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    Some of my black and white line work stretching back twenty years using a variety of tools and techniques, from photocopying, biro, toothbrush, l… Read More
    Some of my black and white line work stretching back twenty years using a variety of tools and techniques, from photocopying, biro, toothbrush, line and spatter. Read Less
Time to air a few of my scribbles. It's nice to have the photoshop work on show, but sometimes it's more fun to just rely on the immediacy of black line. I'm still wading through different pens and paper surfaces to see what works well. I've just switched to fountain pens (one in particular: a vintage Waterman with a flexible gold nib), also use some rough brushes, and my particular all time favourite—a toothbrush caked in dried ink for both spatter and barely controlled messy marks.
These two are almost antique. They accompanied a short story in Interzone magazine easily two decades ago, probably about 1990. The line work is a bizarre mixture of controlled and random with a photocopy of some net curtain thrown in too. Despite their age, not bad.
In terms of technique I'm more of a scribbler than a finished penciller followed by slow tracing. I like the mess a toothbrush or other rough brush can create, along with splatter, then bringing a bit of order in with some line work.
Referring to known artists, I don't think anyone comes close to Bill Sienkiewicz's black and white work in comics (his work on Elektra was also the ONLY time I was ever gobsmacked by a comic). I also love Duncan Fegredo's early work on Enigma before he simplified. Dave McKean also did one issue of Hellblazer that was superbly drafted—Hold Me. Others that spring to mind, Berni Wrightson on Frankenstein—amazing—obviously strongly influenced by Franklin Booth. John Tottleben also outstanding.
A couple of panels from a comic experiment—close to actual size
The most recent offering on here, drawn after a long period of inactivity. See the alternate colour version here. Despite some nice touches here and there, overall it's an undisciplined mix. The first panel is a mess, the second shows some improvement: I like the rough brush stroke on the cuff, the face, and the use of brush on the larger hand. It's just about finding the right balance. I don't think a woolly fibre-tip combines well with brush work, hence the switch to fountain pen after this. I also dropped on some lettratone sheet offcuts that have been sitting in a box for years.
This enlargement demonstrates my dislike of soft-tipped fibre pens. The lines are just too woolly and the ends of the lines a rather non-descript shape. This marks my switch to flexible vintage fountain pens (not dip pens—I haven't the patience to keep dipping or the fortitude to ignore the probability of the blot disaster—when too much ink is carried from the bottle and dropped where it shouldn't).
Two more older comic trial pages from a script written by the Hellraiser actor Nicholas Vince, maybe 15 years ago and modelled by an old college mate who went on to become an animator on The Lord of the Rings films, Carlos Rosas.
DUNE 1991
Lastly, in 1991, a time when I was just getting into Frank Herbert's work. I'd just painted his portrait from a photo on the sleeves of his books (which you can see here) and was scribbling Bene Gesserit sisters from the Dune novels. The first larger one is fibre-tip and toothbrush, the second quick scribble just plain old disposable biro but I find it quite appealing still. The original is about 3 cm square.