I’ve gone back and added a few pages to the final chapter of Lunatic,… a chance to do more spattering!
The globe-y thing in the middle is supposed to be casting light, so I want to shade the character’s clothing and face using ink-spatter. I mask off the areas that will NOT be shaded, using lots of little pieces of blue tape (and a piece of paper to block off the rest of the page):
Then pull out the old toothbrush-dipped-in-black ink and flick it at the paper a bunch of times:Continue reading →
For the last pages of this, the last chapter, I’m doing toothbrush ink spatter effects, for an alien/spacecraft that shows up (spoiler, sorry). Here are some process shots:
First the basic black ink on bristol. drawing, as the alien pulls the character toward the spacecraft:
Next I cut masks or stencils out of paper, and taped them over the page in the configuration I desired, to get the spatter effect around the alien & craft:
Then I dipped a toothbrush in white Kuratake ink, and (wearing surgical gloves), flick the ink over the paper:
Peel away the paper, and it looks like this:
(OH I didn’t document the process of getting that black spatter around the opening in the space-globe-thing, but it was about the same).
Getting very fussy now: I want to get that white “glow” around those objects, but I also don’t want the edge of the spatter to be too sharp, so I replace the paper mask, but peel back the tape for a slightly larger spatter area…
And repeat, another light dusting of spatter:
One last thing though. I wasn’t happy with the figure of the character, so I decided to redraw, first brushing black ink over:
Then re-draw it in white ink:
All done! Here’s a proper scan:
For this chapter, since I’m changing media or style in each chapter, I decided to try black, white and gray acrylic paint. After trying some different kinds of paper I settled on Borden & Riley vellum film as the best support.
Here are some process steps for Chapter 8, page 4
First, a rough sketch with watery, black acrylic. The borders are marked off with blue tape, so I don’t have to have a pencil line in the image.
One great feature of working in acrylics is the ability to paint over and make changes. I decided the figure of the woman was too tall in the sketch, making the doorway seem not as large as I wanted. So as I added detail gradually to the overall picture, I was able to paint over the figure in white, and re-draw at a better scale:
Gradually building up tone and texture:
The final image. Lots of little adjustments to tone and texture, and thanks to the flexibility of acrylics I was able to mess around a lot with the positioning of the front figure carrying the piece of sheet metal, until i was happy with it:
And page 5. She gets to work. I wanted to convey strength, like the WPA murals of Diego Rivera, Thomas Hart Benton, etc.
Page 6. The first thumbnail (in acrylics), and a more detailed sketch in pencil and pen (with a revised composition):
Page 6, final. Starting with a loose sketch and adding layers of paint, pushing and pulling the contrasts until I think it’s right:
The Comics Journal has published my article on artist Ibrahim Njoya, who lived and worked in Cameroon during the first half of the 20th Century. Historical context, formal analysis, and most of all, images of Njoya’s beautiful work, like this:
With my one-page, transitional chapter 6 out of the way, I can move on to the next sequence. I want to get away from the cinematic, storyboard approach that I’ve been getting more and more into, pulled by the inexorable attraction of the filmic model. In other words, get as much information into a single image as possible.
At the Boston Comics Roundtable meeting on Jan 10, I doodled these sketches. Looks like a single comics page, but ideas for two pages of Chapter 7:
Here is the finished spread, based more or less on those sketches:
I have been away from the project since the summer (it’s now January), for one or another reason. Getting back to something after a while always presents its challenges.
Luckily, I left off at the end of a chapter, so I can start somewhat fresh, and in this case “Chapter 6” is a transition… actually a single-page, single-image chapter, so not a bad way to ease back into the process (and to drawing in general).
Basically, it’s a graduation “photo,” to mark the end of her “youth” and into the next phase of the story. I looked at some circa 1900 graduation pictures for reference:
After the last chapter ballooned to 34 pages, I decided to compress my story-telling for a while. The next section is transitional, showing the character’s college career, as she knuckles down and studies hard. I knew that it would be showing her studying long and hard in the library, and I decided it to do it in only 3 images, a progression taking place over a few hours. I chose to draw the same scene 3 times, from the same vantage point, a bird’s eye view of the library, with the character far below, close to the center of the image. The changing positions of the characters, and the changing light, tells the story. I have some ideas how I will add tones/shading, sticking to my principle of changing techniques or materials in each chapter.
Some pencil sketches: