Even Better Than the Real Thing

I love looking at original comic book art.  I have a few pages of art from ‘Batman’ by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen, ‘Halo and Sprocket’ by Kerry Callen and a few pages by Kevin Cannon from a few of his books.  What drew me to a lot of independent comics was how much of the art was done by hand, whereas a lot of manga is aided by computers and superhero comics are done by many different people for the art, such as the penciler, inker and letterer.

Most of the stuff I like is pretty much done without the assistance of Photoshop.  I still can’t get over Stan Sakai doing everything by hand, from the texturing to the lettering.  I did Uptown Girl with only ink and paper for most of my career.  I remember feeling conflicted when I started doing color covers with Photoshop.  I played around with grayscaling from time to time, and even did a whole story that way.  Brian Bastian actually did the grayscaling for that story.  It was also the first time computer lettering was used in an Uptown Girl comic.  I didn’t really want to use computer lettering for Uptown Girl but I knew it was likely inevitable.  It does make things a lot easier when I misspell a word and I don’t have to use White-Out to correct it.

As I start the third graphic novel, I find the pull to use computers a little stronger than before.  I used Photoshop for lettering and touching up the panels in ‘Big City Secrets’ and ‘Perfect World’ but that was really it.  But like the lettering, I think using Photoshop is becoming more inevitable.  Since I will scan in the artwork and adjust it, it’s changing the way I create the original artwork more than I thought I’d be comfortable with.  I just hope I never depend on it too much and get lazy.

Here is a three page sequence from the third book where Uptown Girl considers joining a gym after seeing a commercial.  The artwork here is the original art.  You’ll notice a lot of ‘x’ marks which is a visual reminder to me to blacken in that part of the page in Photoshop.  You’ll also notice on the second page that there is almost nothing there as I planned on copying panel 2 for panel 3 with a few minor tweaks.  It bugs me when I read a comic and the same art is used for a few panels, but if it’s done sparingly and at a minimum then I think it’s okay.

So that’s the original artwork.  Since I knew the page would change quite a bit after I played around with it in Photoshop, I wasn’t sure if I liked these pages yet.  I had planned on starting scanning the artwork after I got to around 50 pages but I wanted to finish these pages so I knew if I had to redraw them.

So, here they are:

So.  I guess I like them okay.  I can move on.  I like how these pages look, they look better than the original art, the real thing but I hope I don’t rely on Photoshop too much in the future.


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