Relativity

Drawing Dragon’s Fall does improve the art for LleuGarnock, but it sure doesn’t feel that way. I spend so much time on a panel of Dragon’s Fall. When it’s done, it’s the way I want it. That just doesn’t happen with LleuGarnock. Now every time I finish a panel of LG I think to myself “I could do so much better”…but I just don’t want to put in the time.

When I think about it I’m pretty sure the page layouts are better than before and the sketch/ink work are at least no worse. The work isn’t any less fun. It’s mostly the quality of the rest of my time that’s changed.

I’m happy when I’m writing, and page layouts are always interesting, but if I’m going to be drawing I’d much rather be drawing Dragon’s Fall. So I’ve been drawing Dragon’s Fall, and when I’m not doing any of those things I’ve been taking breaks and cleaning the house and doing all those other things that are necessary to life yet aren’t comics. So drawing LleuGarnock has taken a hit in the priorities department.

LG fans shouldn’t start to get worried yet. I can guarantee you at least another five months of regular updates. That’s what my buffer is for. It’s because my priorities like to take turns, and I’m sure LG will rise to the top again. January is proof that my enthusiasm and productivity can come back even after an extended absence.

And I mean, I am drawing LleuGarnock. Just a couple of hours ago I was plugging away at the inks for a new page. That’s what made me think about all this. I think I’m getting faster and more efficient, just because I’d rather be doing something else, but I want to get these pages done, so I’m doing more detail with less sketch, for example, and trusting myself to do something that looks all right on the first try.

I’m not absolutely certain the quality hasn’t gone down in some ways. It’s really hard for me to judge. But because my learning focus right now is on page layout and framing panels, I wouldn’t be too disappointed if my inks got a bit messier. They’re still more consistent than they have been for most of the comic, and that’s always been a goal of mine with the art for LG – consistent, easily reproduced character designs.

LleuGarnock is my practice ground. I’ve always thought of it that way. It may not be ideal as a comic, but it has proven to be ideal as a project that I love that gets me to draw on a regular basis and improve. Dragon’s Fall is of course teaching me many new, different and important skills, but it really is more than that for me, and because I care about it first as a finished product, I don’t have the freedom that I have with LleuGarnock to test my speed and efficiency. I need both projects, in order to learn everything i can about being a comic artist.

While I was drawing today, I drew a hand that didn’t look accurate to me, but it looked right, so I left it. It’s evidence of my growing sense of stylism. I hope it will happen more often. This is one of the areas where LleuGarnock is much more helpful to my learning process, because I don’t think as much before starting to draw, so my lines and shapes can be more varied – I can see which variations I like and which I don’t like. I might even begin to develop a language of stylism that is truly my own, and not made up of elements I saw elsewhere and incorporated. I already have my own stylistic tendencies, I realize, but I am only beginning to see and recognize them. Once I do this, I can shape them further and put more appeal into them.

I just now thought to separate my style into these two categories. Now I’ll try to explain what they are and how they’re different. My stylistic tendencies are in the shapes of my characters, their body positions and body language – the more general aspects of how I compose and sketch a drawing. The language of stylism that I use is the specific elements that I use over and over again, especially a remembered pattern or line that I don’t have to think much about before inking. I draw ears in a certain way, a combination of manga ears I’ve seen and my own observation. The same is true for mouths, and certain types of wrinkles on clothes.

What I mean when I say I want to develop my own stylistic language is that I want to make these elements in a way that I think they look good, instead of basing them on accuracy and someone else’s sense of what looks good. To do this, I need to experiment, but I also need to figure out how to tell if something looks good and why.

See, this is the problem when I blog. I try to wrap it up but everything I say just gets me deeper and deeper into the subject. If it were important to me, I would go back and reorganize it into a more rounded, satisfying form. I don’t write well in a linear format such as this, but if you are still reading, you’re interested in the inner workings of my brain, so here you go, this is the order I thought these things in.

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