Multiple projects, multiple styles?
This blog post originally appeared over at my On the Verge site. But since I’m back working on Andrew Jackson in Space and drawing again, I felt like what I discussed has been top-of-mind for me and well worth posting again here. Enjoy…
If you haven’t heard, I’ve gotten back to working on OTV art and as I’ve been working away on it, I’ve been thinking about a couple of things that since I haven’t blogged too much lately, I figured it would be a good idea to post something. So for me, one of the absolute toughest things about jumping between different comics projects right now is how my “style” needs to shift to fit the needs of the book. Now this may sound like hokum and made up but it’s something that I’ve heard even Greg Capullo talk about numerous times over the past couple of years on Twitter.
On the Verge is a much looser style for me – especially with all the thick hand drawn panel borders!
Now what do I mean by having the style that I’m working/drawing in “shift”? Well just take a look at the type of drawing that I’ve done in THE ARROW OF TIME versus ANDREW JACKSON IN SPACE. My ARROW OF TIME work is done knowing that I’m going to colour the pages a certain way and put the ink work over top of various painted textures that I use on every page. So for the most part, I really do limit the amount of linework and details that I put in the pages that I draw. The artwork is also produced at smaller than “industry standard” (I work on 9″x12″ sheets of watercolour paper). So compare this to ANDREW JACKSON IN SPACE where I knew that someone was going to be colouring these pages when I started working on the book but I wasn’t 100% sure how’d they be coloured. Knowing this, I basically just drew whatever and tried to make sure that the pages looked great in black & white (inks) and let the colours sort themselves out. That also meant that I put in a lot more linework and ink textures than I typically do in any OTV pages. Plus I’m working at 11″x17″ (industry standard) to create the artwork and since that means I’m working larger than I do on OTV pages, I’m able to cram in more details.
And let’s not forget THE SISTERS which was full of lots of black and shadows since it was a horror story (I used A LOT of ink on those pages!) or the various pin-ups that I’ve over the course of the past year – each one has sort of had it’s own styling.
Black ink anyone? The Sisters used a ton of brushwork and ink to get the right horror feel.
So which “style” is better? I don’t know. I really do like the artwork that I’ve done so far on ANDREW JACKSON IN SPACE but it definitely is much more time consuming to produce since it’s larger and with a lot more detail. I do wonder what my “next” project is going to look like.
Some of the pin-ups from last year – each with a little different styling: graphic and designed, noir and ornate details, simple yet graphic & dynamic. At the same time, they all look like they were drawn by the same guy…My newest pin-ups which I think are probably the closest to where my art is currently at. Lots of ink, lots of detail, design elements galore. But where do I go from here?
What I do find interesting is that I do try to subtly shift my style to “fit” the various project. I wonder if anyone notices… At the same time, I think that the underlying drawing and storytelling and composition is still pretty much me. I mean when my mom sees my new work she always says it looks just like stuff I’ve always drawn (even when I look at it and think it looks completely different! I guess that’s a mom thing to do). But I really believe that you can’t 100% shake what you fundamentally draw like no matter what kind of styling you put over your drawing.
Anyway, I just thought this was kind of interesting and is one of those things that I’m currently thinking about as I shift back in to OTV mode and try to get some new pages done!
It’s been a year or so since this was originally posted and I still think it’s valid. But now that I’m actually done work on all those On the Verge pages, I’ve actually been able to really focus in on where I want my art to go now – which is a really nice feeling after five years of working on the same project. It’s given me a little bit of freedom to really experiment and address some of the things that I wasn’t loving in my own art and hopefully grow a bit. Anyway, I’ve got lots of new stuff on the way and I’ll be sure to share as soon as I can!