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Pencilling chapter 5…

…of ‘the smile of the absent cat’ story by Grant Morrison.

Here are a few selected panels:

And in other news:

There was finally enough of break in the weather to go up and take the tarp off the boat!

We’ll see how long it takes the marina to get ‘er in the water, since most everybody is still in the parking lot.

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Photo references…

I’m working on all 8 pages at once for chapter 5 of ‘smile of the absent cat’ so I don’t have anything but scratchy preliminary pencil drawings just yet.

So here are a few photos from the 148 pics I took for reference.

Shelley does a great job at acting out the required poses.

And here I am…

…turns out that portraying Louis Wain, a 65 year old, destitute, insane artist wasn’t much of a stretch.

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the 9 lives of a cat panel…

I thought I’d share the steps it takes me to produce these cat pages using just one panel as an example. Besides, I’m currently going through these steps for chapter 5 so I don’t have any new drawings for the blog.

1: I doodle on Grant’s script that I’ve printed out. Just trying to get general placement of word balloons and characters.

I’ve also doodled on the back of the script to try to envision the layout of the panels for that page.

2: I do all of the lettering in a program called Comic Life and place the balloons, without tails, into their general position in the panel.

3: In a 3D program called SketchUp, I managed to find a ward room that was very close to what I had used in the last chapter. I added some other elements that I needed including the 3D figures. Most of them are the same figure but that doesn’t matter, they’re just there for size and position.

4: I use Shelley as a model (here in my bathrobe) and photograph her from the same angle that I’ve place the characters.

5: I then cut and paste from the photos onto the SketchUp figures and cut and paste cat heads onto everybody from a 3D SketchUp cat. I adjust the word balloons closer to where they’ll finally end up.

6: I print out the layouts full size and trace them using a light box onto the drawing paper adding lighting and shading.

7: Then I ink it.

8: Then I colour it.

9: Then I scan it back into the computer (saved in a file folder called ‘cat scans’, naturally). I adjust the contrast, add highlights and any other special effects I may deem necessary, and the final word balloons.

You may think that this is a ridiculously complicated way to do these pages… and you’d be right.

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Cat Chapter 4 done…

Panel from chapter 4 of Grant Morrison’s ‘the smile of the absent cat’:

And here’s what 8 finished pages look like:

To be able to read ’em though, you’ll have to get the upcoming issue of Heavy Metal. Or wait for the 48 page book, when and if it’s finally done.

I’m starting on chapter 5 and still waiting for the final chapter from Grant.