Friday, December 12, 2008

Just another brick in the wall

I can't recall whether I've mentioned this previously, so... stop me if you've heard this before.

A while back, artist Bob Almond asked me to serve as one of the moderators at the Inkwell Awards forum. The Inkwell Awards, as faithful Comic Art Friday perusers know, were instituted earlier this year as an annual acknowledgment of inkers, those often unsung heroes of the comics industry.

An e-mail from Bob the other day reminded me that it's been a while since we did one of our before-and-after reviews of one of Bob's inking commissions. So, let's get to it.

Here's a pencil drawing we've seen before. It's Spider-Woman — to be precise, it's Jessica Drew, the first and most familiar of Marvel's trio of heroines known by that appellation — as rendered by pinup specialist Mitch Foust.

Lovely work, as Mitch's art always is. Lovely enough, in fact, that I knew that my friend Bob Almond could transform it into something truly spectacular.

And indeed, Bob did.

When I sent Mitch's pencil art to Bob, I asked him to simulate a brick wall within the blank geometric space Mitch included in the background. I had in mind the iconic cover of Spider-Woman #1, in which our heroine is caught in the beam of a searchlight against a building wall. (It's a concrete block wall in the original cover, not brick, but I thought the bricks would look hip, slick, and cool.) I had envisioned Bob either drawing in a brick pattern freehand, or replicating such a pattern from an existing drawing.

I was surprised when Bob returned the art that he had done neither of these. Indeed, I couldn't figure out exactly how he had created the brick effect. I could see that the brickwork wasn't hand-drawn — it's too smooth and regular for that to be true. Beyond that, though, I was clueless about the technique.

Thus, I did the logical thing, and asked Bob, "How'd you do that?" His reply:
I took a zip screen [Zip-a-tone is a printed film comic artists use for special effects work; it was much more commonly used in the age before Photoshop] that had that pattern, but smaller. I then scanned it and enlarged it and lightened it. I printed it up on a clear adhesive sheet and applied it, cutting out the excess parts. There was some minor lifting of the art in places from the adhesive, but I made sure to go back and redo sections.
They're clever people, those inkers. Someone should give them awards.

And that's your Comic Art Friday.


2 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Anonymous Bob Almond offered these pearls of wisdom...

In retrospect, I wish I'd enlarged the bricks more as bricks are not usually that small in comparison to her body. But I'l be more prepared the next time I try this technique, live and learn as they say.

7:04 AM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

Bob: I see what you're saying, but it still looks pretty cool to me.

Maybe one of these days I'll send you another of Mitch's pinups to experiment with. :)

11:42 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home