On Comics and Coming Full Circle.

Comic-style Landscape 3, Sept. 16, 2014Comic-style Landscape 2, Sept. 16, 2014Comic-style Landscape 1, Sept. 16, 2014

Ah, finally a good studio day! And I didn’t even get the paints out. Instead, I put my touchscreen laptop to good use and figured out how to use my Freshpaint program to digitally paint onto existing watercolours, just adding some comic-style outlining to them. I hadn’t been as happy with how finicky using a real brush to outline onto the paintings was, and I have been meaning to try out digital painting for a while.

I love how versatile doing the outlining on the computer is–I can un-do brushstrokes or colours, and I can do multiple versions from a single painting until I get what I want. I even have a “digital” paintbrush that I got specifically for touchscreens. I don’t know if it is much different from using a real paintbrush on the touchscreen (if that even works, I’ll admit I have not tried it), but the brush was on sale so I thought I would try it.

At first I thought that my interest in doing these comic-style watercolours had come from reading a lot more comics since we opened up our comic store, but the other day my husband pointed out that I was doing this back in University. How would I forget that? Maybe because it was met with disapproval at the time–I was doing acrylic portraits and then drawing back onto them and outlining with charcoal. I was told that drawing did not belong in a painting course, and I nearly failed the course because of it–and would have had it not been for the other instructors who defended me. Blah, I get stressed just thinking about it. It is interesting that 10 years later I am back to doing something similar, maybe I am finally continuing on with what I had actually started back then.

Even so, I have definitely been inspired by comic books. One of my biggest “Aha” moments came when I was reading about how the Saga series is illustrated by Fiona Staples. She does it all digitally and in layers and she is phenomenal. I tried to meet her at the Calgary Comic Expo this year, but the wait was so long; then I became too self-conscious about what I would say to her when I finally got there, so I chickened out. At the time I was also cos-playing as one of the main characters from Saga (Alana) which was only making me more nervous. Oh well, maybe next time I’ll catch her.

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