Wednesday 4 July 2007

About drawing paper. (part 3)


aving introduced red coloured paper into the process of making The Black Diamond Detective Agency (see yesterday) I thought, 'Why stop there?'. Next it was black and grey coloured papers for the night scenes. The dark paper exerts its influence over everything that goes onto it, maintaining a somber tone over the whole page.

I always use fairly lightweight paper, a habit derived from a need to reduce the expense of mailing heavy packages overseas, so I always stretch my paper to avoid buckling if I'm going to paint on it (I didn't always do this, if you happen to have a Batman page that isn't sitting perfectly flat and you're wondering what I'm talking about). The stretching keeps the paper flat, a necessity for aligning the lettering on a tracing paper overlay. I always leave plenty of space in the word balloons because with the humidity where I live, the page and its overlays can end up having quite different measurements. In fact, it's a rule of mine that I never put anything on an overlay that requires ultra-accurate placement. That's why I stopped putting a black line around word balloons, though once I started doing for practical purposes I came to prefer it aesthetically. That strip of brown on the right is the tape that held the paper to the wooden drawing board. I don't know what it's called. After all these years I still ask for 'the tape you use to stretch watercolour paper'.

The stretching process is explained here: "The easiest way is using your bathtub. Make sure it's clean and fill it about 6" deep with lukewarm water..." I would never go to that much trouble in the soaking; I'd hardly run that much water to give myself a bath. And in a busy house like mine there's always somebody at the door shouting "Dad, Is that you in there washing your paper again?" I've selected these from the original art scans so you can see evidence of the unpainted paper at the edges, and I've zoomed close enough that you can see something of the fibres in the paper. above is page 24 bottom right and below is page 117 bottom left, showing the snow outside the tunnel entrance.

All this stuff about paper is meant to show that, whlle it is undeniable that certain application techniques are best served by specific receptive surfaces, a spirit of adventurousness may well be rewarded. And in the end, it's everybody to his own. What serves my purpose may not serve yours. John Coulthart in comments, monday, made me laugh:
"Bryan Talbot used to enthuse about very expensive CS10 paper which has a smooth surface that can be scratched away if necessary. I never liked that, it felt like drawing on the side of a fridge."

More intriguing paper secrets next time, and do tell us about your own discoveries..

Yahoo news: (via mick Evans, who loathes the word 'blog' and reminds me of his detestation every time I bring up the subject.)
"Blog", "netiquette", "cookie" and "wiki" have been voted among the most irritating words spawned by the Internet, according to the results of a poll published Thursday. Topping the list of words most likely to make web users "wince, shudder or want to bang your head on the keyboard" was folksonomy, a term for a web classification system. "Blogosphere", the collective name for blogs or online journals, was second..."
A couple of days back a commenter was asking what I'm currently working on. This question is answered at some length in the second part of my Publishers Weekly Interview, online today: Since that interview I have arrived at the end of the book, The Amazing, Remarkable Monsieur Leotard, and now I must spend a month revsing and fine tuning. By the end of a book I've always had second thoughts about what a character is supposed to look like, so I have to go back and make everything consistent. Also around this time I go through a phase of wanting to toss the whole lot in a fire, change my name and go into hiding. I believe this is normal.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's called butcher's tape, when i went to buy it. after i decided to try to learn watercolour, of course i had to go out & buy all the supplies the books said to buy.... but it never worked for me.

i couldn't get the tape off once it had dried, without taking off half the thickness of the paper. if i cut off the taped edges before i painted, it would bend & buckle the same way as if it had never been stretched. what i've settled on are those watercolour pads which are gummed on three & three-fourths sides. it still ripples a bit, but it is the minimum of truoble for me.

since i use graphite rather than inks for drawing, smoothness of the paper makes a big difference. i use the official comic boards for comics, because texture is less desirable if i'll be shrinking a piece a lot & want to keep things clear. for a really neat textury, tonal look, though, i dig soft pencils on watercolour paper.

4 July 2007 at 00:47:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 July 2007 at 00:58:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Eddie Campbell said...
stretching paper is one of those things you need to watch somebdy else do first. Everything is wet and you let it dry , with the tape round all four edges of the paper, no gaps, holding it to the board. Sometimes the paper is so strong it bends my lightweight board, and it feels good to drum your fingers on the taut surface, with a couple of milimeters of space between it and the bowed board. You paint on it while it's like that. when finished and completely dry, Razor it off around the edges, leaving a half inch of tape on the art paper. you can always trim it closer later. you need to leave a huge margin between the art and the edge of the page. i've usually got a couple of inches. If you try to be stingy about it you'll always end up sorry.
When I'm working on a painted book i always have two or three pages on boards at the same time.
of course, when you go back later, after you've taken it off the board, to make corrections, then you just have accept a degree of minor warping.

4 July 2007 at 01:08:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nerd question: how much bigger than the printed art are your originals?

4 July 2007 at 01:26:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

FRom hell ws drawn on A3 size pages, which is 16 by 11 approx.
Nowadays i've been getting smaller, by which i mean a3 but with a bigger margin around all four sides. (The printed sizes are getting smaller, so it's logical that the art should too

4 July 2007 at 01:36:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Tom Abba said...

I'm sure it's called gum strip in the UK. Or maybe that's just in the north.

4 July 2007 at 02:23:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Dave Shelton said...

Gum strip, or gummed strip, here (Cambridge, UK)

4 July 2007 at 03:33:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Throw it in the fire! Throw it in the fire!

Mick with a capital M unlike that chap you refer to in your 'blog' (shudders inwardly)

4 July 2007 at 03:37:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Steve said...

When I had a go at doing comics I bought that special paper like you are supposed to, and ended up doing it on the back of the waste paper from work, which I guess is laser printer paper, because the proper paper was so expensive I didn't want to make mistakes on it. Never worked out if I preferred a pen or a brush before I gave it all up and threw it in the fire, so I never worked out what paper suited best. Happy days.

4 July 2007 at 04:57:00 GMT-5  
Blogger James Robert Smith said...

I don't have to work tomorrow. I'm going to hit the local superstores and nab a copy of the new book.

4 July 2007 at 09:42:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CS10 paper was indeed lovely, and sadly no no longer available!

4 July 2007 at 10:50:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eddie Campbell: Paper Connoisseur. If it was once wood-pulp he's drawn on it.
"It has a rich, fibrous body with a tantalizing texture, notably acid-free. The heady aroma is reminiscent of a wholesome, almost provincial setting. In the sediment of the paper we can see flecks, if you will, of a darker wood, with an implication of mahogany, or possibly larch*. Overall it evokes feelings of deep forests, exotic spices, and rugged lumberjacks on the rivers of British Columbia with their syrupy, syrupy pancakes**."

My comparison. However I wonder if wood pulp was ever pressed beneath the feet of joyous Greek villagers, as the wine was for the appreciative revellers and gods (or so Disney's 'Fantasia' tells me)...
Egads! Be that the case, is then Eddie the 'Bacchus' of paper??

That tied in by accident, I assure you. And clumsily so.

*If you know Monty Python well enough, you'll understand "the Larch".
** And the Lumberjacks.

(For contribution, Steph draws on whatever paper can handle her punishing pencil lines and flooding watercolours, but it doesn't matter because most of her stuff is done on Photoshop anyways)

I need to make my comments shorter.

4 July 2007 at 11:18:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction: Bacchus = Roman.
Dionysus = Greek.
Same god, essentially....

Almost the perfect 'crime'. :(
Curse you monentary lapse of trivial knowledge!

4 July 2007 at 13:44:00 GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

Never mind a bath, a shower usually does the job (although at school we had to make do with a thoroughly soaked sponge).

4 July 2007 at 15:36:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of "My Dead Grandmother Keeps Getting Mail" was done on standard sketch paper. When the ink washes buckled the pages, I just ironed them on a low setting under a cover sheet of heavier stock. This worked for the most part, though there were a couple of pages that puckered around the edges. No adverse effects to the image.

At the advice of a friend, I've taken to doing my 24-Hour Comics on the matte-side of standard comic book backing boards. These are nice to bottled inks and Sharpies, but industrial markers like the Magnum 44 tends to pool on the glossy backing then leech beyond the surface lines.

5 July 2007 at 17:44:00 GMT-5  

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