Sunday, 1 March 2009

How Many Stages for Drawing Pages?

IF I WANTED to go poetic on purpose... could'n have done it like this... 'Stage'-'Page', get it..?


Okay, drawing stages... or rather gradual steps. I am just elaborating upon my yesterday's example of layered approach to creating a single image - a cover 'on spec' which was intended to be a 'Tomb Raider' parody by writer/layout man John Gallagher & Yours Truly last year's long hot summer. It never happened due to the several reasons, one of them being the dissapearing act every now and then by a publisher who, otherwise, managed to be on time with payments for done things and when he decided to be available. John got involved with other artistic endeavours and me -- with drawing too many different things here'n'there and playing bass with too many different people in various bands.

The done thing I am discussing now is an 18 pages long wordless [porn] epic called OCTOBOOBS which I did on my own, as writer, pencier, inker and colourist. It's the sick story with two humans of opposite sex passionatelly interacting mostly UNDERWATER [hence wordlessness] and having a gigantic octopus pitch-in for an additional 'fun'.

I'm telling you - sick.

Anyway, the story was done, published, paid and life took the publisher and me into different directions. John and I are still in [in]frequent contact.

To avoid eventual problems with taste, offensiveness of the shown imagery etc. I'll trust my own judgement and present only the visuals staying within the boundaries of what I consider 'tasteful'.

Therefore, Page Seven -- the first one actually done, which got me the OCTOBOOBS gig. When I started drawing it, I only knew the quirky title and the fact that it's going to be without any dialogues or captions and that most of the action happens under the sea. Nothing else. The aforementioned publisher wanted a plausible and 'credible' explanation for the humongous breast[s] enlargement of the heroine and I knew that somehow I'll need ... well, an octopus to get involved, nasty and responsible for the fershlugginer.

I didn't know that Page Seven is going to be seventh in a row. It was just 'an audition page' to show what I can do - and how. Everything happening before and after was somehow built around the situation depicted on this slice of visual narrative.

So - my trusty blue lead pencil in hand - I did the rough: no human male in sight [yet], just the heroine still with the same hoo-hoos dimensions struggling and losing her blade whilst an evil octopus takes advantage in his natural wet habitat...

And that was it. Just that. A montage of an underwater beast getting an upper tentacle, so to speak.

My next stage was mechanical 0.7 Pentel pencil rendering with HB lead [the first one I got a hold of in the messy clutter of my then-working table in London UK]; I tightened the blue breakdowns adding details and then it hit me: COPIC MARKERS..! Got several of warm grey ones in my drawer, had some storyboarding experience from before so what the hell..? Let's!

Before grabbing several FABER CASTELL [or were they PILOTS..? PENTELS..?] markers, I've added warm greys for the background, creating the visual style for the other UNDERWATER scenes to follow. Then, I inked [markered..?] tightly everything else, trying my best not to imitate any admired artists - especially not Frank Cho.

When the black lines went dry, I used the kneaded eraser to... well, erase the graphite under the inked lines. Then I scanned the page, used the best of my [then meagre] knowledge of PhotoShop colouring and the page turned as it is.

All the described stages were duly scanned and saved, probably because I sensed that the moment might arrive for me to show-off.

Each time I feel that I am improving... maybe in milimetres, not in kilometres as I hoped I could have done in my younger years... but still I manage not to remain on the same level as before.

Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again - maybe even in the funny papers!


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