A Drawing Lesson From Jim Lee (Jenny Sparks) 1

Besides that he draws superheroes, Jim Lee has become a superhero by himself when it comes to artwork. You will agree with me that it’s always clever to watch and listen when a maestro shows what he is doing and talks about the process.

Let’s give this 4 videos a closer look:


As Jim Lee says in the video above it’s smart to use a kind of a skeleton or wire frame before getting started. Often I read comments on forums, blogs and Youtube from people who hate to draw some kind of wire frames first. I’m not an exception here. However as long as you don’t have enough experience and trained your brain to draw the perfect lines you can better make use of them to make sure that you don’t get disappointed with the final result. A mistake in the beginning has its domino effect and will annoy you hours later when you give your work the finishing touch.

If you draw digitally you can easily save your skeletons and wire frames and use them over and over again. This way you don’t have to invent the wheel every time you start working on a new piece of art. Users of Manga Studio enjoy the possibility to use the 3D objects of different joint dolls that can be bend in every position and perspective you can wish for.

It’s amazing to see how fast Jim Lee is doing the first sketch of Jenny Sparks.

As we see in the second video the inking process doesn’t necessarily starts with a pen but a small marker is doing the job as well.

The inking process here is also a process of correcting the former drawing, as you can see in the change he makes in the elbow of the right arm. That is exactly what I am doing once I start inking.

What is very impressive here, is the speed he thinks about the wrinkling of the cargo pants and draws them. Until now I find it always challenging to give wrinkles to the clothes. Often I use photographs from fashion websites to refer to. There are many free sources on the web where you can learn how to draw wrinkles.

Talking about cutting edge drawing: at this stage Jim Lee’s work has already the WOW-factor. Isn’t it motivating to see him work?

If I would pour ink directly on the page it would be destructive to my drawing. No question about that. At last now you understand why I more and more prefer to draw, ink and color digitally. I tried real-life inking in the past and had the feeling that there was more ink on my fingers than on the drawing/painting.

Isn’t it virtuous how Jim is handling the brush without going over the lines of Jenny Sparks?

As you see it isn’t really necessary to draw every hair of the monkey. Suggesting it with some strokes is even more powerful. Here we hear it from a pro (though in other words): less is more!

I already love this drawing.

Don’t you wish you could create a drawing like that within 30 minutes?

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    It always amazes me when you see an artist whip up something that’s print-worthy before your very eyes in a short amount of time, yet the same artist is almost always consistently late with projects.

    In fact, it was this line of thinking where McCloud created his 24-hour comic challenge; he did it to spur on Steve Bissette (another creator whose books were known to come out slow, yet whose drawing capacity was actually quite fast).