Kev Ferrara's graphic novel THE DEAD RIDER is out now (details inside)
Hi everybody, and welcome to my 20 page long art thread.... post comments as you wish... and don't be shy about offering critiques or saying funny things.
BIG NEWS: My Graphic Novel THE DEAD RIDER has hit stores and is available online too. 94 story pages, plus gallery and bonus sections. All done in a Frazetta/Wrightson/Jeff Jones/Mark Schultz kind of style with my own twist on it...
Just did these in the last two weeks from the model. About an hour and a half on each. A totally exhausting sprint and not enough time to finish! Digital photos don't quite look right either, but you get the idea. (whine, whine, whine...)
Thanks to everybody who's commented so far!
Last edited by kev ferrara; July 4th, 2007 at 11:31 PM.
Yes, the background and pen and ink drawn frame is going to be on every page. I did this to unify all the pages, many of which have various different techniques on it that are pretty wide apart, stylistically. And also because I wanted to have a mid value behind everything which would let the panels have both the darkest and the lightest values on the pages - so I can do more with lighting effects and such (like the bright sun here) Also the mid value backdrop allows me to control where the starkest contrasts appear (effect areas) in each panel so I can better direct the reader's attention to the essential dramatic point of each moment. And also, of course, the sepia color recalls the dusty landscape out west and all that.
I'm doing all the lettering and balloons too and they are all stylized and color coded according to who is speaking and they add more color and pop where now there is a lot of the sepia tone. I did the Dead Rider logo too. (Yeah, you guessed it, I'm a graphic designer in another life. I'm in the process of converting from The Deadlander (which Legal has asked me to forgo) which was converted from the Badlander (which Legal has asked me to forgo) to Dead Rider. )
By the way, I drew only one side of the pen and ink frame and duplicated the other side in photoshop. The texture of the sepia tone is an old piece of construction paper scanned in. Maybe that's obvious. Anyway...
Last edited by kev ferrara; March 10th, 2008 at 04:21 PM.
Here's more illos from the Deadlander, I think both are ink and brush rather than pen. The first is from issue 1, page 13 of so. The second is the frontispiece/inside front cover for the whole series. Next time I see Berni, I owe him five bucks!
Last edited by kev ferrara; August 2nd, 2007 at 08:44 PM.
Here's a WIP from a sorta experimental sequence from The Dead Rider issue 3. The main character Jacob runs into a coffinmaker's shop to hide from the Cavalry. As he enters, the art turns from fully inked to just pencilled (see panel 1) until he busts out.
I was all ready to ink the pages as usual until I was struck with the notion that they were fine the way they are and would make the sequence more interesting and moody as just shadowy pencils. Also I decided I would ruin them if I tried to achieve the same effects using pen, brush and ink linework.
I dropped a multi-colored texture over the whole indoor sequence and in the nebulous areas of the panels where detail gets lost you can see pink and blue and green blotches, which is a sort of colorful way of representing what your eyes might see when you can't make anything out in near-darkness.
Anyhow, if anybody has comments, please post! Thanks...
Last edited by kev ferrara; March 10th, 2008 at 04:22 PM.
Yes I use a brush (Windsor Newton series 7 sable 1,2 and sometimes 3) on a lot of my ink work. And various pen nibs (hunt 22s, drawing nibs, nothing too thick, not the teeny tiny kinds and not penmanship/calligraphy nibs). It really depends on what I'm feeling like and what the picture calls for and whether my brushes are "working" that day or not. Or if the piece of paper I sketched the drawing on has too much watercolor paper-type "tooth" I can't use pen on it because the lines will etch/scratch into the surface and the ink lines will seep, bleed and spread, etc, which is not good for fine work. (Although I bet the seeping lines can be a cool effect on something more Dulac-esque, using sepia or light gray ink for instance.)
The brush has so much more versatility but is much harder to control. When I have the brush working and I can draw with it and do cross hatching and the fine linework I love so much, you won't see me use anything else.
The pen is a much more intellectual instrument, not nearly as expressive (unless you exert 40 pounds of pressure per square inch on it.) and when the point sticks into the paper it's like scratching your fingernails across a backboard. It also blobs up sometimes and the nibs get crudded up quick. And if the instrument isn't easy to use, forget it. The work's going to come out labored looking because you are struggling with crummy tools.
The pen is also harder to make "fresh" because the strokes accumulate and start to dirty up the page. And if your hand shakes its like a seismograph needle. You can see every little tremor. When I'm doing some fine work and I feel my hand about to shake, I'll extemporaneously design into the line a place where I can pirouette or dance the nib on purpose, so at least I will remain in control of the design.
Any false move makes the pen line look indecisive, like I'm searching for the right lines and guessing about the edges and forms. Art greatly suffers from a lack of conviction in any part of it.
Pen also tends to work best for outlining, which flattens forms. In order to use it in a more painterly fashion, I have to think of the drawing more like a painter, which means doing a lot more form drawing and light thought.
Whereas with the brush, it's so much easier to create a silhouetted edge with one sweep and thus begin to establish the form of an object.
The big thing is decisiveness and integrity shows right through the strokes. It can't be faked or hidden under the carpet, no matter what the medium. One sure stroke does the work of forty indecisive ones, except much better!
Aristotle in Poetics says, use nothing more than is needed and nothing less. If one stroke says it all, why waste people's time with two? (or forty two for that matter!)
Anyhow, the real secret to inking for me was gleaned from Harvey Dunn's great lecture notes from 1934. Essentially the advice was not to think about the brush strokes, whether its pen or brush, ink, oil, crayon or pastels. The real secret to inking, wood for instance, is to "think wood". Don't think pen strokes, or "how would my favorite artist do this". But imagine you are drawing the real thing and interpret "wood" through the implement you're holding and the medium it broadcasts. See through the technique to what is actually important; the drawing and design and the spirit of the thing.
Hope this helps (for those pen and inkers out there who are interested...)
P.S. I took a look at your site, Max... Nice Pro Stuff!! Really fine work. Congratulations!
Last edited by kev ferrara; July 6th, 2007 at 05:26 PM.