The distinguished Charles Apple wrote a very kind post over on his blog that includes my latest illustrative effort for The SJ Merc, Oak Trib, CCTimes and all those other SF Bay Area papers I work for.
I intended to write a longer post focusing on the drawing process – roughs, refinement, coloring, all that – but I haven't had the time. And the forecast for today and tomorrow is busy, busy, busy. I may not get to it for weeks!
So, rather than let the fizz fade entirely before posting the picture, I offer it now with the half-hearted promise of a mildly interesting and chatty update featuring a slew of scribbly, unfinished, unrefined drawings. Yeah! Can hardly wait!
Props Of Unusual Size to Mike Swift for the story and to Alex Fong for art direction, critical input and making sense of it all. As always, the people I work with make me feel like I get to do the easy part.
Started this drawing a month or so ago. I set it aside, unfinished. Forgot about it.
Found it this morn. I tidied up the background, started to try to fix the bike, but decided it wasn't worth it. Wrote a couple of balloons and dropped them in there to make it look there's more going on than there is.
So, here you go.
It means nothing.
Drawn in Photoshop.
The font is called Joe Kubert, based on the hand-lettering of the great cartoonist. He's definitely one of my top-five all-time favorites and if I can't draw as well as he can then I'm at least going to steal his wonderful lettering.
I bought the font from Comicraft. Highly recommended.
I had a struggle at the beginning when trying to create a funnel in Illustrator using the 3D tools. That didn't go well. I never came close to making an image that looked like a funnel. I've got deformed bowling pins, but no funnel. So, I abandoned the vector approach for the comfort of simple photoshop cartooning.
And the lady originally looked like this. Not a very appealing character.
And here is how it looked in the paper. The color printed nicely!
I gave it a shot, but I'm not very happy with this one.
The story hook is fabulous and I wish I had done better with it. It's not the the usual "how to protect your child from bullies" story, but "what if your kid is the rotten one?"
(It sounds like a horrible revelation, bringing with it feelings that you've failed to instill a basic sense of humanity in your offspring. But I'm a bit of a wimp, so I'm probably secretly worried that my kid might knock me around if I didn't raise it in a properly wimpy fashion.)
Now, with my hindsight goggles firmly in place, it looks like my intentions were sound. It's an effective idea -- the bully-child right there, threatening the reader -- but I don't think the execution is appealing. I envisioned an illustration in the style of Jon Whitcomb or Al Parker, but they used models, drew like the gods and were brilliant. I tried to fake it, inventing the characters and then tightening them up by looking at bad reference after the fact; I don't quite have the chops to pull that off. If I had gone a bit more cartoony -- but with a more edge or bite than my usual cute newspaper stylings -- this drawing might have fared better in my self-review.
When I saw it in print, the unconventional, limited palette didn't bug me as much as I feared it would, but it came out darker than I hoped. Newsprint is awful for subtle tones, which is why I usually avoid a delicate approach, particularly with duller colors.
I suppose, every once in a while, I need to do something like this as a reminder not to do something like this.
Here is how it looked on the page, and I think the layout is wonderful. Very nicely assembled and it makes the image look better than it does on it's own. For years, page designer Jennifer Schaefer has taken my efforts and gifted them with great designs to live in; she always helps me look like a real newspaper artist, particularly when I have doubts about that.