I’m working on some illustrated prose at the moment, and wanted to make sure I had a good handle on the look I wanted for the illustrations before I started, since it’s a slightly different beast than comics.
So I had the bright idea to do a sketch, and then ink it with three slightly different media approaches, to get a real comparison. I’m…not sure I recommend this. Inking the same thing three times is kinda boring (who knew!).
But it might be of interest to people other than me, so here we go!
Sketch (printed in cyan for each of the inks):
Just ink and white!
Ink and wash (should’ve blended to soften it a bit):
Ink and charcoal:
So there we go! The pure ink is closest to the feel I want for this, but while overall the ink and charcoal feels like a bit too much texture to me, I love the texture in the large black areas, so I’ll probably bring a bit of that in!
Lately I’ve been thinking about quality. Or rather, quality as it sits in relation to speed, production realities, and reader perception.
I’m thinking about it now in particular for a few reasons.
Firstly, I’m currently working on the early issues of my first indie monthly comic, with all the attendant scheduling and process adjustments, and financial concerns, that entails.
Secondly, while in this frame of mind, I’ve been reading a few indie monthlies that have been huge successes. Titles that are amazing, popular, and which I have great respect for, so I hope this doesn’t read as sour grapes or anything. But as I’ve been reading, I’ve found myself caught up frequently on art niggles. Small things, but things I can’t help but notice – backgrounds or limbs that look sloppy rather than sketchy, copy-pasted panels where it’s clearly for time rather than a humorous or uncanny repetitive effect. So on and so forth. Part of me feels it’s snotty of me to let them bother me. But they do take me out of the story, and more importantly they relate to all the things about quality and schedules and readers that I’m thinking about right now. Because these are huge hits. Readers are obviously not as bothered by these things as I am. And given that, do they matter?
I wrote most of this post part-way into the residency, but ran into some image issues, so saved it to do later. Later has ended up being after I got back the the UK, but hey! Read on for more, including pics of thumbnails, roughs, and a glimpse at the beginning of some final pages!
Thought I’d start posting a few thoughts here and there on my process, and things I’m learning.
Recently I’ve had some very time-consuming colour work to do, and have found myself struggling with it more than pretty much any art thing I can remember in the last couple of years. It felt like slogging through waist-high mud somehow. It was a bit of a different style to usual, so I think part of was that. And part of it was, certainly, that I find computer work more draining than manual work anyway.
But part of it, I realized, was that it was taking less of my focus than writing and drawing, and that not-quite-occupied part of my brain was finding it tedious. I can’t always have podcasts or audiobooks on when I’m working, as sometimes it gets distracting, because the work I’m doing just needs that focus. But this, I realized, wasn’t that kind of work.
I guess this was something I already knew – I have listened to podcasts, etc, at times when working, and it’s helped. And I think knitting or crochet are good relaxers because they take little focus – but just enough that I can’t generally be thinking about all sorts of work stuff while doing them. So I’ve just decided to be a bit more intentional about this, putting on something to occupy that bored, complaining part of my mind when I’m slogging through things. I’ve got some new audiobooks, and now have many, many hours of A Song of Ice and Fire ahead of me (those monsters are about 35 hours a book!)
We’ll see if it helps long-term! What I am learning is that honing one’s process is a life-long activity. Perhaps I’ll be able to post later this year and tell you how this particular aspect is going.