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JL Mast from Marvel Comics shares 360 drawing workflow

360 drawing workflow with JL Mast from Marvel

JL Mast is an artist and illustrator from Lille, France. He works with MARVEL on titles including Daredevil / Punisher Infinite, A Year of Marvel: Amazing Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy & Avengers Millennium. He loves 360 drawing and as part of the Inktober initiative, he decided to draw a new image everyday this month. In this article, he shares his 360 drawing workflow and techniques.

This is a guest post written by JL Mast. You can follow him on Kuula , Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Hey there! I'm JL mast, I'm a french artist and most of my young carreer have consisted in working during the last five years for marvel comics (doing layouts for digital comics like Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome mix; Daredevil/Punisher: Seventh Circle; Ultimate Spider-man Infinite...) and more recently Disney.

Using the new digital tools (animated gifs, turbomedia, infinite canvas and 360 pics), I try to tell compelling stories, doing my best to keep a clear and smooth storytelling.

For about a year, I've been working on doing 360 illustrations - but due to NDA with the companies that hired me, couldn't show anything, which of course was FRUSTRATIIIIING. So, during Inktober 2017 -- an event where artists have to publish online ONE drawing per day -- I'm doing just that: one virtual reality drawing a day, so I can show how much fun I'm having to the whole world.

On Day 5, the theme, "Long", inspired me to do a looooong labyrinth in 360.

When doing work professionnaly, I mostly draw digitally. But when doing commissions on comicbook conventions, I like to go back to pen, paper and watercolors. That's why, whenever I can, I do my 360 illustrations on 100% real paper.

Workplace, drawing desk

Here are the THREE steps I take to do it on paper:

1. The 6 points perspective grid

A 360 picture can be shown in several ways (tiny planet, 3D cube...) but I found the best way for me to work is using an equirectangular image, on which you apply a 6 points perspective grid.

6 points perspective grid - 360 drawing workflow

You have many 6pts grids available online, I've been using a template done by Jeremy Mariez but you can use any. I printed it and put in on my lightbox, then on top of it, I add the paper on which I'll draw.

6pts grid on a lightbox

2. Drawing

On today's illustration, I don't have to anticipate anamorphosis much. If you want to play it easy, you can keep your characters on the horizon/center line of the grid, and they won't be too much distorded. The goal today is to do a 360-labyrinth game, where you have to follow the way to find out what Baby Groot (from Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy) loves the most. Is it Batman? A boombox? Rocket Raccoon? A severed bleeding finger? I use the perspective lines to do the labyrinth lines: easy peasy.

Perspective lines

If you want to have fun, though, you try to deform your characters. Here's how my Aquaman 360 picture looks like in its equirectangular form:

Equirectangular Aquaman - 360 drawing workflow

Notice the distorded right arm of Aquaman. Spent a lot of time to make it look right (and even now I'm not satisfied, but since it's free work, I can only afford to spend one or two hours on these drawings).

To check it the 360-drawing works, I scan it from time to time and use the Ricoh Theta S software to see if the illustration looks good.

The drawing of Groths labyrinth - 360 drawing workflow

3. Fix the drawing in Photoshop

The drawing is finished, I scan it, and clean it on Adobe CC Photoshop 2017. I have to fix any lines that may be too big or too thin. I constantly check by dragging and dropping my jpeg file into the Theta S software to see if it's working.

Preview drawing in Ricoh Theta viewer - 360 drawing workflow

I add the color on Photoshop or TVPaint (depending on the mood, 😊).

Adding color in Photoshop or TVPain - 360 drawing workflow

And there you go, the final drawing, in it's equirectangular form:

Final drawing of Groot in equirectangular form - 360 drawing workflow

I instantly upload in on Kuula and - voilà:

You can follow JLMast on Kuula to see all his other #inktober posts. Thanks!

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