Monday, October 31, 2016

Noir Illustration: Hatta Mari Takes the City

I was glancing back through my blog and realized that I've been a little tease. I've been promising you a glimpse of my sexy supervillain, Hatta Mari, and have yet to follow through. I feel like a mean girl on prom night.

Without further ado, here she is.

Hatta Mari Copyright & TM Mike Mitchell
This image was created by:
  • Rendering the figure in Poser 11 using the Live Comic Book Preview mode
  • I created three renders, each with slightly different light settings
  • I then brought them into Manga Studio 5 and layered them
  • There is a base "Black" layer
  • A layer on top of that is set to about 20% transparency -- this provides the light gray areas on her body
  • This one time, I needed a separate opacity setting for the hair -- I believe that layer (which is layer masked to show only the hair) is set to 50%. I needed this to get the right shading on the hair.
  • I then created a tone layer (the thin diagonal lines used for shading) and used a layer mask to show it along her legs, and inside he squares. This was done with hand editing; it wasn't possible to automate this by selecting regions with the magic wand or other tools.
  • I then added the background layer (clip art with an MS5 tone filling it) and the text

Next time, I'll do a post that shows each of the layers and how they look during the compositing process.

Monday, October 17, 2016

My comic fonts just went BLAMbot!

I'm still working on the pages for my Moon Wolf + Hatta Mari comic. I'm having fun, and learning a lot about the use of my current tool set (Poser 11 Comic Book Preview and Manga Studio 5). In general, the comments on the art have been solid, but I've had a few negatives on my decision to use uppercase and lowercase lettering (i.e. Sentence Case.).

You see, traditionally, comics use all uppercase letters.

I've never really liked that. Even though it dates back to the dawn of comics (and earlier, for that matter), I don't have any facts on this, but I have long thought that the ALL UPPERCASE LETTERING was used because the comics were printed on low-quality paper and mostly read by kids. So, there was a strong need to keep the fonts as legible as possible.

I've wondered why we're continuing those traditions when there is no longer a need to do so. Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks so. Many newsstand comics are bucking the trend right now, including: Howard the Duck, AKA Patsy Walker Hellcat, Squirrel Girl, Josie and the Pussycats, and the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

So, unless I get too much kickback from readers, I think I'm going to mostly go with Sentence Case for this project.

Speaking of this project, the original font did get a lot of criticism, so I am going to switch to Blambot Casual. This is a pro-font that I picked up from the super nice folks over at It was only $30 for four faces, and includes a nice mix of uppercase and lowercase lettering. I'm also planning on using some of their great FREE fonts. BTW: check the bottom of the home page -- I found a 10% off promo code there (saved me $3).

Blambot Casual includes four variants;
I'm only showing you two of them.