Welcome to my next Udemy Course, “Drawing Amazing Backgrounds with Perspective – Step by Step.” This course will teach you how to use 1, 2, and 3 Point Perspective to create interesting and imaginative backgrounds. You will work with me as we draw an illustration for each example. This will allow you to learn not only how to use these powerful techniques but also how to create environments from imagination.
You will learn a variety of techniques to create shapes with dimension through these lessons. Such as cubes, pyramids, archways, and angles. By the end of this course, you will have a better understanding of how to draw rooms, buildings, brick walls, windows, furniture, and all with Linear Perspective!
Things we will be Focusing on in this Course
Creative Design Thinking
Expressive Line Making
Depth + Scale within Our Scenes
Mapping Out Space in Perspective
Adding Values for Portfolio or Client Work
Correcting Flaws within the Work
This course is designed to teach you how to draw detailed backgrounds step by step. You will be drawing an alleyway with one-point perspective, an interior room with two point-perspective, and a view looking up at various buildings using three-point perspective. These will each be created with a different style to give you the most versatile experience possible. It is important that you not only learn how to draw with perspective but also how to create a variety of styles with these techniques. I want my students to be able to relate this information to comics, storyboards, and animation. If you learn to be versatile as an illustrator you have a much greater chance of success. This is what I have experienced in my career and I want to share that with you! Drawing background with Linear Perspective is an extremely important asset to have as an artist. So let’s get started right now and put Perspective Art in your toolbox!
Ever wonder what steps you should take to improve your comic style art?
I always get this question, “How can I improve my comic art?” I will admit the most common answer you will ever hear in your life is Practice! It’s is the answer that no student wants to hear. I remember hearing it and thinking, “I practice like a madman already. How much does it take?”
Instead of giving you the lazy answer, let’s delve into the details a bit more. It isn’t enough to know that you need to practice a lot. You need to know what to practice and why. You also need a few other concepts to think about. Strangely enough, it’s not all about practice. Let’s jump on in!
TIP#1 Practice Daily!
Wait! You just said?! I know, it seems like a low blow doesn’t it? It really is the first and easiest answer. You have to practice daily to improve. Long gaps will hurt your development.
What should you practice is probably the best question but you have to answer that one for yourself. Find the weakest link in your chain and make it the strongest. If you can’t draw faces but you draw really great muscles then you know what you need to do. It is hard to do because we gravitate to what we are confident at.
So fight the habit and dedicate a good portion of your studies to what matters most or something that is holding your work back from being amazing.
TIP#2Create Finished Art!
You need to create finished pieces of comic art or you are setting yourself up for potential failure. Sketching and studies are extremely important of course but if you don’t focus on completing your work you won’t develop a strong portfolio and ultimately won’t secure any work.
People don’t commission or hire based upon sketches. Finishing your art pieces will also force you to deal with the fact you may not be able to draw feet, hands, or faces. It is easy to hide those things in rough sketches. ( Maybe not the faces. )
Completing your work will also make you fully aware of how fast or slow you can draw. Extremely important if you hope to work as a professional artist.
TIP#3 Ask for Constructive Criticism!
The reason I say to ask for it is I feel that if you request it, you are far more likely to receive it as sound advice. We have all gotten someone’s unwanted criticism at times and just decided to not accept it. Truth be told, it only hurts you to keep a closed mind to it.
Even someone that is a complete stranger draws like a 5 year old and has a profile pic of road kill could still be a fantastic art critic with sound advice. It’s not always going to come from someone you admire and it is more about how you choose to use the information.
When you jump into the professional world anyone and everyone can quickly become your critic and even your boss. Best to get used to it now and stomach your sensitive little ego!
TIP#4 Get Back to the Basics!
We sometimes get to a certain level in our art and we think we are the next Jim Lee or Todd McFarlane so we go for more advanced drawings. Hoping to hide any flaws in our work by applying our fancy smancy rendering techniques. It’s okay to practice this once and a while to develop our “Eye Candy” effects. Just don’t do it every time and think that no one can tell that your characters are stiff as cardboard cutouts or that your page compositions are as interesting as peeling potatoes on a Saturday night.
Getting back to the basics of drawing gestures, primitive shapes, understanding perspective, composition, understanding your tools, jumping back into your art books, and so on is often overlooked because we think we are better than we actually are. It is easy to get caught up in all the “likes” on social media from people that want to be supportive of our work or just get a bit of tunnel vision.
We have to remember that our polished art needs a sound foundation to rely upon. Only then can it soar to the heights of Mount Olympus or whatever fantasy reference you prefer.
TIP#5 Keep an Actual Sketchbook!
I really wish I would have done this more consistently through my younger years. I have tons of sketches on loose pieces of paper and although I love sifting through those fond memories a lot of them aren’t dated.
A series of completed sketchbooks gives you a more somewhat linear view of what you have accomplished. You still need to be adamant about dating your work of course. Sketchbooks are much more organized and as artists we need all the help we can get in that area. ( Well, I do at least! : /)
TIP#6. Go to the Comic Conventions!
This is so important if you truly want to be a professional comic book artist. The comic conventions are an amazing way to learn and grow as an artist. Even if you don’t like spending money to have a table, it is still a great experience to attend and show your work around.
This part ties into the constructive criticism from Tip #3. Showing your comic art and starting some dialogue with others about it, will teach you a lot. Just be receptive and leave your ego at home. You can’t fill a cup that is already full, right?
Also, the conventions give you a “behind the scenes” look at what works and what doesn’t. Speak to as many artists, writers, and editors as you can. The nuggets of advice you will learn from them is priceless!
TIP#7 Update your Portfolio Often!
As you complete new works of art, update your portfolio. Don’t just add to it either. Your better works should incline you to show the lesser works to the nearest exit. Your portfolio should only have room for your best comic art.
Don’t make the mistake of showing an editor a stack of sketches mixed with a few covers. It should contain 10 to 15 of your best pieces of art. It should also reflect what you want to be as a comic artist. If you want to draw books, then you need sequential storytelling not a bunch of pinups.
Also, if you do show this work to an editor, don’t make excuses on why it isn’t your best work. Only show your best work and listen more than you talk. Becoming defensive shows weakness. Just take notes and go back to the drawing board and make improvements.
In my opinion, you should also make sure to include a nice range of your abilities within those pages. Draw people with expressions and emotions as well as super-powered heroes punching through walls. Make good use of perspective and include lots of props like cars, street signs, a damaged fire escape, and so on. It shows that you can draw lots of little details and enrich the scene. If you can illustrate a scene with lots of clutter and make it read well visually then you have an edge on a lot of artists. Don’t be they guy or gal that draws superheroes against a blank white canvas all the time!
TIP#8 Draw with a Focus!
It’s not good enough to just draw. You have to have a focus. This sort of ties into Tip #1. You have to go into your drawings with a purpose.
Are you going to draw an amazing piece of fan art to show the world what you can do with their favorite character? Are you developing your studies of anatomy and poses for the next few hours? Are you going to strengthen your understanding of “Dynamic Light and Shade” with the Amazing Burne Hogarth Book you picked up? Get it here with my Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2YsP0yO ( I highly recommend all of his books! ) Are you going to enhance your speed by doing timed studies of areas within your work?
Having an intention and focus is much more powerful than simply drawing whatever pops into your melon. It allows you to maximize your efforts. You will learn much faster by doing this and not get burned out so quickly by spending time on the wrong aspects of your work.
TIP#9 Sell your work!
You may think that this is only reserved for the pros. So not true! I started my art business in high school. I would barter my amazing ( unrefined ) art skills for good grades and social status. We all know good grades may eventually help you pay the bills but you might say, “You can’t pay your bills with social status.” Maybe not directly but it will translate to income over time.
It’s basically branding and self-promotion. Becoming the guy or girl known for being an amazing artist will get you the word of mouth that sells the work. So why all the enfasis on selling your work. It teaches you a lot about how the real world process will work.
Being able to take instructions from a client, negotiate a deal that is mutually beneficial, make changes as needed, communicate clearly, tame your ego, and deliver your artwork on a deadline. This Tip will probably teach you the most about yourself and if you can’t do this for regular joe’s then you may not be ready for the big leagues.
TIP#10 Use Reference and Draw from Life
Just because we are comic artists doesn’t mean we can’t use reference. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
Reference can take a decent artist and turn them into something amazing. I am all for drawing from imagination as much as possible but sometimes you just have to feed the brain box. Draw from life and interpret it into your own style. Then your comic storytelling will know no bounds.
Your fans will love seeing all those references ran through your creative filter. Just don’t trace or else you will weaken your ability to convert things into your own style or make changes as quickly.
TIP#11 Study from the Masters
Masters can be anyone that you admire really. They don’t all have to be Leonardo Davinci for you to learn from them. Knowledge hides in the most inconspicuous places.
Make sure to study the work but not copy it or pass it off as your own vision. If you adhere to the original work you need to credit the artist. That being said, it is actually a fantastic way to level up your art skills. It allows you to peer through their eyes and follow the choices that they made.
As a comic artist I often ink the work of others that I am inspired by. Not because I want to be an inker but because I learn immensely every time I do it. Their lines are amazing to me for a reason, so inking their work can demystify some of the process. Plus, it’s just plain fun to do! 😉
These are just some of the things I do to improve my comic art on a daily basis. I hope you find these tips to be valuable and I would love to know what are the ways your improve your art! Comment below and feel free to share the post if you enjoyed it!
Robert A. Marzullo
Ram Studios Comics
Want to learn more about my comic art process. Check out my Udemy courses below….
I wanted to share some of my findings on using silhouettes for your art. In this case I will be sharing the effect it has on character design but really this can apply to pretty much anything. It is wildly popular for concept art but can even work for other styles of art such as comics and cartooning .
So what is a silhouette? Why does it matter? A silhouette is a two-dimensional representation of the outline of an object, as a cutout or configurational drawing, uniformly filled in with black, especially a black-paper, a miniature cutout of the outlines of a person’s face in profile. Simply put, the silhouette is the outline of anything we might be looking at.
It matters because we are extremely good at spotting things based upon their silhouette. Don’t believe me? Have you ever seen Batman’s silhouette and thought it was Winnie the Pooh? Probably not likely. Also, a strong easy to read silhouette translates into a strong character design. This is one of the many reasons character designers use the power of silhouettes at the beginning of their creative process. It also allows for a fast workflow to developing ideas.
Try creating some basic character designs with this method. Don’t worry yourself too much about any idea of perfection. Allow yourself to make mistakes and have fun with the process. Remember, this is an exploration of ideas. Keep the process loose and energetic. Think of things like the posture and backstory of the character and less about the details. With a silhouette, it is pretty easy to keep adding details after the initial gesture is in place anyways. As you get more comfortable with the process you will start to envision more ideas right from the start.
Another great way to use this to spark your creativity is to start with one idea and then make each additional character design vastly different. This allows you to express a ton of creativity in a short amount of time. Just like doing gestures before figure drawing, this is a great way to start your character design process. These silhouettes can be saved and reused as well. You can even experiment by overlapping them to create new inventive ideas.
Then you can take these silhouettes and begin to refine them with values. Values are basically what you see when you convert a color image to a grayscale image. By painting in the values to your character design you can focus on the depth and form first. Unless you are a pretty confident painter, painting with colors can be distracting. It really depends upon what your strenghts are as an artist. The reason value painting is so popular in character design is that it allows the client to see the progression of the work and make changes. Whenever working with a client you want to try to create your work in even passes. This way you don’t spend all day detailing one area of your character concept only to have the client ask for an update. It will be much easier for them to read what is going on if you in smaller passes over the character design.
After you have worked through the entire design process you can begin to apply color. When using Clip Studio Paint or Photoshop, you can apply color with a new layer. Play with the “Blending Modes” ( PS ) or the “Combine Modes” ( CSP ) set to Color, Overlay, etc. You can apply color on just one layer but for more variety in the work, you can use a few color layers together. I will be adding information to this post so be sure to check back as I create more studies.
You can even use this same shape thought process to create dynamic comic book poses. Here is a video of me explaining that process on my Youtube channel – https://youtu.be/6MfVCC7m5R8
Thank you for viewing and let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for new content!
Intro to Custom Brushes in Procreate – Hair and Fur!
I added a new class to my Skillshare called, “Intro to Custom Brushes in Procreate – Hair and Fur”.
In this class, you learn how to create a custom hair and fur brush step by step. You also learn how to import/export brushes to share with your community.
After creating the brush we demonstrate it by giving this little monster some hair. I show you how to adjust the brush for various effects as it is being used.
You get the art file and brush document to practice with. I will be creating more custom brush classes using Procreate so please let me know what you would like to see in the future! The next class will be on texture brushes.
Thanks for stopping by and you can get the class here on Skillshare – https://skl.sh/2MuEAqU
( You get 2 months free for signing up with this link! )
— NOTE — Remember if you already have my Udemy course on “Procreate Like a Pro”, this has been added and simply need to re-visit the course to view the new lessons.
I am excited to share some new brushes with you today! I have been playing around with some comic style inking brushes for the app Procreate. I was able to come up with a few cross-hatching brushes that I think you might find helpful within your work.
I’ve noticed that a lot of artists struggle to get good effects with their cross-hatching. Almost to the point where they decide not to do much of it. This is where these brushes can help. They are designed to make that part much easier to accomplish. Keep in mind this shouldn’t deter you from drawing out your own, only to aid you in getting better at the process. These brushes look much better if they are correctly mixed with hand drawn shading. They also help to save time in certain areas of the work. Deadlines have to be met at any cost, right!
I have been using Procreate for a few years now and I really enjoy the brush creation process in this app. It is easy to do and the brush settings are extremely versatile. I will be making more of these brushes to add to this pack. There are all sorts of neat things to create for comics. Background textures, brick patterns, various brush tips, and so on.
In this course, I explain all the tools and features within Procreate. You also learn my process on using this app to create my digital art everyday. I now create 90% of all my illustration work with my iPad Pro and Procreate!
Thanks for stopping by and let me know if you have any questions for me. Feel free to email me through my contact form.
How to Draw Dynamic Superheroes – Start to Finish!
Hello Fellow Comic Artists!
I have been working on some new content to add to my existing Udemy course, How to Draw Dynamic Superheroes – Start to Finish!”
I have just included over 5 Hours of new content in this course. Putting it at over 9 Hours long with 28 NEW lessons. In this section, I show you how to draw, ink, and color a fully detailed comic book scene or cover piece. This helps to implement all of the previous lessons taught throughout the course. Which should help to commit the important parts to your memory!
Here is a breakdown of what the current curriculum looks like :
Section 1 – Basic Proportions of the Superhero Male
Section 2 – The Superhero Female
Section 3 – Drawing the Muscle Bound Brutes
Section 4 – Drawing Dynamic Superhero Poses
Section 5 – Drawing Characters with Perspective and Foreshortening
Section 6 – Creating a Comic Book Scene – Superhero Flying Towards Camera
In this course you will learn how to sketch poses, refine the sketch, measure and adjust proportions, create suit designs, render various materials, create shapes of shadows, draw bodies in perspective, use thumbnails to save time, create dynamic poses, draw a cityscape in perspective, ink the work, apply colors and add final touches!
By the end of this course, I have no doubt you will have a lot better understanding of what it takes to create comic book artwork like the pros! You also get all the art files to study along with.
If you have any questions about this content you are welcome to leave your questions in the Q+A Section. I will answer you back as soon as I can. I am also open to any feedback you have for me to improve the quality of this course for everyone! I will continue to add lessons as needed and you will get all additional updates for free.
I just created a new Skillshare class to add to my next course on, “How to Draw Superheroes – Start to Finish!” This will be just another part to the course that will be packed full of great information!
In this particular lesson we will cover basic proportions of the superhero female form. You will learn how I draw a turnaround of a character, then how to apply anatomy and a suit design. Breaking down the process can make it much easier to accomplish.
This can seem like a basic lesson but I assure it is a very important one to practice. Turning the character around on the page gives you a great sense on how they look from these basic angles. Then drawing them in more dynamic poses is easier to envision. Don’t worry, we will get into all that advanced stuff later, I promise!
If you want to just buy this course you can get it on my Gumroad page here. Just please keep in mind that you pay for the full course now and get the lessons as they are completed. I will be adding new lessons each week until the course is completed. https://gum.co/zgpix
By the end of this course we will cover all the various techniques I use to create comic book heroes. Things like proportions + distortions of the body, dynamic anatomy, suit designs, powers, rendering/crosshatching, shapes of shadows, action poses, foreshortening, and by the end of it we will complete a full scene creation to put all that knowledge to the test.
I hope you will join me for these lessons and I am here if you have any questions. As always keep drawing and keep having fun! 🙂
I hope all is well on your side of this crazy rock. I am having fun drawing some new fan art and I wanted to share a few things I have learned while doing so. For those of you that don’t know my process let me explain. I have been drawing comic art for over 20 years now and I used to work on good old bristol board but a few years back I decided to start working digitally. ( I was a messy inker! :>) I know people are rolling their eyes right now. Real artists use traditional tools, right? I get it, you’re in love with the feeling of real paper. I don’t blame you, I draw on paper as much as I can too. Something about it just feels…..you know…natural! I switched because I am a big fan of technology and I like to be on the forefront of it all. Plus, I really just wanted to ink digitally but then later realized the pencils were possible as well. By creating all of it digitally I was saving a lot of time. I no longer had to scan my pages which was always a pain. I know a lot of artists just don’t want to make the switch. I truly don’t blame you, to each their own I guess!
So when I started drawing digitally I bounced around to a few different drawing softwares. I quickly realized Manga Studio 4 could create full comic books as a single document and gravitated over to that. I was a little less than enticed about the drawing process on there. I was still using an Wacom Intuos 3 at the time so that was a bit of a hinderance as well. I hadn’t fully gotten used to drawing on a “lap tablet” as I like to call them. Then I switched to Sketchbook Pro for the pencils and it started to feel more natural. Once I finally upgraded to a Wacom Cintiq 22, I was like a kid in a candy store! I finally had a really nice drawing experience going on. I could pencil and ink all on this device and with the two programs I felt like I was really getting somewhere.
With each new update the programs have gotten better and better. ( For the most part. ) I still didn’t feel like I was creating to the level that I could achieve on paper though. Keep in mind, there is a learning curve with any and everything, so part of it could have been that. I truly believe you can create amazing art with anything if you put your mind and heart into it!
Almost two years ago I started hearing people talk about the new iPad Pro coming out. I was a bit skeptical at first. Maybe good for amateurs but I am a pro and I need a big fat Cintiq on my table. ( By pro I mean a starving artist of course. lol ) Upon seeing other artists work on this device I was quickly sold. I loved the fluid marks they were making. I also thought the Apple Pencil looked more comfortable to work with. Plus I really wanted to be portable with my art creation process. After taking the leap of faith I was quickly at home using the device. It was very intuitive and I was creating the style of art I like rather quickly.
The only issues I had was not being able to use all my favorite programs. I felt a bit stuck. I really enjoy the feel of the device but was missing some great apps to take advantage of it. I even used Astropad for a short time to help bridge the gap but it didn’t fit well into my workflow. I then started using Procreate more and more. Within a few updates this app was really starting to appeal to me. Plus, it records videos and I am such a Youtube junkie these days! 🙂
The Procreate app is extremely well designed. It moves quickly and the interfaces is so streamline you will forget it is there. The brush engine is nothing short of amazing and it has the most natural drawing experience I have found thus far. The Venom art above was drawn in this app. About 90 percent of my work is done there now. I still jump over to my Cintiq when I need dual monitors and have to get some multi-tasking done but I quickly jump back over to my iPad Pro and Procreate combo to knock out some sketches or comic art.
I often get into a bad habit of drawing whatever comes to mind. I mean to say, when I start an image I don’t always know exactly where I want it to end up. When I see myself do this too many times I get back to the basics to fix it. That is when I go back to drawing thumbnails like a good little artist should! 😉
Thumbnailing helps you to know where the artwork should end up. It is a way to establish a set of ideas without wasting a huge amount of time. Another way to say it is just “rough sketching” but I think thumbnails are the preferred terminology in comics.
You can work out things like poses, composition, camera angles, movement, energy of the shot, and shapes of shadows. In my opinion, you want to get as much information about the end result as you can within about 2-5 minutes of sketching. This also sparks creativity immensely!
After rough sketching about 5 thumbnails I am usually pretty set to go on my drawing but hey at 2 minutes long no big deal if you need to create a few more, right?
If you want to see a video of this drawing from the thumbnail sketch to the finished pencils you can watch it here on my Youtube channel –
Let me know what you think of it and as always, Keep Drawing and Keep Having Fun! 🙂
I currently have 10 Courses available on Udemy. I have received some amazing reviews and the platform is very well done. If you are not happy with the content and my teaching style you have 30 Days to refund your course. I only want you to pay if you are extremely satisfied with my efforts! I am here to answer any questions you have so don’t hesitate to ask.
Here are my discount codes to get any of these courses at $10.99 with lifetime access on any device –
How to Draw Dynamic Comic Book Superheroes – Start to Finish