One big motivator for me when I was making the transition from drawing digitally to physically was an artist named Les McClaine. Though he has branched out into print comics and animation now, I found him through a wonderful webcomic he did for awhile called Jonny Crossbones. It’s best described as a cross between Herge’s Tintin and The Goonies with the eponymous character being a mechanic who happens to be (for reasons unexplained) completely covered in a skeleton costume.

Though a chameleon of an artist, Jonny Crossbones draws from (pardon the pun) the ligne claire style most commonly associated with Herge and Tintin. What this means is that the lines are very uniform in thickness and style and is relegated to simple outline and detail––very little rendering to help “round out” figures and form is done. And it is beautiful.


Jonny Crossbones by Les McClaine.

Because structures and forms were so simplified with this style, suddenly having more detailed backgrounds seemed more possible for a guy that was mostly scared to do them. (I draw Les McClaine clouds and I am never turning back.)

Evidence of direct McClaine influence in Eben07.

Evidence of direct McClaine influence in Eben07.

While you should check out Jonny Crossbones, I wanted to point you at another of his webcomics that I happened upon that really struck a chord with me.

It’s called “32 Exposures” and it’s a finite, self-contained story that is just stunning. In another attempt to try to shove this wonderful artist into a box, it’s reminds of the European stylings (via Japan) found in the Professor Layton series of video games but used to tell a Lovecraftian horror story. What’s even better is that he has integrated slight animations into the comic to help guide the reader’s emotions. The first page has animated rain, but it’s most effective in the middle of the comic when the panel borders start getting, for lack of a better word, wobbly as the narrator descends into a cruel and mysterious world. It’s a great use of the webcomic format and makes it immediately impossible to print (though it would still work quite well in printed form).

It’s quite the treat that will haunt you for the day. I would actually even recommend this to people who were curious about getting into Lovecraft, because it does summarize the structure and content of a basic HPL story quite well.

So, if you’re in the mood to get spooked, check out the wonderful “32 Exposures” by Les McClaine. (WARNING: It’s quite dark and may not be safe for work.)

Minus the animated rain. "32 Exposures" by Les McClaine.

Minus the animated rain. “32 Exposures” by Les McClaine.