And it's August.
Dear readers, I have been entirely delinquent with my summer updates, but the comic class has kept me so busy that there has been time for little else. Excuses, excuses... I know. But to give you an idea, since class last Tuesday, I worked seven days this past week, putting in 12 hours on Wednesday, 10 on Thursday, 6 on Friday, 6 on Saturday, 8 on Sunday, and - for the final push - 12+ yesterday.
And now it's over.
For the final critique today, we had to have our projects, not only finished, but printed and bound into mini-comics. I'm not even going to go into the craziness that was yesterday, which involved Milton Glaser, not one but two defunct Staples, two small copy shops (one closed, one nearly closed), $8 worth of 11x17 paper that I couldn't even use, and finally a heroic rescue by my dear roommate's wonderful little (albeit oddly calibrated) printer. But as I said, it's over, and as such, I figured time for a long overdue post. (I'm giving you fair warning, this is a long post, but it is image-heavy... so consider yourselves thusly prepared...)
In my last post, I talked a bit about process and page 1 (now 3) of my comic, and I have the final version of that page to show you. When we last left off, I talked about inking and reworking my style to better fit the story. To recap... I redid my first page entirely. The first inking looked something like this:
And then the entire page was revised to better advance the story. The sketch for the revised page:
And... drum roll pleeeeease... the final inked version of this page:
Clearly I didn't just go from straight pencils to 4,209,302,125 inked in bricks. There was definitely a stage of very simple outlines followed by a second stage with some hesitant, very tentative gray hatched lines... One of my greatest weaknesses has always been adding enough darks into a black and white piece - both solid black and darker grey tones. I struggled with this during the course of the class and through the inking process... but Jessica, Tom, and Keith were an amazing help. Each week we brought in photocopies to pass out to our classmates for workshopping. Tom suggested that I take the left over photocopies and use them for experimenting. I took his advice and - for a bunch of the pages - scribbled in loads of ink and pencil, trying to find where best to add spots of dark before ever touching the final piece.
On (actual) page 1, I first started playing just with thicker outlines around some of the faces to try to pop them out of the page. I realized, however, that I wanted a much darker feeling to the piece. A darker outline wasn't going to cut it.
So I took a pencil and scribbled away...
Much better. So with a little bit of courage and a somewhat shaky hand to start out, I grabbed a pen and my good paper...
Another process set... on page four, here's a brief progression from pencils:
To the final page:
I can't say it enough... the class was an unbelievable learning experience, and my drawings improved by leaps and bounds over the past eight weeks. And so I shall leave you with a few more images and a handful of lessons learned:
1. No drawing is precious. Many a panel will be sacrificed to the gods of storytelling (even if it means - very sadly - cutting a choice scene of your main character pole vaulting ninja-style over a bunch of bear traps and another that you might love for no good reason at all, except maybe that it reminds you of an old school Alice in Wonderland illustration)...
If they don't help the story, out they go.
2. Don't be afraid of the dark...
3. Or the grays...