Post Stumptown Convention

What i brought consisted of the Wyoming Nights work below (pencils and shrunk digital finishes) as well as four pin ups.  I spent most of my time in lectures, but happened to show the work to a couple of people.  This is what they said.

Matt Wagner told me that i should make my containing lines bolder and show more variation in line thickness as it pertains to depth.   I try to do that.  My efforts to digitally ink (and familiarize myself with software) are slowing my progress in the inking area.  When i am able to zoom in and out I tend to lose track of the piece as a whole.  It’s time to get out my brush and crow quills.

on page 4 of Wyoming Nights MW mentioned that the black road is where his eye wants to go.  I said i wanted his eye to go there to show the bus from the previous page.  He responded that the road looks like it’s closer or in front of the figure in the foreground (because of my too thin line work).  i think that my solution is going to be to turn that framing black into a dark grey.

I inferred from what he said that this line variation problem is more evident in the digitally inked work than in my pencils.  I need to return to traditional inking for a while, and try to use it to improve my digital efforts.

Randy Emberlin (primarily an inker) told me that my work lacked weight because it doesn’t have solid blacks.  (I think he meant volume.)  He said i need to work with strong shadow to define form.  I am aware of this deficiency, but find it difficult to integrate.  Michael Golden mentioned the same thing a while back.  My process steers me towards a clear line approach.  I’m aware of the volume and form i want to show, but leave it open to do in color.  I do render volume when i use charcoal.  They’re right, but it is a stumbling block for me.  My awareness of modern computer coloring lingers strongly in my mind when i am drawing.  The glory days of the “old school” inker were in reaction to crappy paper and reproduction as well as a four color process.  The color was flat, and creating volume was the inker’s job.

Somewhere along the way, i turned my back on rendering.  For me a line is an edge or a wrinkle or a scratch.  I try not to make a line that is just a line.  If the illusion that my mess of lines instill could be given without those concrete lines to support it, i would let the lines fade into nothing.  I really don’t like cross hatching. I like it better in a non black and white medium.

I fall somewhere in between the clear line style and realism because i feel that there is an economy of symbol and imagery in comics storytelling.  During the Image boom in the 90’s  I used to cross hatch and feather and stipple and curved hatch all the time, but today if i use those rendering techniques i do it sparingly.  I’m now stuck with this aversion towards it. This need to provide volume in the symbols i use to tell the story doesn’t mesh very well with me. . . .

These are just a few examples of the hurdles that start to creep into an artists mind. I hope that sharing some of my own mental hangups and issues and process can be appreciated by other artists for what they are.

The long flowing line on the girl’s right side for instance has to be drawn in the pencils, but i had intended the pool to be reflecting a glowing soft light upwards when i drew it.  I like how i can take that line out or emphasize that edge by reversing the technique used to create it in photoshop.  This tendency to use thin lines runs counter to the prevailing “use bold containing lines”.

Some Inks w/out Words

I was working on the text  for these pages during class last week (which is constantly changing by the way). I’ve got the pages in a zine format printed out for tomorrow. Unfortunately what you will be getting is an earlier revision, so I apologize for the typos in advance!

And here is a page you might not have seen…

These pages were inked with combination of g nib, #7 brush, and copic multiliner pens.