Monday, February 04, 2008

Susan Always Tries (Pencil Cartoon & Bonus Cartoon!)

I drew that almost two years ago. My pencil skills were really getting adequate.

In fact, after looking at the scans of this cartoon, and Noli Me Tangere and My Five Celebrity Pencil Cartoons (Annotated), I’m re-hashing in my mind all my old thinking about how should I best use my time, by practicing pen techniques or by doing everything in pencil?

I’ve been happy with the pen drawings I’ve posted lately, but to my eyes pencil drawings like this are simply much better visuals than are the pen images. And, for me, working in pencil is much more fun than pen.

I don’t know what to do.

For the last year or so the only pencil drawings I’ve made have been rough layouts to ink over. For fun, yesterday I again did a complete cartoon in pencil. It was a lot of fun. Here’s what I came up with:

I’m not as practiced with pencil as I was two years ago. The range of values isn’t as well-done and the design isn’t as good. But I think I got a reasonable cartoon likeness. I’m happy with it.

So now I’ve gone back to considering abandoning pen practice completely and doing everything with pencil. When I’m completely up to speed with graphite, I can get reasonably good darks. And graphite, being so plastic, makes it easy to alter the design while working to get a good composition. And, of course, modern scanning software does a great job of keeping contrast reasonable.

I don’t know what to do.

Ultimately, the best test for me will be how do pencil-based images look in an extended story format and with color added. I’ve read through a lot of graphic novels drawn in low-contrast media and almost all of them put me to sleep.

I’ve got an idea for an illustrated short story and, if I can muster up the energy to write and draw it, I’ll do the work in pencil and post the result. (Is there any commercial market for ‘graphic short stories?’)

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