May 2016 - The Singing Bone

The issue with color

Posted by | The evolution of the Singing Bone comic | No Comments

My biggest challenge since starting to draw the Singing Bone story has been trying to figure out the best way to colour the illustrations. In honesty, I have spent very little time trying to figure out the colours in comparison to the time I spent drawing the various scenes and characters. Part of it might be that I am more curious about drawing and I take more pleasure from developing that aspect of the illustrations.

If I choose not to spend more time considering my colours, perhaps I should make less bold choices. I think I have improved in this regard with time, but perhaps there is more that I could do to make the colours less distracting. I see a lot of people today using colours very boldly and effectively and I might have allowed myself to get pulled into that approach without fully understanding my choices. I also feel that my use of bold colours can be a bit of a distraction from the narrative and atmosphere. I was looking at some old Lucky Luke comics the other day and really admired Morris’ use of colour. Some scenes could have several characters in them but he could colour them all in a flat red, simply and quickly. I like that. Since my lines tend to be a bit agitated, perhaps I could use my colours to offer a contrast and as a means to rest and focus the eye, instead of agitating it further. I think that once I finish the illustrations for the first part o the story, and I see them all together, I will go back and adjust the colours keeping in mind the overall effect.

Happy Simpleton

Posted by | The evolution of Simpleton | No Comments

I wanted to show Simpleton as some someone who is oblivious to the ugliness that surrounds him. Although I do appreciate having him commit to his feelings (there is never any question as to what he may be feeling at a given moment), I feel that I may have I “oversold” it on this occasion. This will mark the third time that I redo his appearance for this drawing.

I admire that that part of him, the thick shell upon which things seem to deflect, which appears to stem from naivety, at first glance.

Doing justice to my hand drawing?

Posted by | The evolution of the Singing Bone comic | No Comments

I am a huge fan of Herge. I could look at his drawings for hours and I admire his line work so much. Despite my admiration in the quality of a hand drawn work, I chose to redraw my work in Illustrator. There are a lot of reasons for this. I was not always very confidant about my drawing ability in doing cartoon-like work. I also felt attracted to the ‘artificial’ and ‘plastic’ attributes that the drawings gained by doing them in Illustrator and the contrasts it created when applying that style to more serious subject matter.

In addition to this, I feel that I struggle with perfection… By no means am I implying that my line work is perfect, but it is the ‘perception’ that I am achieving the best, smoothest and boldest line possible that provides me with comfort. I need too redefine my understanding of “the best line possible”. This is something that I need to work on within myself, especially as my confidence continues to grow the more I draw. Perhaps I can address this in a future instalment of the story, after the part that I am presently working on with Simpleton killing the Boar. Maybe I could align myself with the ‘evil brother’ and my visual approach can parallel is his own false projection. As a friend o mine once said, through the Singing Bone, it is as though I gradually sought to remove my ‘self’ from the equation. An amazing observation that still echoes in me all of these years later… The project cannot be finished until I address that, though a deeper understanding and acceptance.

A new Simpleton?

Posted by | The evolution of Simpleton | No Comments

I briefly considered changing Simpleton’s appearance, but eventually decided against it. I had drawn him so many times, for so long, that I felt a nostalgic attachment to him. I also remembered why I chose to depict him that way and the concept still appealed to me. Visually, his simple appearance fits with who he is supposed to be and I felt he contrasts well with the series of characters I was placing around him.

The path I would follow

Posted by | The evolution of the Singing Bone comic | No Comments

Although I was starting over, I had not fully understood the extent of the revisions that I would bring to the story. I believed that I would only add a drawing or two, and it never occurred to me at first just how far I would go. I’m not sure I would have embarked on the journey if I had told myself in the beginning that they would all have to be completely redone, especially considering how slow the process of creating the drawings had become. I think that I subconsciously felt trapped with how I depicted Simpleton and his brother that I longed to be free and indulge in exploring different creative ways to draw faces without being shackled by what I had done before. I drew scenes that had various bystanders and villagers in them, reacting one way or another to the action that was taking place, and that process allowed me to push myself further visually. The process of exploration and discovery kept me engaged with the project and also helped me shoulder the long task of redoing the drawings.

In this scene, that I labeled “Foreshadowing”, the relationship between Simpleton and his helper is almost secondary to the surrounding environment. It is a drawing that perhaps did not serve the story in the best way but it was an important drawing for me as it gave me a glimpse of the direction that I hoped to grow into even more in the future. I labeled the drawing “Foreshadowing” because I wanted to write the message “You will die” using the smoke that spread behind the entire the scene. I eventually dropped the idea but residue of it is still clearly present. I became more interested in the faces and characters and felt that having that message spread across was interfering too much with the composition. One thing at a time, I suppose. I was gaining confidence. As I write this, I am not sure I would make those same choices today, but I have to be careful how much I judge and question my thought process in the past. I cannot redo these forever as I really hope to have the chance to get to the end of the story.