I hope you enjoy this spread because I thought about it way to much. For a simple comic-page layout, I must have sketched 20 versions before finally satisfied. I had the idea of splitting the cats head into different panels early on and it opened a giant can of worms. You might also notice the greenish red hand behind the cat which was another time-suck for me. I still don’t know how obvious I want this hand to be. At one point I had a shadow on the cats body but that never looked quite right.
On the right side is my ode to Christian Schellewald I guess. You see, I bought his book, LA/SF, at the San Diego Comic Con in 2006 after looking through the entire convention. It was one of the only books that really stood out to me, besides Joshua Middleton’s Sky Between Branches. Schellewald’s book is filled with amazing little guasch paintings and sketches of completely normal things. Mostly streets, airplanes, and palm trees, but with every sketch is an amazing composition and what amazed me most was his use of negative space. Almost an entire panel would be painted white and then the lower third would be a cool tree or something. This really opened my eyes to a few things. One, negative space is a really good thing. And two, the whole guash painting approach is a good thing too. I know what you are thinking right now. This guy can’t write to save his life. I know, I know, I may not be J.K. Rowling when it comes to sharing my thoughts but I sure know when I love an artistic style.
Schellewald’s and Middleton’s books are some of the biggest influences on this graphic novel. Middleton’s sketches on his blog just make my head spin. You might have to dig a little for them but it’s worth it.
Anyway, I loved the negative space idea and as you can see, I wholeheartedly applied it to the right side of this page.
Below are a few of the steps that I had to take to get this finished spread.
A step is missing here where I blew up this thumbnail and printed it on 8.5 x 11 paper and traced over it using tracing paper and a bald point pen.
This is the final line work after blowing it up again and printing it on two sheets of legal paper (8.5 x 14) taped together. I used a light table, bristol board and a mechanical pencil. Scanned to Photoshop, adjusted the contrast and presto.