Archive for August, 2008

Hi, Mom!

August 23, 2008

I never imagined this would happen, but I guess it’s old news that everything is on YouTube these days. You kids with your digital video!

Berlin ist Hier

August 21, 2008

Fed Ex dropped of my copies of City of Smoke today. Clem appears delighted, but it may just be the off-gassing of industrial Chinese printing ink that’s making her smile like that. I’m not as excited as I should be, for some reason. There it is, seven years of my life in 196 pages of story. What is that, like 28 pages a year? Oh yeah, maybe that’s why I’m depressed.

Anyway, here’s to getting the next one done in four!

Hogan’s Äule*

August 13, 2008

The above images show the four stages I recently went through to complete the cover illustration for the German edition of Berlin: City of Smoke. You can see in that first sketch that my drawing often starts out looking pretty awkward, and gets improved through a process of refinement. Figure placement gets readjusted, facial features are shifted, tiny details added or removed. The hardest part about this drawing was making the composition work with the Siegessäule (Victory Column) in the background, and I think it’s marginally successful. The only part I’m not really happy with is Kid Hogan’s head, which in retrospect looks a little squished.

This working method, as some readers and critics have noted, often leaves my finished work looking “cold” and “stiff.” I don’t disagree with that assessment, but neither do I think that there is a single visual standard to which all cartoonists should aspire. Between Gary Panter and Joost Swarte is a rich and multifarious spectrum of visual potential, and I’m happy with my place near the cooler end, having arrived here after many years of experimentation and hundreds of pages of comics.

Still unhappy about the squished-looking head, though.

NOTES
* Nothing like a bad pun that doubles as an unintentional Tolkien reference.