Tuesday, August 14, 2018

South Africa Sketchbook Part One

In May of 2018, I traveled to South Africa as a faculty member doing some teaching and chaperoning with the Hope College Chapel Choir, under the direction of Brad Richmond.

I had chosen to attend Hope College in 1981 because I wanted to sing in that choir, which I did for three years.

Traveling with them to South Africa at the conclusion of my 30th year of college teaching was such a perfect marker in my life.

I thought I'd share some of the sketches I made along the way.

First, a scan of the cover of the book.  I purchased a hardcover Strathmore 500 mixed media book, but I recovered it before we left to something which I thought would go with the landscape and colors we might see.

It seemed important to draw a map, marking the places we would visit.

I always make a list of the art supplies I take with me.  This helps me plan for future trips.

The final packing before our trip included help from my puppy.

I also took the time to do some sketching from a South Africa rand note.  So lovely!


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Inspired by Lemire's Roughneck

Lately I've been looking at how other comics artists draw people moving through the woods, especially from the perspective of the sky.  My brain can't generate that on its own, and it's an image I want to be able to convey in my memoir.

Inspired by how Jeff Lemire does it in his recent (and wonderful) graphic novel Roughneck, I drew this quick sketch.  Obviously I imported myself and my dogs into the tree perspectives.

This is helping me understand how the perspective guide in Procreate can help me too.

Perspective is a mystery to me, still....

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Sketching a Birthday Outing!

Last month my sister (and my mom and my nephew) took me for a day-long surprise outing... to many of my favorite places!!

Of course, I sketched it as we went.

I ate breakfast with one of her lovely dogs, Marvel.

Then I opened my first card of the day, which contained these fabulous celebration sunglasses!

We ate breakfast at my most favorite restaurant in the world (seriously), The Original Pancake House (not to be confused with other pancake houses or houses of pancakes).  There I ate my favorite meal in the world: 49er Flapjacks, in-house sausage patties, one egg, and coffee.  Fueled for the day!

We spent the next three (plus!) hours in a huge used bookstore in downtown Detroit!  I found a bunch of books with older comics in them.  Then, with our last bits of energy, we went to the nearby Blick's.

Later we enjoyed homemade Oreo cookie blizzard ice cream cake and then we collapsed. 

Happy birthday to me!!  What a fun family!

Sketching several pages to track on special day was a lot of fun.  I used pen, watercolors, and some collage in a square Global Arts Handbook.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Sometimes Stuff Doesn't Make Sense, but Go With It

When I'm deep into working on a project, I find that all kinds of images pop into my head that just don't seem to have anything to do with it.

And sometimes they don't.

But sometimes, later, it turns out they do.

Anyhow, this is one of those.  I was working on a memoir, saw some underwater photography I'd done pop up as the screensaver on my laptop, and this image (which is purely made up) popped into my head.

So I captured it.  Not sure what's going on, if anything, in my subconscious here...

Of course, any excuse to play with my watercolors...

It's all part of the creative process and I just have to pay attention to it.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Playing with Text in My Comic

Playing with some text inside the idea of my memoir comic in progress.

Don't know if I'd actually use this sketch, but it was fun to do  And helped me think in new ways about how the situation seemed to fill the woods around me that day...

I did this on my iPad Pro in Procreate.

Thanks to Tom Hart at the Sequential Artists Workshop for the cool assignment.  If you haven't checked out all his resources (some free, some sliding scale), do!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

More on Visual Scripting, And Scrivener Too!

Years ago I discovered the writing software Scrivener, and it changed my life.

from the Scrivener website, link below


Changed it so much that I require my novel writing students to buy it and use it.  And while at first they balk a bit (it does have a learning curve) within in week or two they are asking why the college doesn't require it of all students because "it would have changed my writing in all of my classes for the last four years!"

So imagine my joy when I discovered Jessica Abel's post about using Scrivener in combination with Visual Scripting (which I wrote about in my two previous posts).

Check out her post here.

You can learn more about Scrivener from many You Tube videos and from the developer's website here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Visual Scripting, My First Attempts

In my last post, I talked about Jessica Abel's wonderful technique of visual scripting and how my experiments with it changed my comics for the better.

Below are a few shots showing the development of one page of my memoir.

I didn't have Adobe InDesign at the time I did this, so my work looks a little different than Abel's does, but I used all the same principles.  I am working on my iPad Pro, using Adobe Comp CC (free) and Procreate.

I did the visual scripting in Adobe Comp CC.  For this chapter, my foundational grid was a 3x3, nine-panel grid.  So I drew that in first, knowing I might adjust as I went.

You can see the start here:  boxes of different shapes indicate different kinds of words which will appear on the page.  I am typing them in to help determine the amount of space the words will take in each panel, even though I intend to handwrite the words later.

The red words describe what I think I will draw in each panel.

Remember, this is drafting.  Anything can change.  And most of it does.

Below, the script is evolving.  Do I need 9 panels or the 8 I had originally thought of?  If each panel is a distinct action... hmmm.... what, if anything, can I eliminate?  What needs the best focus?

Of course, significant revisions occurred...

Once I had it the way I wanted it (knowing, of course, that revisions can and will alway occur), I sent a .jpg of the visual script to Procreate.  There I imported it as a layer, and drew over it.  Below is my working draft.

Once I felt sure it was working, I began to color.

And that's how I have begun to use visual scripting in my work. 

I still do less formal drafting, of course, capturing ideas or quick sequences.  Testing out alternative versions of things.  I'm still a creator who simply has to draw or write a thing before I know it's going to work.  But once I have a fairly clear idea of how a scene is going to go, this visual scripting is the next best step for me!

Give it a try!