Comix Engine 3

Part of the need to express oneself through a variety of media has to do with a terrible strain of creative restlessness. Even within the very same medium, I can get a little restless, and that is perhaps not-so-secretly why I wrote/designed THE SOLAR GRID to incorporate numerous illustration styles, whereby different points in the timeline are given a different visual treatment.

Another reason is to test out the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. One very important “strength” to take into consideration when making comix is speed.

I conducted a little survey on my Kickstarter backers about their favorite TSG style, and much to my surprise… two of my fastest styles came out on top!

Fast syles - from THE SOLAR GRID

Style on the left-hand side (which we’ll nickname… the Templesink), gets its speed from its looseness and heavy reliance on atmospheric “suggestion” for backgrounds and environment. Although it utilizes a wide variety of media in its execution (nib+ink, pencils, black and white ink washes, geso, blowdryer, all on brown-tinted kraft paper), it still allows for speedy implementation due to its nonchalance for accuracy or lack thereof. Also, you’d be surprised how much time not having to draw in proper gutters will save you. I remember at some point in the book, I knocked out about 4 pages a day done in just this style.

You might say the style on the right-hand side (which we shall nickname the Eurofrank) is the polar opposite of the Templesink. It utilizes one single tool instead of several—namely a 0.1 mm Staedtler Pigment Marker—thereby eliminating any variation in line weight. It features no shading whatsoever, and thus allows for a complete disregard for light and shadow. It does mean that you have to put in the line-art for every little thing quite clearly (none of the murky suggestiveness of the Templesink), but the need for only one single drawing tool on top of the unconcern for shadow work make this approach a major time-saver as well.

This is good to know when considering what style to employ for future comix projects; projects that—unlike THE SOLAR GRID—won’t necessarily require stylistic variation within the same yarn. I think it’s safe to say that the Templesink proooobably works best for comix intended to be in black and white, while the Eurofrank is kind of more suited for color.