I'd just like to kick off a discussion with a problem I'm having regarding drawing at smaller scales.
I've been, like I imagine many beginner artists do, mostly drawing characters at reasonably large scales, in a pinup style so far. I can render a nice set of lips, I feel I've got eyes nailed, and I understand all the elements of the nose, etc etc.
Then I grab a script, with the intention of getting my teeth into something sequential and 'real', and find myself having to render multiple characters at sizes no more than 10mm across (at least in terms of the head). So the problem I'm suddenly having (and one that I can't find much discussion around, and something none of the books seem to mention) is rendering characters (specifically faces) using much less information than you normally would for a splash page or pinup.
I've studied all my favourite artists for direction, enlarging the pages to more or less the size that the original drawings would be, and for the life of me I'm struggling to see what it is they're magically doing to make a couple of lines and a couple of dots, look like a face at all, much less the face of a specific character. The eyes especially seem like a dark art. Zoomed in, they look like abstract blobs of darkness with no particular intent or reasoning, then you zoom out, add inks and colour, and they seem to magically take form.
I'd be interested if anyone had any particular advice as to how to improve on this theme of drawing at sequential scales, or any general discussion around the theme. (I anticipate a lot of 'put in more volume' replies, which may be all that's required, but I was hoping to maybe get a bit more discussion around this, even if there's no 'magic bullet' way of approaching the problem).
Keep in mind that, at least for modern comics, a lot of it is done on computer formats. You can't make the completed comics look the same when they're the size of the original comics, because at least before the coloring process the images have been scanned into digital formats, with resolution measured by pixels rather than inches. If you ink and/or color your work digitally, you have much more freedom regarding the size at which you want to work.
If you're still going to do all the pencilling and inking by hand, it's going to be tougher, but you can accept that objects have less detail as they fade off into the distance. That's just the way the human eye works, and while there's plenty you can do to give details (such as thinner pencil leads/inking points), it's inevitable that the backdrops will be a bit less in focus.
The artist Tim Sale has an interesting approach to this, often drawing only the shadows cast by the nose instead of the nose. Neil mailed it though- the smaller or further away something is, the less detail you are contractually obligated to draw. Blurring effects can also be done well- so you can draw something in the ballpark and fuzz it out digitally, or even by hand.