish further steps on Super Saiyan Jesus drawing because I believe it will serve as a useful illustration I can point people back to when discussing making my books.

Step 2

It’s good to slap down a picture as quick as you can, and then walk away from it for a few minutes. All sorts of tweaks begin to suggest themselves.

From rotating and rescaling limbs, to tweaking the perspective and forshortening to be more dynamic, to more carefully laying out the edges of the 3D forms.

Once Awesome Moments 1 is storyboarded, I intend to set it aside for a month. Ask the internet for money to complete it perhaps. Then, after it has rested, I intend to go over those blobby color pictures and create detailed “pencil” sketches like this. Then, after those sketches have rested, I intend to go over them and make any tweaks that suggest themselves before printing them out and inking them.

They get converted to cyan, so the scan doesn’t detect them.

Step 3

Well, we got us some lineart now…

I have tried working in the free program Krita, as well as the paid program Clip Studio Paint, and my overwhelming preference is Krita, but I will admit CSP has a small advantage here: because it’s designed for comic-style art, its fill bucket and selection tools take into account that there might be small gaps in your linework.

Krita does not. I have to go through and fix the little gaps to get the picture prepared for coloring.

I think this will do for today.

Step 4?

Yeah, Step 4. I thought I would write this up as I worked on the process, but I did not, so…

I like cartoony art. Always have, always will. In preparation for a past iteration of this project, I created this proportion guide:

And it’s just about my preferred proportions. Thing is, it’s childish, cartoony dimensions. About what you would expect to see in toys and books aimed at toddlers. It’s not that I can’t draw with more realistic or epic proportions. I can…

… I just don’t wanna. I wanna use proportions that get used in kids’ shows and newspaper comics.

And video games. Nobody ever accused Darkest Dungeon of being aimed at toddlers, and yet it uses proportions in the same ballpark. This is because as a proportion set, it is very easy to read a character’s face and body even when he is a very small portion of the screen.

Topic: [mod]Various Colors for Variable Classes | Darkest ...

And maybe my lifelong love of vidya as an art form has influenced me into loving this proportion set.

Anyway, a concern going in was that drawing Jesus as a cartoon character with video-game proportions would be blasphemous or trivializing in some way. I knew I was unwilling to work long-term on a series of Bible story books unless I set out from the outset to draw the characters in a style I could enjoy. But what will I say to my King if I draw Him to look like a cheap plastic toy?

When I pick up a Bible story book at Walmart and thumb through the illustrations, I find the cutesy art to be breathtakingly cheeky. “How could the artist portray Our Lord like that and live?” I’ll not burden you with examples because at the end of the day the art is between the artists and Christ, and He is able to make His servants stand.

But, fortunately, I ran across the exception to the rule. Or rather, a couple of exceptions. For some reason, the work of Dennis Jones strikes me as good and beautiful and fitting, despite the fact that it is very, very cartoony.

136 best images about Dennis Jones Art (Biblical) on ...

Yeah, okay, Dennis Jones makes me look like a poser. So do all the people I look up to. You gotta have somewhere to aim for.

Another guy who eased my worry was Tom Gould, purveyor of Roman Catholic comics.

Tomics Comics (@TomicsComics) | Twitter

He’s able to make stupid jokes out of the characters in the Scriptures without ever once coming across as irreverent. I’m not sure how.

But it proves it’s possible. And if I don’t create, edit, and publish colorful books explaining my faith for my child, I’m going to doodle on a napkin while I explain it with my mouth. In for a penny, in for pound.

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