Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Josh and Caleb, Chapter 1: The Mission / Episode 01

DIRECTOR'S COMMENTARY: The top image was the first one I drew of Josh and Caleb. I did a lot of sketching while working as a Teaching Assistant with at-risk kids in an elementary school, and came up with the design in two or three passes. I was attempting to play around with Japanese-style comic art, so it was a departure from my own style. It took me until the fourth chapter of Josh and Caleb to make the approach my own, and since then, I've continued integrating the way I used to draw characters (more lifelike) with this clean-line approach (more stylized).

I was simultaneously learning how to colour art in Photoshop, so in addition to some sloppy artwork, there is some sloppy colouring in these first pages. I was far too enamoured with the burning and dodging approach of light and shadow, but found tutorials on channels and multiplying brushes overwhelming. At the time, I still thought I could punch this whole thing out in a season of Lent, and was working with speed, not accuracy.
Despite these problems, there are still items I love about these opening frames: Igal,the guy in orange next to Moses in the group shot felt like a stroke of genius - name brand clothing from the Bronze age; establishing Josh's "gee-whiz" idealism and naivety next to Caleb's ironic cynicism; and the opening shot, which was a photograph made to look more cartoony. At the time, it felt like cheating, but I've since learned that many of the artists I admire use these approaches now. It certainly provided a foundation for the rising sun as back light.

I've lost the original Photoshop files of these images, so if demand proves high enough and this ever goes to print, this will all get recoloured. It would be good to have the opportunity to fix what I don't like about these pages, making the colouring more consistent with the end of the series. But as a progress chart, it certainly tells me how I improved over the course of producing the strip.

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