Still trying to get two pages up a week. It would serve the story better to keep things moving instead of falling into the rhythm of a weekly cliffhanger. Mostly it comes down to spending spare moments scratching at the plot and scripting out a few pages at a time. The art side of things is getting faster. Hopefully not too fast that it comes off as sloppy.
The Conjurers Comic Strip on GoComics.com
Here’s a quick shot of page 43 in progress. This entire comic has been an experiment in process. I knew going in that it had to be fast. I’m used to tightening my pencils with a vice grip before inking. For the Conjurers comic, I’m slowly refining the speed approach. After thumbnailing the page I rough it out with blue lead, focusing on shape and placement. It’s hard to shut off the detail side of the brain, but it’s getting easier. After that I go right in with inks. These days, I’m having fun trying different ballpoint pens. Avoiding my brushes and technical pens keeps my from tumbling into the pit of over wrought crosshatching and stippling.
The magic happens when subtle, sloppy watercolors are sloshed on. This has been the hardest lesson. Go lightly into the night with a soaked brush and diluted pigment. Less is more on the first pass. I brush in light shadows, again, focusing on defining shapes and light. After that, I break out a shredded sponge and dabble on some texture with an eye for how hit spotlights the important bits.
After this, it gets tossed into photoshop for finishes and lettering.
Quick peek at some art from page 40 of the webcomic. For this project I have to work fast and small. Usually on letter size paper. And fast. Did I mention fast?
One draw back: after a time, I tend to suffocate my work under those constraints. Panels become flat, emotionless. So, to break out of that, I draw the shots and scenes on larger paper. Let my hand move further, wilder. That lets me work fast and punch in some emotion.
After the shots are drawn, I’ll composite them in photoshop in their letter sized pixel cell.