Posted on

Light me…

Here’s another thing I came across in my Big Clean Up.

Way back in the olden days I had software called “3D Home Architect” running on our pre-Pentium 486 computer. I could design and furnish a room in floor-plan mode, then click on the 3D render button and go for a coffee or go back to my drawing board for awhile as mere tens of minutes later I’d have something that looked like this that I could print out:

The lamp on the pillow and the floor lamp represent the characters. Lamps were easily resizable and positionable making them a great stand-in. The black splotches are from me drawing on back of the paper, on the light table, with a marker, very quickly figuring out what the lighting might be for this scene:

This was used as a guide to for the final renderings:


Posted on

Without a trace…

Here’s a good example of why I continued to use the “tracing paper transfer” technique. (Other than the obvious benefit of being able to… you know… trace stuff.) All of these roughed-in lines and perspective lines and otherwise unwanted lines would have to erased had I done them on the illustration board:

But by working out all that stuff on the tracing paper and then transferring only the lines that I intend to ink, I’m left with a nice, clean, smudge-free image to work on with very little-to-no erasing needed once the inking is done: Which is a very good thing as sometimes erasing would lighten the inks from black to various shades of grey, severely affecting its ability to reproduce properly.


Posted on

Pencil & Ink…

On this page I only did a background on the middle panel. I am pretty sure that Dave TOLD me to leave all that white space. I would very rarely leave a panel blank since it was… you know… my JOB to put in the backgrounds.

All that officially sanctioned empty space would give me the chance to either A) get caught up or B) spend more time on the existing background. Guess which one I chose:

Although, this is one of those instances where I like the pencil version better than the ink:


Posted on

Ghost Girl…

Here’s an example of a rare occurrence where Dave had me change what I’d done on the backgrounds.

In the bottom panel on the left side I put in a figure to balance the composition. Which I also did in the first panel.

(Another rarity: me pencilling and inking people).

I tried to shoe-horn her in there. Apparently I couldn’t decide if she should be facing left or right.

Once the whole page was inked Dave told me that the girl was from a different Fellini film (or something) and that he WANTED an unbalanced frame to emulated/parody artsy-fartsy types of movies.

I almost invoked the “Interior of a Submarine” clause (in which Dave told me that I could do whatever I wanted with the backgrounds) but I was unhappy with the way the girl turned out.

(Usually, when something was a LOT of trouble to make fit, it meant: leave it out.)


In the bottom panel, on the left, you can just make out where I used white-out to cover the figure and then attempt to fill in the background.

(ANOTHER rarity: using white-out and inking on top of it… *yuck*bleck*gag*swoon*)

At least my little figures in the first panel made the cut.

Posted on

Tracing Paper Ink Blot Test…

As seen in last week’s post, here’s an example of why I needed to be able to visualize the entire Sanctuary:

To create the backgrounds, I would outline on tracing paper the panel borders, characters and lettering that Dave had already pencilled and inked on the illustration board.  Then I would work out the perspective and lighting and rough the whole thing in on the reverse side of the tracing paper before flipping it over and transferring it to the art board (as described in the Aug 18 post).

The tracing paper having thus served its purpose would more often than not find its way to the floor next to my drawing board where it would (more often than not) suffer this fate:

I am really FAR too klutzy to have an open container of ink anywhere near me.


Posted on

Seeking Sanctuary

Occasionally I come across something that I do not at all recall doing.

Fer instance…

Some of you will remember the “Sanctuary” from the ‘Latter Days’ story-line in Cerebus:

There came a point where I needed to know what the WHOLE interior might look like in order to work out some of the ‘camera’ angles. So, apparently, I taped together 4 sheets of Bristol and did a very rough layout. Here’s a scan of the main, top part:

…and here’s a close-up pic of it on my drawing board:

…and here’s the whole the thing, taking up almost ALL of my drawing board:

…and, like I said: no recollection at all of doing this.

Who WAS that guy?

Posted on

Studio Sortin’…

I realized that I wasn’t going to get any real work done until I uncluttered my studio.

Spent the past week sorting through everything (forgot to take a picture of the carnage) trying to consolidate and organize all of the artwork, sketches, prelims and tracing paper transfers that I had lying about and tucked away everywhere.

Thought some of it might be of interest to someone and make for good blog filler.

Stuff like this:

A large piece of tracing paper (the contrast on this has been greatly enhanced) image area about 15″ x 20″.

I drew the image in soft pencil on the back of the tracing paper, flipped it over onto the art board that had Dave’s drawing of Cerebus on it. Then went over the entire drawing from the front with a very sharp, hard lead pencil to transfer the graphite from the back onto the art board, giving me a faint rendering which would then need to be tightened up before inking.

So by the time I’d inked it, I’d now drawn it four times. Which is a ridiculously labour intensive way of doing things.

But, once coloured, yields results like this:

Which was used for a wrap-around cover for Following Cerebus #8:

The tracing paper was just a stepping-stone to get to finished product but looking at it now I can’t get over how much work was put into it…

… and it seems that I can’t bear to throw it away.

Thus the clutter.


Posted on

Got Something Done!

Clint at Fiddler’s Green, for whom I’ve done some previous work, asked me to do a couple of small illustrations to accompany an essay on “The Imaginative Effects of Milton’s Mulberry” and Darwin’s ruminations while walking his country path.

Here’s what I came up with:

Is it too soon to go back to doing nothing now?