Sunday, August 29, 2021

Original Art Sundays No. 282: The Third Sharp Invitation, p.4

 Here we go with another new page. 

To recap, the book's title, Sharp Invitations, refers to the things that you want that cause you pain. You're pulled towards them and afraid of them, even though you want them.

In case you've lost track, here's what's gone before, documented in previous chapters. My first sharp invitation was my impulse to touch the blade of a push lawn mower when I was five. My second was my attempt to hang myself when I was eleven over being trans, though I didn't yet have the language for it.

My third sharp invitation was gender confirming surgery. That's where we are now, in the aftermath of the surgery, still in the hospital, with me drifting in and out of awareness.

Tried to keep this one simple. I finally got back into real ink! My walnut ink is lighter than I recall from my last bottle, even with darkening medium added. So I fell back on my monster sized bottle of Sumi-E ink.

The textures in the last panel are simple Photoshop fills. A couple minor fixes are necessary before going to press, but this one is pretty much there.

I just made up the skyline in the window. It's very much like the skyline I used as a background/environment on the cover of my first self-published work, Ink Tantrums, about a hundred years ago.

The middle tier feels a little light, which is common in my work. In this case, I'm okay with it, because it's balanced by the weight of the images around it, and because coming out of anesthetic is a very soft experience. 

The face in the last panel really got away from me! Grr! I compensated by re-drawing it, but still wasn't happy with it. My ultimate solution was to just take the face from the top tier, copy into a new Photoshop layer and goose it a bit. It works now.

Materials for this page:

  • T-Square, Ames lettering guide, Canson Bristol board
  • Lead holder, #3B leads, eraser
  • Black Walnut ink and darkening medium, Sumi-E ink
  • Crow quill pen and nib
  • Brushes: No. 2 Kolinsky, No. 4 Richeson synthetic, Tight Spot for corrections
  • Chartpak black marker
  • Tech markers: .01, .05, .08, 1.0 
  • And of course, Photoshop 2019

There are two pages left to this chapter. It segues into the chapter on Curt. I've already published 19 + pages of that chapter, so I will do some editing before concluding it. The chapter, in many ways the core of the book, has evolved considerably from its original 5 pages of crude sketches in the draft version!

Next: the penultimate page of this chapter.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Original Art Sundays no. 281: The Third Sharp Invitation, p. 3

 Back in the saddle again!

The story is reasonably predictable, but necessary, at this point. I'm in hospital, as the British say, and surgery is imminent. I freely stole this visual idea from myself. This is a theme that I used in a Tranny Towers strip about surgery: the idea of talking heads drifting in and out of the patient's mind as anesthetic takes hold. I also reincorporated the concept of one person's line leading to the next person, using words as "connecting footage". 

Thoughts on style:

The flowing smoky bits behind the spectral images can be read as many different things: positive shapes, negative shapes, abstract landscape, even cowhide! As long as they convey the overall sense of non-place, I'm content. I'm so tickled by leaving out the borders here and there.

Getting the overhead lights in the operating theater to "read" the way I wanted them to was a bit of a challenge. But once I decided on a neutral value instead of a cluster of smaller lights, I just needed my trusty graphite stick and I was in business.

For some reason, drawing the mask was an irritant! Possibly a psychosomatic reaction to the world of the last 18 months.

Still not quite back to real inks! My studio space is just about the way I want it, but I want a precise, pristine space before I jump into ink again. Amazing how owning your home instead of renting changes your perspective on some things...

I am feeling renewed conviction and confidence in the work. As I noted with joy the evolution of trans communities in recent years, I spent considerable time (probably too much time) pondering whether my story retained any relevance. I finally concluded that this wasn't my decision. I am committing (or trying to) to the mantra of just putting it out there and trusting my readers to see its merits for themselves.


Canson Bristol
Lead Holder
No. 3 graphite stick
Various erasers
Micron tech pens, .01, .03, .05, .08, 1.0
Old school Chartpak black marker (for large areas)
Faber Castell brush markers, small and large
Tight Spot correction brush
FW Acrylic White for corrections
Photoshop for a bit of clean up

Next: Surgery, awakening