Monday, March 7, 2011


When people think "comic books" the images that usually come to mind are big muscle guys in tights fighting other big muscle guys in tights. Very rarely does someone think "interior design" or "city architecture". But when it comes to drawing a scene, or even looking at one, environments are vitally important.

If a character lives in an apartment it's important that it is the same from issue to issue. For example, back in the 1980's, Peter Parker lived at 410 Chelsea Street. The apartment was a one bedroom with a very distinctive decor - including  a giant spool as a table, a mounted swordfish on the wall, and a dime store indian in the corner:

When I was in high school, I built a 3 dimensional diorama of this apartment to draw from.

But what about now? Do I build all of the environments that I draw? No -but I do digitally construct some of them. There is a computer program that I use every once in a while called Google SketchUp . This program allows you to build environments or download existing ones. The nice thing is once you have the environment that you want, it can be moved around and viewed from different angles. 

A few years ago I built my living room and put it into a story:

I had also downloaded a cityscape for New York and put that into a couple of pages as well:

This was also done for my first Femforce story, which took place on a dock:

I don't use the program as much as I wish, primarily because I just don't have time to build something from scratch and I can't find what I need in the pre-existing models. But when I do use it, the environments help to add more credibility to the story.