Sketch Fridays #17 - Sneak Peek #02. Click to enlarge.

Sketch Fridays #17 – Long John Preview #02. Click to enlarge.

Art should be about challenge. For both the artist and the view, art should inspire thought and discourse, the liminal edge could even be defined by the question, “do I enjoy this?”

For creators, especially, I think this question pops up regularly as we become mired in work. I haven’t made it a secret that drawing is not my favorite thing to do––however, I do not see myself as a writer for other artists quite yet. The best way for me to get my illustrative ideas out is to do them myself, even if it isn’t the most fun thing to do––the challenge (as goes the cliché) is the reward.

Long John has been a battleground, in that sense. I have come across pages or ideas where I dare myself to try something new. I don’t actively seek this out––I am a lazy artist by nature––but I do notice the call to arms occurring at different times, depending on the situation. Sometimes, it happens in the planning stage, and I get (as a result) interesting layouts. Other times, it is with technique and I get surprising results.

With an upcoming page, I realized I had to draw someone disappearing into a forest. The question I confronted was, “how do I draw that?” For which, the immediate answer was, “I don’t know.”

One of the biggest––and most visible––challenges I’ve confronted in Long John is the constant tug of war between letting the linework do the work and letting the coloring do the work. I realize that I can do a lot with coloring (especially minimalistic coloring), work that can be done were I to spend more time thinking with the pen rather than with the Photoshop swatches.

This paid off in the first chapter a few times, and I see in hindsight that despite the setbacks and whatnot in chapter two that I’ve been steadily pushing myself to try new things with the ink. The biggest problem I’ve come across in this process is that, whenever I try something new, I see it on the page and think it looks like garbage, but I’m connecting it to my past work––and, most likely, my safest work.

So, I’m brought back to a figure retreating into darkness. The included drawing is even a second attempt. I drew it on a separate piece of bristol, cut it out, and taped it over the original panel on the page (which is how I address art issues, rather than relying on digital solutions). While I found I can only do so much on the page––at least the sense of depth is alluded to––I know it will look right once I add the color. My weakness can be to rely on one or the other, but it’s when I rely on both that I can actually bring something new to the comic as well as my artistic tool belt because even if I can’t always say I enjoy doing it, I do very much enjoy what it yields.