One Colorful Troll; a Comic Character Concept

in clipstudio •  5 months ago

A week ago I "ended the night with a little trolling..." in this post. It was a quick screen capture to SteepShot including a work in progress character design of one of the first baddies of my comic in development, "I Thought It Would Be Zombies..."

And well... here's the finished result in some fairly glorious color! (For my skills at least!)


Trolls are people too, unless they're trolls...


Color work is not something that I am comfortable with or have felt skilled at. I do believe that this is my most accomplished bit of color practice to date, and it gives me that little inkling that maybe, just maybe, I can actually pull this off!


It's always a good feeling when you get the sense that a project you're working on is in fact doable, and you have the means at your disposal to see it to fruition. Whether that be the skills, the tools, the time, the finances, all of the above... it's extra motivational to visualize a path to completion when before it may have only looked like a lot of question marks and roadblocks. I don't see a totally clear path yet, don't get me wrong. Let's just say on this illustration the breeze blew the right way and as the trees shifted I saw a hint of my destination!


I want to extend a big thanks to @ladymaharet. I was really digging her work, particularly some of the colors that I saw on her illustrations. She recently shared some glimpses of her preferred tools and techniques in posts like this and this. Studying her work and accompanying descriptions gave me a solid jumping off point to explore some methods and tools that I've never tried before, and I really enjoyed them! I might not actually dread coloring my work the next time around! @ladymaharet also uses the Clip Studio software which I love, and it was a pleasure to learn a bit from her and I'll keep an eye out to swipe more techniques and knowledge in the future! Thanks so much @ladymaharet!


So who is this freakin' troll?

I'm still fleshing out his story, but it's just good that he has one! "I Thought It Would Be Zombies..." is a post apocalyptic action/comedy/horror/fantasy romp. Imagine a mashup of Shaun of the Dead and Lord of the Rings and you might get kinda close.

I was previously planning out one of the first big action sequences. Perhaps you can guess who the big guy administering the beating is...


pre visualizing the page with 3d Models in Clip Studio


As I began to work on the pencils for this page, I realized I was being lazy! I was about to just start designing this character on the page itself... although I already had an idea that I'd want to see him again in the narrative, perhaps quite a bit more. If he wasn't some throwaway background character, designing his looks "on the fly" was just plain lazy and stupid. So I took a deep breath and put down my Apple Pencil from doing this...


creating rough pencil breakdowns based on the models


and switched to working on this instead...


an early stage of the finished piece


... and I'm sure glad I did. I wouldn't have come up with as fun a character and spent the hours it took to put this illustration together mulling over his backstory and personality. Ultimately, it'll lead to a better finished product by far. Sometimes planning is procrastination, but oftentimes it's necessary. And of course sometimes it's a little bit of both! If I hadn't stepped back from trying to get a page done, I'd have missed out on a more fully realized character and beginning to tackle my color inadequacies! But damn, I still gotta get cracking on some actual pages!


Overall I'm quite happy with how the big, as yet unnamed, bruiser turned out. That's rare for me... I fall more often into the "self-hating artist" category. I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek and glimpse at the creative process. I'd love to have you follow along for some more, and give @ladymaharet a follow too for some great artwork and good company! If this page in progress teaches anything, I hope it teaches you to find inspiration and knowledge in your community, and that massive internal bleeding is bad... so don't mess with Trolls!


-Bryan "the Imp" Imhoff

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Absolutely love it!

Color work is not something that I am comfortable with or have felt skilled at. I do believe that this is my most accomplished bit of color practice to date, and it gives me that little inkling that maybe, just maybe, I can actually pull this off!

The more you practice the better you'll get, you're obviously somebody who really puts the work into their art. Don't limit yourself with thoughts of I'm not comfortable with this or I'm no good at that. Trust in the process and you'll improve in whatever area you desire :-)

Thanks for the tip by the way, I'm off to check out @ladymaharet right now, if you're digging her work I'm guessing she's pretty good :-)

Oh by the way the Troll kind of reminds me of that comic Lobo, did you ever read that? He so looks like somebody from that world!



Thanks so much! Doing every part of comic production is a monumental task, so I've always felt there would be no shame in outsourcing the color work if it proved to be too time consuming or not up to par on my end. Little tests like this lead me to believe I just might keep it "in house" yet.

Trying new things and trusting the process is critical. I always have to remind myself to step back and actually take the time to study other artists, watch tutorials, really look at what makes me love what I love in other's work and how to approach capturing that. Too often I, and probably a lot of other artists, will just beat our heads against a blank page and get frustrated trying to do something, rather than reaching out for help and inspiration.

I totally see the Lobo thing and I take that as a high compliment! I also realized I pretty much just drew an "Ogryn" from the Warhammer 40k universe... but mine will have a lot more personality! There's nothing new under the sun, it's all in how you handle it!


Yes, like you say 'trust in the process', because at the end of the day that's the most fun part :-)


Yes, coloring is hard, but you aced it here! And often best ideas are born out of procrastination, it's strange, that trying to do nothing you do something great/better: ) thanks for sharing your creative process and the back story, that was really interesting to see and read! Oh, and don't forget to name the troll - maybe that's part of why he's so angry: D

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Thanks so much! I wouldn't say I aced it... I wanna leave myself room to go up from here! The nice thing is the techniques I was learning were actually pretty fun, relaxing, and loose.

His name will be known one day!


Well, you can always do better, but from my standpoint, it looks awesome!
I'll be waiting for that name you know😃

oh no! Don't be the self-hating artists, no reason for you to be one, you're super talented and remember that. Also, you're art, drawing, comic, everything is a lot better than most of the stuff I've seen published on Steemit. You know what you are doing and it shows.


There’s an acceptable limit of self hatred to have... I think my perfectionist tendency and lack of confidence may have me a bit over the threshold, but I’m working on it!

I feel like you’ve got to “hate,” or just be dissatisfied and unhappy with your work on some level in order to make solid improvements. I’ve seen artists who think their stuff is fantastic & perfect when it is far from it... and the effect is that they cease to grow & improve.

So expect some lighthearted self deprecation! I really appreciate your kind words and support!


Your welcome. Some people are so confident and I have no idea why. I think that you can be happy with your work and continue to grow and improve at the same time.

I'll be honest, a lot of times I pick colors for new characters by looking at the story I'm introducing them in and thinking, "Hey nobody has a purple costume yet in this scene!"


That is a more than valid way! Here I’m learning mainly just about the technique and rendering, I’ve still got lots of studying to get good at color theory and choices. I absolutely give thought to varying the main colors of recurring characters, as it’s a huge part of readability and making individuals quickly recognizable on the page.

I wouldn't know that you're struggling with colours if you don't mention it actually. The colours look so fitting to the sketch, together they look like an art that I might see in a comic book :).



they look like an art that I might see in a comic book :)

Woohoo! Thank you. I actually kinda agree, which like I mentioned... is rare! It's a weird kind of Imposter Syndrome where when I look at my own stuff and know that I did it, I'm very hard pressed to see it as professional. But as I push myself to do more finished work... I'm starting to allow myself to see some hints of good stuff! Thanks so much for checking it out and encouraging.


What a sweet comment. I love it :).

And I'll give more encouragement when you post more ^^.

I love the troll! It has a great look heheh!
burly but daring!
but you say you do not know very well about color, but it's a great job and if you practice you will improve much more! I really like your comics @bryan-imhoff!


Thank you! I will certainly keep practicing, but I am very happy to be off to a good start!

I love the amount of thought you put behind each scene and character and aspect. I think this'll separate you from the rest (in a good way :P).

Also, a mix of Shaun of the Dead and Lord of the Rings would technically be Dead Alive. Duh! :P In all seriousness though, it sounds crazy dope!


I still find myself lacking in thoughtful prep, but thank you! Guys like @midlet just blow me away in the preparation and concept work going into ideas.

I am... I am mad, bro.... The troll has won

hahahahaha i love his shoulder tattoo.
@tetsuo check this out: he uses 3d models in clip studio to pre visualize models. i feel like we've talked about this before.

Wow was great the digital work you've done! I love the troll especially the tattoo of his arm, basically represents what troll is hahaha

A legendary gut! Awesome!

The key The selection of comic colors has an interesting meaning to look at. according to the nature of the character you give the color that has the characteristics / characteristics that support but for shy comic characters, very unsuitable given the red color that has a hard nature.

wow! May you will be interested in a new competition?