It was a bit tricky to draw this as I was using my Wacom tablet and have yet to purchase my Cintiq, which will probably happen this week. That means I was not drawing on the screen but looking at the screen as I drew which made it a bit slower and having to redo things a few times to get the line right. Here is where the 30 Plus years of muscle memory come in. I know how to make the strokes from memory, practice, its just a bit of finagling to get them in the right spot using the Wacom, the Cintiq will solve that.
After nearly 7 years on the Judge I have a huge stack of art and I need to save space as I go forward doing two strips, essentially doubling my output, and there is not much of a market for the art on the soap strips, though there is a big demand for the Phantom art, I have already been getting inquiries for dailies.
I also hope to be able to speed the art up by going digital--or that is the theory that all my fellow artists who have gone digital say will happen. Terry Beatty produces both his Phantom and Rex Morgan strips digital and he says its faster. I think doing backgrounds with programs like Manga Studio is faster as I can go over my swipe without having to draw it out then ink it. I used to do this in a way back when I used my projector and I could project the swipe/photo and ink it directly under the projector. Its also the way things are going commercially and I have to adapt to the needs of the jobs.
I just turned in my 12th week on the Phantom and I think its my best week so far and Tony DePaul's scripts are a joy to draw, especially when he gives me room to stretch out like this week. The Phantom is a fun job but a hard one as any long running legacy strip is full reference issues. So far I have received love and also a bit of hate from the Phans. I knew coming on some folks are not gonna like it, they hate change just like when I came on The Judge, but it's mostly love, and some are great folks, welcoming me in and following my work over the years and some are whack jobs, going over every single line and are quite insulting. To those types well, they can take a long walk off a short pier. They are the type you can never appease and I know from many Parker Snarkers they are the type to just always say negative things no matter what.
I have a lot more Phantom reference now and that helps a lot, and its still a job I feel I'm growing into and will for a long time. I haven't even draw The Phantom himself more than a few times in the purple costume, I've drawn him in his civilian guise the most. Studying Sy Barry's work on the strip I can see his evolution on it as he grew with each story, and the different pencilers he had draw the strip also evolved and change his style. He started the strip the year I was born, funny to think 54 years later I'm doing the strip.
Below is the most recent week of the strips which ran in the paper.
Here is another Judge Parker week drawn by me and guest inked digitally by my best buddy Bret Blevins. Bret has been doing a lot of digital work for several years now and I think he really knows how to use the programs and give it that "old School" juice!
I have also been on a bit of a buying binge with all the great books coming out now on comics and strips. This is the haul from the last few weeks, the IDW Artists Editions are really fantastic! So great to see the Adams one and the Wrightson as well. I think Thrill Kill might be Adams best drawn story and the Muck Monster leads us right to Wrightson's never topped Frankenstein adaption. These guys were huge heroes to me as a teen and still are a big influence on my work today as well as Toth and the great DC War Gods of Kubert and Russ Heath. For up and coming artists we live in a golden age of great repro of great work to study, love and learn from.
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