Don’t Worry, I’ve Got Yer Back

The Grim Reaper pointing at you saying don't worry, I've got yer back.

Can you trust the Grim Reaper?

Maybe not behind you. Pro life tip, have Death walk up front.

Fine. Tell me how to draw the Grim Reaper.

  1. Start with a sketch. I use blue pencil line, even when working digitally. You might say “But Ryan, blue line is an old school technique for scanning cleaner line art, and is not necessary for digital art.” Too which I’d reply “Yes, but blue is also easy to see over/under reference images, or under digitally inked lines.” I also set the type in blue when I’m using it. Also, use what you want, I don’t care.
  2. Find reference images. The sketch worked out composition and broadly what props the illustration needs. I used 4 reference images: skull, monk robes, skeleton hand, and a scythe.
  3. Ink it! I draw the entire image in black first. If it works in black, it’ll work in colour. Don’t forget to vary line weights for visual interest.
  4. Colour it! For something like this, which has that comic pop art vibe, I use layer overlays with colour in them. It’s easy to swap out colours to try different combos.
  5. Share it with the world and be somewhat disappointed nobody really cares. I mean, there are much more important things going on, so no big deal.

This comic art was illustrated in Procreate, using an iPad Pro. The type is based on Futura, the deathliest of the geometric typefaces. It’s true, ask around.

What else is there?

I’m glad you asked! You can watch me draw the Grim Reaper┬áin a fun time lapse video on Youtube.

And if you really like this drawing, like so, so much, you can get the Grim Reaper on a t-shirt! It would look really good on you, for sure.

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