it’s a start

I’m trying something on my dudeldopp tumblr.

By now I’ve come to recognize that drawing environments and inking intimidate me. I generally avoid doing “backgrounds” because I find I’m not very good at them. I’ll only ink drawings I’ve already done, in great detail, with pencil – again, because I’m not very good with ink. Both of these things really inhibit my work, limiting my storytelling abilities and lengthening the time it takes me to create comics. I certainly can’t get better with environments and ink by avoiding them!

I recently got a great piece of advice: learn how to navigate the obstacles in your creative work by looking to the artists to whom you most aspire.

Given other recent work of mine, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find that I think Calvin & Hobbes‘ Bill Watterson is amazing. In his ten-year strip he implied environments with elegant simplicity. He also did very little pencil work before inking, if any. His work strikes me as a great place to begin facing my drawing inhibitions.

So, I’m pulling environmental shots from Calvin & Hobbes and drawing them as close to Watterson’s technique and style as possible. This means no pencil prep – except for pieces that have more complex compositions. But even in these select cases I keep the pencil work limited to indicating basic shapes and arrangements.

It also means using only specific tools. Based on a brief discussion of Watterson’s process in The Calvin & Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book, I know that he mostly used a red sable brush and a pen nib for a few finer details before finishing his drawings. I’ve used nibs and synthetic brushes before but never a real-hair red sable – man is it a different experience! You can see me experimenting with different brushes and nibs in this first piece.

Technical talk aside, I’m hoping this process will also help me better get to “know” Watterson – as well as any other artists I try this with in the future.

More to come via dudeldopp

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