When this page is blank, it can feel like the hardest thing in the world to get started. But once started, you don’t want to stop until it’s done. Except for hash browns and coffee. I mean, we have to live, amiright?
Death is back, helping the hopeless. These are the pencil roughs for a new comic, drawn on plain old printer paper, with my comic grid printed for reference.
Please shut up. Please shut up. Please shut up.
Also – trying out a new brush tonight, a Raphael 8404 #1. I was looking for a Winsor & Newton Series 7 #2, but my local shop didn’t have any Series 7 at all. I heard good things about the Raphaels, and I took a chance that the #1 is similar in size to the W&N #2. It’s a nice brush – it hold lots of ink, and also creates nice dry brush lines, which I really like.
My lovely tool mess! Deleter ink is terrific. Series 7 brush from Winsor & Newton (#1) is dependable, especially when kept clean between uses (see brush cleaner). TWSBI Eco medium nib fountain pen for lettering, filled with Platinum Carbon black ink (it doesn’t like the eraser, so lettering is done with blue pencil). Not shown is a small set of Koh-I-Noor Rapidographs I love for consistent lines (panels, for example).
Experimenting with stamps and sponges of late, and it looks like I need some clean water. 🙂
Oh, and that green tape is the worst. Do not recommend. I have to locate the last brand I used, whatever it was, it was much better with ink.
Time for a Robot retrospective!
In 2003 I took a crack at creating a web comic strip. The result of that effort was The Good Little Robot. It was the adventures of a robot stranded on Earth, struggling to make sense of this planet, and the people who live on it. It was met with a resounding meh from the internet at large. I ended it in 2006. Here is the first strip made using Adobe Illustrator, a couple custom brushes and a drawing tablet of some kind. Could be worse – I mean, that third panel is pretty great.
Bored and creatively stagnant in 2016, I decided comics that hardly anyone reads aren’t going to up and make them selves. So, after experimenting with a couple of crows comics, I dug Robot out of the dustbin. I mean, I like this guy. He’s smart, and free. A bit insensitive and reckless maybe, but we all have flaws. I had moved on to Clip Studio at this point. I don’t really like that app anymore, but the brush engine is really great, if you like that sort of thing.
By 2021, Robot has become exponentially more expressive, adventurous, and weird (but not weird enough). I’m creating with ink and paper now, which is equal parts harder, and more creatively satisfying. Your mileage may vary, you should create with whatever makes you happy.
So that ends Robot Through the Years! Now go make something of your own!
I was thinking recently about how much my drawings have changed since I started making Survival Anxiety. This is the first crows comic I drew in 2016.
And this is the most recent.
What a difference 5 years makes! I was using Clip Studio in 2016 for all of my drawings. At the end of 2019 I started using paper and ink. Those are technical details, but it has had a stylistic affect. I’ve been evolving and experimenting with those traditional tools more and more, and I really like where it’s going. I like drawing digitally, but I love the traditional tools so much more.
My drawing board today. I shook a bottle of ink with a loose lid, and the masking tape isn’t holding up it’s end of the arrangement, but still, this is a good mess. 🙂
Comic work in progress, page one of two. Brush, some sponge, and a bit of black Lumocolor pencil I’m going to regret applying before a proper clean up.
I’ve been trying some different paper recently, and was reminded that one of the goals of this comic was to experiment. It’s a flexible goal. What does experiment mean? Mostly it was to place curiosity over visual consistency. To not be anchored by past choices.
I’ve been soft on that goal since I started, and this past year with moving the comic to traditional media, I mostly just wanted to make more comics. I wanted to get comfortable with ink and paper, so I stuck to what little I already knew. Although I did experiment a bit with water-colour, before ditching colour entirely, speech bubble shape, panel layout (but not aggressively, not impressively), and even character design.
The recent paper thing has made me interested in creating textures and shapes with tools other than a brush. I suppose it’s an extension of illustrating in black and white. It’s certainly an extension of feeling that it all looks so ordinary. So uniform.
I gotta go make a mess now. Ta.
Working on this comic is making me reconsider my paper size. I need to start spreading these things out over two 11×14 pages, or move up to 14×17, or even more ludicrous, two 14×17 pages.
I’m not sure what my hangup is, but I’ll have to decide before I start the next comic because my current situation is too cramped.