I am starting on my next dream comic strip, it involves a duel with two 17th century gentlemen in an attic. I am trying to keep the original drawings together in a Moleskine (A5) sketchbook to keep this one a bit more focused. The last bit ‘Die at Midnight: the hunt’ sprawled on for months and lost a bit of it’s mojo. This one will be more of a short, vicious jab to the shoulder.
P.S. Since I last wrote a few jobs and Easter (which I had totally forgotten about) have come my way, so the time I thought I had to do the dream comic has been allocated to planning… and eating chocolate. The working in a Moleskine thing kind of evaporated too, I find working on A4 paper is a lot easier to scan and with no centre stitching to contend with either. I am thinking of working direct with an Artline Calligraphic 2.0 Pen as used in the image above. I used to use these chisel tip pens all the time, I used them for diary comics and for the line work for the large-scale street banners I did a few years back. They have a lovely line which can be used thick and thin and the ink quality is a very satisfying waterproof matt black. I loved the pen but I found with constant use the barrel of the pen was wearing a dent into the side my middle finger, so reluctantly I stopped using them… however. I found that Cult Pens now stock an Ergo version, with a black barrel. I have a box on order, they can’t be any worse than their white barrelled finger boring counterparts.
Saturday, 31 March 2012
Thursday, 29 March 2012
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Friday, 23 March 2012
Went out with Helen for another hours drawing this afternoon. Soon discovered after arriving at fisherman platform 14, that I had left my sketchbook at home with a bunch of stuff I had taken out of my bag from an earlier meeting. Luckily I did have an A6 diary with me which I enjoyed using and I think, went into making a half decent sketch for once.
Thursday, 22 March 2012
It’s true the what they say on the radio, Spring is here. Spent another hour outside with Helen by a bit of disused Barnsley Canal as she sketched her way along the fishermen platforms. Although the sun was out it did get cold in the shade. Sitting drawing does not generate enough body heat no matter how well wrapped up you are. Again as yesterday, I felt like my drawing was not up to scratch, so moved around taking photographs. I made a comment yesterday about Photographers not spending as much time in front of their subject as a drawer, this is of course a huge generalisation. Photographers can spend lots of time in front of their subject, waiting for the right light or for the right event and so create a memory of place and time.
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Outside with Helen who has been drawing and painting intensively by part of Barnsley canal the past month, creating a concertina sketchbook record of the canal in her painterly style. This is my first outside 'sketch' since the autumn, having kept warm inside with drawing from my imagination. To be honest with you, the photographs are much better than my clumsy drawing and I hate that I can't get a decent likeness of the subject and the scene. I always maintained it was the physical act of standing in front of something drawing for half an hour, that had the edge over fancy 'snap and move on' photography. I still think that my memory and experience of the moment is enhanced by drawing, it's just the end result feels weak at the moment. Product over process? Maybe I should just get over it and do another bad drawing and another until one day, the drawing works better than a photograph.
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
I had to do a quick amendment to a strip I'm working on today. For the life of me I couldn't get the angle of the scene I had in my head, from the writers notes, down on paper. I was getting frustrated from standing still. Normally I would just sweat it out until I hit the right scene with scribbles on sheets of paper. With the deadline being set for today I wanted to employ something a bit quicker than luck and serendipity. I have seen this process done elsewhere, using Photoshop to make grids and draw in vanishing lines. Over the top of that I drew characters on separate layers to position them for the scene. At one point I thought of downloading Google SketchUp and creating a little 3D scene with that, but with that deadline looming thought better of it.
Now I have the scene set I can print it off and 'light-box' it to look like the rest of the strip which has been drawn in pencil with Photoshop colour over the top. This may seem a long winded way of getting something small done but sometimes the act of moving forward can overcome a standing still frustration.
Sunday, 11 March 2012
Jean Giraud aka Moebius died yesterday morning. His inspiration on my work started in my teens and early twenties. I was sending samples of bad comic strip art to all the big publishing companies and all the small companies’ in-between and was rejected universally by all. I think I know why, because they sensed I was trying too hard to draw , that there was something false in what I presented to them. I love comics; never been able to concentrate on a novel or even a short story for long, so comics was where I got my stories from. There was television but at that time TV was a family activity. Comics felt like they were mine. My teenage world, my secret and my little bit of ‘I know something you doesn’t’.
Monday, 5 March 2012
I have been meaning to try this. Using dual monitors, one in a portrait position (better proportioned for comic strip pages) while I letter a page. I persevere but cannot lose the sensation of rubbing my head and patting my belly. And I am still zooming into areas which defeats the reason of the portrait monitor.
Pencil panel from strip
Above are some of the stages I have been going through. Using a light box to trace off compositions for panels. These composition panels are not meant to be great drawings but a way of working out how to fit elements into a panel. I have found using quite a thick pen (2mm) helps in keeping the ‘bare essentials’ in and the ‘fiddling’ out.The pencil drawing on the right is also done on a light box, which helps keep directness in the drawing. The character design on the left is a pencil drawing with a colour Layer Multiplied over the top in Photoshop.