Sunday, 9 December 2012


Yes, I know it's been fricking ages since my last post. I've been manically busy with one thing or another and it seems more important to actually get the comic finished (it's going well, thanks for asking) than it does to talk about it, but it's Sunday night and I'm too knackered to draw so I thought I'd post something instead.

I used Google's (now Trimble's) SketchUp briefly at work a few years ago to create 3D packshots of books I was designing. I never used it much, and so I never really 'mastered' it (in fact most of my time was spent going, 'Oh now why has that happened? Don't move that there, I didn't… OH FOR GOD'S SAKE').

I'd read how some artists use it to create a 3D environment which they can immerse themselves in to help ensure their backgrounds and scenes look authentic. I discovered it's possible to download 3D sculpts created by other people and when working on issue #3 I found a great model of a Messerschmitt which I used as reference for the upended plane on the cliff edge. To be able to spin the thing round and find the perfect angle was a revelation but still I shied away from actually creating my own sculpts because it always seemed so complicated.

But I continued to fiddle with it over the next year or so, and now, on issue #5, I've used it to create a couple of environments. Here's some screengrabs of the models:

The Falling Moon pub interior

Edward Temple's house (Who he? Wait and find out…)

They're pretty coarse, very simple and a bit clunky but they enable me to move around inside the two spaces and find the perfect angle. I do a 2D export, stick it into my page layout and basically 'trace' the geometric lines. All the detail I put in by hand afterwards, safe in the knowledge that my vanishing points and perspective are bang on.

With Edward Temple's house I imported other elements I downloaded from the SketchUp database (the staircase is actually a model someone created of the Titanic's staircase - I put it in then pulled it apart a bit while the chandelier is really just there for positional reference for me).

So SketchUp is proving to be really useful - and I'm spending less time arguing with it as well, which is nice. And the best thing about it? It's totally free to download. You can't argue with that...