Tuesday 4 September 2007

As promised, the original pages from The Black Diamond Detective Agency are now on sale at The Beguiling. Note that all pages have been signed by me in pencil since those scans were made. I'll put a permanent link in the sidebar in case you take a notion later. Meanwhile...

2: More on zipatones. Here's Dave Sim making an in-joke on the cover of Cerebus #207 about the way I tended to use the stuff.

I wanted to create a painterly style, as opposed to a drawn one constructed with lines. Normal comicbook drawing has always looked dead on the page to my eyes. I needed a style that could suggest light and air. I'd dab in black ink marks, lay down tonal slabs not necessarily contained by lines, and then dab white paint on top of that. If you click to zoom you can see the textures.

The above is a window box of flowers in a foreground, if you're the sort of viewer to whom such things matter. Below is a panel I was always happy with. The only significant drawn line in it is made by the diagonal cut edge of tone in the left foreground.

The above are from images I scanned in enlargements from Alec: The King Canute Crowd (circa 1985-86) and offered to Ca et La to use as chapter headings and endpapers in their edition last year, but they preferred to go with a different approach.
In my last few books I've used actual paint in full colour and no longer need to find ways to simulate 'painterly' effects. I miss the old dots though... maybe time to get back to them for a spell.



Blogger mrjslack said...

i remember telling someone that i wished i could use letratone half as good as you, back in the day.
you're the only person i ever saw use it in a painterly style... laying it done as if from a brush, rather than something just stuck down.

the farts coming out of the man-holes ( not nearly as gay as it sounds ) i remember being another whimsical touch i always liked.

4 September 2007 at 01:15:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Nicki Greenberg said...

Wow. The Black Diamond originals look amazing. Even on screen, you get a great sense of the liveliness & texture of the paint on paper. I don't know how you can part with them.

4 September 2007 at 05:23:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey eddie,
thanks for the link to Black diamond orignals, they look great like the chap above says...ahh wheres my money?
Really like the stuff on Zipatone, your use of it is second to none, as demonstrated with the examples in your post. I like to use it myself when I can get hold of it (most comic shops seem to stock it with those managa 'how to..'books). Although you say you used it to get painterly effect, I think it is something unique and pleasing, would love to see you go back it..gotta love the dots!
lee paul christien

4 September 2007 at 05:32:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That panel of the number 20 bus to Hullbridge that used to leave from the rear entry of Sainsbury's at the side of Keddie's is quite possibly the most evocative illustration that anyone has ever drawn. That bus driver is asking for 20 pence in change. Not 18 pence. Not 22 pence. 20 pence. It is a Smiths' song constructed from letratone. It is Billy Bragg lyrics embellished with Tippex. Everyone of those people queing has been drinking cheap cooking lager and will probably have burned pork chops for tea. They've missed Crossroads, and probably Man About the House. It quite literally made me nausious with nostalgia...

Anyway, I had drinks with Bruce Tyrrell tonight. The new Vat 47 is a killer.

4 September 2007 at 05:40:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Hayley Campbell said...

....You mean there was a time when bus drivers gulp! SPOKE?!

Here's a link for all the Londoners on this lovely sunny day in the middle of the tube strike.

4 September 2007 at 08:04:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always called the hand use of zip a tone - and yours specifically, SCULPTURAL.

The effect of carving, placing, layering to me was such a solid, wonderfully coarse experience. I did my first books with real tone. To save time, everything since then has been on the computer, which is far less enjoyable. (I've taken to scraping small mishaps off my bristol that I might otherwise have whited-out, to bring back that coarse relationship with the paper.)

(As a teacher, I strangely see these days lots of kids inspired by manga who are eager to use hand tones, though these tones could have complex shading, effects and even gigantic images printed on them. Entire city scapes! Don't know where that will lead.)

4 September 2007 at 09:33:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Hayley Campbell said...

I always loved that one-pager you did about the zipatones you wouldn't use in a pink fit.

4 September 2007 at 09:47:00 GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

Mine, mine, MINE !
Those originals are MINE !

Sorry about that.

4 September 2007 at 13:55:00 GMT-5  
Blogger James Robert Smith said...

That's the main thing that finally turned me off to CEREBUS: the in-jokes and the fact that the whole thing had to almost be read with keys that lay within popular superhero comics. It was an impossible book to get non-comics fans to read. It had no appeal whatsoever to those outside of superhero comics fandom.

Speaking as a former retailer.

4 September 2007 at 18:37:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Kimota94 aka Matt aka AgileMan said...

Hey Eddie, did I die and go to Heaven? The Beguiling (located only about 200 km from where I live) is selling the artwork? Sounds like a wee trip to Toronto is called for, and hopefully I can come home with some more Campbell artwork. Oh.. am I crazy in thinking that the originals are in Toronto, now that I think about it? Hmmmm..

5 September 2007 at 21:38:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Yes indeed, they're all in Toronto

5 September 2007 at 21:40:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Kimota94 aka Matt aka AgileMan said...

Fantastic! I just put my "reserve" in for pages 54 and 105 (via e-mail) and hopefully will be picking them up on Saturday. It's still boggles my mind that someone who lives as far away as you do is selling your artwork so nearby, but I ain't complaining! The Beguiling has an excellent reputation around these parts so you've made a great choice.

6 September 2007 at 19:11:00 GMT-5  

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