Line by Line

Archives: 2020

WIP Report: Necessity: Page 1 complete and game plan

Posted December 31, 2020

Tags: art, comics, Necessity comic, WIP report, writing

Well. Some year this has been, huh?

I'm sorry this post has taken so long. I finished the first page of the comic months ago and I've been wrestling with a longer postmortem, but I guess I don't have it in me so I'll keep this quick and maybe not bore you.

First, the comic has a name now: Necessity. I'm not thrilled with it but I'm glad I don't have to keep saying “Sorceress Comic” anymore.

Coloring started out fun but got tedious. I used just two layers: One for flat colors and one for shadows. I did all the flats first, then for each color, picked one or two shadow colors. I selected each shape with the magic wand tool, then moved to the shadow layer and used the pencil tool to shade it.

This wasn't a terrible setup. Since I can select two colors and swap between them, and use my tablet's stylus's eraser end, the shading work wasn't bad. The problem was all the switching back and forth between the flats and shadow layers, and between the magic wand and pencil tools. It ate up a lot of time and energy, and more than once I forgot to switch layers after selecting a new area so I had to do it over.

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Necessity: Comic page one posted

Posted October 18, 2020

Page one of the comic is now, finally, complete! I got excited and posted it to DeviantArt Friday night before I had everything ready to post it here.

So now it's here, too. You can find it on the Other Writing page, under the new Comics section. (As a bit of housekeeping, I also added links there to the two one-off comics that I posted to the art gallery a few years back.)

Now that the first page is out there, I really, really want to get the rest of it done and get the whole story told! I think by this point I've learned not to make promises I can't keep, though, so let's just say I'm working on it. I'll try to get a blog post out before too much longer with my updated game plan.

In the mean time, Go ahead and check out page one!

Alphonso Dunn and InkTober

Posted September 16, 2020

Tags: art, InkTober

September is upon us. October is now only half a month away. I'll set aside the whole pandemic-time question of how it can possibly be September already when it was just March only eighteen years ago. What matters is that the time is fast approaching when artists around the world will be picking up their pens and brushes and taking up the now-traditional InkTober challenge of thirty-one ink drawings, one for every day of October.

Since we're all going to have ink drawing on the brain, I think this would be a good time for everyone to check out the work of Alphonso Dunn. He's the author of Pen and Ink Drawing: A Simple Guide, and he has a YouTube channel full of tips and tutorials.

So far, the videos that have been the most useful to me are “Top 3 Cross Hatching Mistakes | Tips on how to avoid them,” “Pen and Ink Crosshatching | A simple introduction,” and “How to Avoid Overworking Your Drawings | 3 simple tips.” The main things that jumped out at me were the importance of pen control and of not rushing. You can certainly point to my InkTober drawings from 2016 and 2018 and find drawings that suffer from the exact pitfalls Dunn warns about.

Naturally, this inspired me to get out my trusty microns and a sheet of paper, and practice. I played a few more of Dunn's videos while I practiced creating even, consistent strokes and tried out some crosshatching techniques. Here's what I came up with:

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Black Lives Matter

Posted June 26, 2020

Tags: Black Lives Matter, current events, morals and ethics

There are a lot of things that happen that make you wonder, just how many more times does this have to happen before something is finally done about it? To name just a few: Mass shootings, sexual abuse cases, privacy violations, workplace safety violations, maltreatment of laborers in general, formation of monopolies, and companies and governments kowtowing to tyrants.

And then there's the example that's been in the news here in the US (and worldwide) for the last few weeks: Police brutality against black people, which has sparked worldwide protests.

I wish I could come to you with a strong thesis statement and a solid plan for what we need to do about this problem. But I don't have that. As a white guy with a sheltered upbringing surrounded by only people who look like me, and with little to no contact with the black community, I have to admit that if I did have that, the odds that it would be worth your attention are effectively zero.

But I can't just say nothing, either. Even if you don't believe that silence is complicity, you have to admit that it sure is helpful to those who try to pass off their hatred as representative of the “silent majority.” So I'm not going to be silent.

You want a thesis statement? Here it is: Black lives matter.

Whatever you think of the BLM movement, or of a particular member or spokesperson thereof, you have to admit that the cause is just and the statement is true: Black lives matter, no less than anyone else's.

All lives matter, and that means that instead of saying “All Lives Matter™” to people who have been told that a million times but consistently shown something else, we need to say “your lives matter”—and then act like it.

There's more to say about the ongoing protests, police behavior, proposed solutions, and everything else that's been going on these past weeks, but I don't want this main point to get lost in the shuffle, so for now I'm going to leave it at the one thing that most needs to be said, and believed, and lived:

Black lives matter.

WIP Report: Sorceress Comic: Page 1 inked

Posted May 25, 2020

Tags: art, comics, WIP report, writing

I finally made it past a huge milestone in the comic project: Page 1 is now completely drawn and inked! As it stands, I'm almost finished converting the lineart to pure black/white, which is more laborious than it has any right to be because my scanner is apparently garbage. Once that's done, I'll be able to start coloring.

I had planned to finish the whole comic and upload it all at once, but I think you've all waited more than long enough, so I'll post the first page as soon as it's ready.

In the mean time, here's a sneak peak at the raw scan of the lineart:

The raw scan of the fully inked first page, at old-school 72 dpi “Web” resolution.
An excerpted panel 3 at medium resolution. Click for high resolution (direct link to image)

Art Gallery: Slash Attack Colored

Posted May 16, 2020

Hey, remember that last drawing I posted?

I colored it!

See the creatively named Slash Attack Colored in the gallery, or see it in my DeviantArt gallery.

Art Gallery: Slash Attack

Posted May 04, 2020

In December, I did a quick little ink drawing in a couple sittings. I scanned it in and then basically forgot about it, since it required what looked like a lot of digital post-production to knock out the pencil lines. I finally got back to it yesterday and it turned out not to be so bad.

You can head on over to the gallery to check out Slash Attack, or see it on deviantArt.

Since it's the second piece featuring the Viola, the sorceress from the comic project, I added a tag for her.

Tenth Anniversary

Posted March 18, 2020 (Written March 17, 2020)

Tags: site

[This site went live on March 17, 2010, which makes yesterday the tenth anniversary. Obviously, celebrating the anniversary should be done on the anniversary if possible, and I did manage to get this post written in time, but I didn't have time to post it. I apologize for posting this a day late, but it is the anniversary post with no further edits beyond what was completed on the actual anniversary. Enjoy!]

Today marks ten years since the grand (re-)launch of this Web site!

I wish it were under happier circumstances. This virus business has us all a little nervous. Or a lot nervous. There is a lot of talk of what to do about religious obligations (Just receive in the hand, already, people), whether hoarding supplies is appropriate (don't take more than you need, because someone else does need it), and whether or not the response to the crisis reflects the bogosity of many of our supposed rules and requirements (I have mixed opinions on that one).

But that just means now is a perfect time to find something not horrible to focus on. So let's focus on how horrible my writing was 10 years ago. (What?)

My first blog post was possibly the only time I've ever really commented on current events (unless you count two paragraphs ago), and if not, then certainly one of very few. I still stand by pretty much everything I said in that post, though if I were writing it today I'd probably be a bit less ranty and more explicit about why these things bother me.

Read the rest of this post in the blog.

WIP Report: Sorceress Comic: Page 1 Layout

posted January 19, 2019

Tags: art, comics, WIP report, writing

2018 has passed, and with it, my soft deadline for the pencils on the first panel of the first page of my comic. And no, I didn't get that panel finished.

This time, though, there's a good reason! I actually accomplished more than I planned to. When I set the goal of finishing panel 1 by the end of December, it had slipped my mind that my process involved doing the layout sketches for a page digitally, then printing it out and drawing over it in pencil.

You see the problem: I had to do the layouts for the whole page before I could even start the pencils. I mean, I could just do the layout of the first panel, cut that panel out of the page, and then tape the whole thing back together when it's done, but that's unwieldy. Besides, I ended up having to make changes to the first panel based on how the later panels ended up, so it's better to have the whole layout done before pencils.

But I did get it finished, and have since made good progress on the panel 1 pencils, so I guess it's all good. Here's a sneak peak:

Read the rest of this post in the blog.