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Thread: "Kirby Krackle" Tutorial

  1. #1
    [SUPPORTER] Bruce Lee's Avatar
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    "Kirby Krackle" Tutorial

    I prepared this little tutorial for a fellow over on Critical Mass who's had difficulty grasping how to construct the "Kirby crackle" (also known as "Kirby dots"). I think it might be of benefit to some of you here also. I can't recall the subject coming up here before, so here goes--

    The "Kirby dots" or "crackles" are tough to do--especially if you haven't tried to do them before, or aren't overly familiar with Jack Kirby's work. A lot of comic artists use the "Kirby dots" when conveying massive amounts of energy, but saddly, only a handful seem to really understand the proper way to do it.

    I prepared this quick tutorial for you in hopes it would shead some light on the subject:


    The first thing I did was to decide where my blast radius would be. In light pencil (in red here, for your convenience) I doodled in the blast radius around the flying vehicle.

    The actual "Kirby dots" should take place around the actual projected rays of the blast (indeed it should frame your blast), so with that in mind, the next thing to do is to start adding in the largest "dots." Here, I've started from at the outer most corners of the panel. Notice that the larger "dots" are generally found at the panel's edge. As I move in towards the center of the blast, I make the "dots" slightly smaller. The smallest "dots" are located near the blast impact.

    What makes the "Kirby dots" work is not the dots themselves, but the NEGATIVE SPACE around the dots. Notice how the negative space between the dots should look like lightning or energy. Well, that's the effect that is desired, and it's the entire point of adding in all those "dots". The "dots" make the "crackle" of energy.

    One thing to remember when doing the "Kirby crackle" is that you want the effect to look somewhat random and natural--certainly not mechanical--so throw in the occasional large "dot" cluster near the blast radius and have several dots overlapping here and there from time to time.

    I hope this sheads some light on how to approach the "Kirby crackle."



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  2. #2
    lone drifter KrisDiaz's Avatar
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    thats some old school stuff....nowadays people just photshop effects in.....sad when you think about it.
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  3. #3
    Make it happen. jeremy dale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KrisDiaz View Post
    thats some old school stuff....nowadays people just photshop effects in.....sad when you think about it.
    And yet it NEVER looks as good when done that way.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy dale View Post
    And yet it NEVER looks as good when done that way.
    There's always a life to something done by hand that is extremely difficult to capture via a computer program function.

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    thanks for this tut i used its info on my rushed draw off. First time i used the Kirby Krackle.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by malachimanson View Post
    thanks for this tut i used its info on my rushed draw off. First time i used the Kirby Krackle.
    Glad I could be of some help.

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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Lee View Post
    Glad I could be of some help.

    Loston
    Yeah the "Kirby crackle" is a classic. Great post.

  8. #8
    I'm old school and often use the kirby krackle but now that I see the theory behind it I think it will help me to give the effect some real power, thanks for the tut.

  9. #9
    [SUPPORTER] Bruce Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dezz View Post
    I'm old school and often use the kirby krackle but now that I see the theory behind it I think it will help me to give the effect some real power, thanks for the tut.
    Your welcome, dezz. Happy drawing.

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  10. #10
    I really liked this tutorial. I've been thinking about how to add some kirby to my work. I'm gonna use it

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