Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sketching Resident Evil

-By Mike Butkus

This is a quick step by step on how I went about doing one of the concept sketches for the Resident Evil: Afterlife movie poster one sheet. This eventually became one of the final teasers. After I read the script or creative brief, I work with the Art Directors to come up with some concepts. Here I start off with what I hope is a dynamic composition.

Once the thumbnail is approved, I start the final sketch on a 12’’ x 14’’ sheet of Duralene using a black Prismacolor pencil and a black Verithin. One of the key factors to getting smooth and creamy lines is to keep ten to fifteen sheets of Duralene underneath. As for erasing, I use a simple number 2 pencil eraser since it doesn’t destroy the surface of the Duralene. In this stage I start to define the sketch, focusing on the energy and the action.

Sometimes the Art Directors want to see the drawing fairly flushed out (time permitting), so this is what I would show them. Here the drawing is fairly resolved. Now it’s just a matter of adding details and values. Remember this will be considered a rough sketch, not a finished drawing.

For this last stage, you can see how the line quality adds to the energy and motion which is sometimes really difficult to achieve through photography. The best thing about this piece is the immediate read. I stick to light, medium and dark values to keep the image graphic and also for the sake of production time.

For a project like this, I normally do anywhere from 20 to 40 sketches a week, depending on the complexity.


  1. "20 to 40 sketches a week" I need to draw more. Amazing stuff Mike !

    1. I agree with that. We need to draw more. :)

      And great post..thanks for the insights, Mike

  2. Great first post Mike, all thos thumbnails really hammer home the idea of pushing yourself when putting together an idea!! I've never heard of Duralene, is it similar to vellum? It looks to have a very smooth surface.

    I certainly look forward to more posts from you.

  3. Hi Mike and welcome.

    Do you mean that you make 20-40 sketches for this poster alone? Or are they more like concepet drawings for the whole movie? It just sounds like an enormous amount of work....but hey, thums up!!!

    1. I was wondering the same thing. I can't imagine doing that many drawings, and waiting for them to choose one. i guess if nothing else, it's great practice!

  4. OMG!!! That's AMAZING! *---*
    Have you every piece in HQ!? I would like so much to show it to the fans!! *--*

  5. Mike Butkus Introduction to Character Design: Know Your Basics." If you enroll with the link below, you'll also save $10 on your first class!


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