Tonight I was roughing out some panels: laying down the “pencil” underdrawing in preparation for the final “inking”. All this is done digitally, of course. When I’m working on the underdrawing, I set the Photoshop layer opacity to 40%, which I feel subconsciously soothes me into drawing looser, since the lines don’t look as dark and menacing.
Well tonight, I just happened to be using two layers for the underdrawing, and I happened to bump one of the layers up to 100%. This was the effect:
And, well… I kinda love it! Dark lines for the figures, grey lines for the shading. The looseness of this drawing also attracts me. I’d be very happy if this, right here, were the final art.
Of course, if I start working in this manner, I would have to go back and re-do everything I’ve already done — a years worth of drawings. But I’m coming to realize I’m going to have to go back and re-do the first couple chapters anyway, because I’m just now getting comfortable drawing my characters. Hell, I didn’t even figure out how to draw a tree I like until page 35. If I were to transition to this looser style with simple shading, it would allow me to re-do those earlier pages quicker, and also move swiftly through the remainder of the book.
I’ll be thinking about this.
But really, my main insight tonight was this: I’m happy. I’m happy, I’m happy, I’m happy!!! After 6 years struggling to teach myself to draw. After all the uncertainty and sacrifice. After all the fucking pain that comes with being an artist!! I’m so pleased with where my art is. I feel like I can draw. I feel like I can create worlds. I feel happy.
And I continue to get better. What will I be creating in 6 more years?