Sunday, September 19, 2021

Original Art Sundays No. 284: The Third Sharp Invitation, last page

 Concluding this short but important chapter.

This is the aftermath and the prelude to the next chapter. If you were reading along in the actual book, this page would be a teaser. But if you've been following for a while, you've already read 19 pages of the next chapter, making the teaser somewhat anticlimactic.

Anyway, here we go.

When we left our heroine (me), she was contemplating the aftermath of her surgery. The naming of that procedure is constantly shifting. It used to be called sex change. Then it was gender reassignment. Then it was gender confirmation. I haven't kept up, but I think we're still using that term, so we'll go with that for now. It's also a term that makes sense, which I think overrides squabbles about nomenclature.

In any event, she was eager to set the world afire now that she wasn't constrained by body/mind incongruity.

And of course, it didn't go that way.


I had done this page about a year ago, just before the move to my first owned home (hooray!). It had different text and was intended as the end of the next chapter. That page is still somewhere in the storage bin. I opted to redo it, rather than dig through everything looking for the older one. I like this version better than that one. It's very simple. 

It's far from mechanically accurate, but that wasn't what I wanted. Technical drawing is not right for this page. This was one of those times when the world goes out of focus and you feel somewhat lost. I wanted to convey sparseness and a slight sense of disorientation.

The sky textures and the bus texture are Photoshop. Simple filters and the Fade command. I rather like the way the sky turned out. I had intended that what are perceived as stars be snowflakes, but rather than dink around with minutiae, I just went with it. Terry Moore draws such great snowflakes! Context from the surrounding pages will also clarify that it's winter. The ground texture is the joy of hand work. I do love the meditative quality of rendering random patterns.

Equipment and tools:

  • Canson Bristol Board
  • Lead Holder with 3B lead
  • Various erasers
  • Sumi-E ink
  • Windsor & Newton 680 1/4", Dick Blick #6 round synthetic, Princeyon #10 Round, Royal #8 flat angled brushes
  • Tight Spot correction brush
  • FW Acrylic white
  • Micron #.1, .2, .3, .5, .8, 1.0
  • Trusty Ames lettering guide
  • Photoshop

Next: a recap of the next chapter to date, then some concluding pages to that one. Four or five chapters of varying length to go before this book is done.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Original Art Sundays No. 283: The Third Sharp Invitation, p. 5

 Here is the penultimate page of this crucial but comparatively short chapter!


My body never looks better than when I draw it! I don't know if that's false advertising or wishful thinking.

Text is crucial on this page. Economy of words is vital here. As I tell my writing students, communicate more with less and trust your audience to fill in the blanks.

I don't have to worry about not having enough black on this page! The background is sparse by choice. Originally, I thought of doing a grayed back collage of previous moments from the story, but the more I played with the idea, the more it seemed both contrived and visually confusing. Dramatic collage in comics is very difficult to pull off. Jack Kirby's collages were ambitious but clumsy, at least to my eyes.

On the figure, I could have done more internal inks, shadows of body contours and such. I usually do such on draped figures more than on nudes. Now that circumstance are conducive to it, it might be time to get back to a figure drawing co-op. You learn so much from drawing the human figure!

Reversed lettering is a challenge. There are three basic approaches, and I've done all three. You either ink around the individual characters, use white ink after filling in your blacks, or just use the lettering tool in Photoshop. I opted for the third, using the Comic Craft typeface The Sculptor from the Scott McCloud book I so revere.

Not sure if there are one or two more pages to this chapter. It's set up for one, which will serve as prelude to the Curt chapter (already 19 pages posted on that one).

Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with this page!


  • Canson Bristol Board
  • Lead holder with no. 3B leads
  • Various erasers
  • Tech markers: Micron numbers .01, .03, .05, .08 and 1.0
  • Sumi-E black ink
  • FW Acrylic White
  • Crow quill nib and holder
  • Brushes: Royal synthetic angle flat no. 8, Blick round synthetic no. 6, Sceptre Gold sable/synthetic no. 0, Tight Spot for corrections

Next: the conclusion and lead-in to the big chapter, already in progress!