Argh, this is awkward.
First I settled on digital linework praising its speed and precision over pen and paper, before pining for ink once again under the oppressive glare of my monitor. Big surprise, I’ve changed my mind yet again. I hate being so fickle all the time but I’m increasingly finding it’s better to go with the project’s flow than continue in ill-suited vein out of sheer embarrassment.
My issues with Corel and Photoshop haven’t vanished but almost as soon as I began drawing up the current page with my former methods I felt something was wrong.
When I say ‘wrong’ I don’t mean in terms of my enjoyment of drawing by hand – that’s unlikely to fade anytime soon – rather how the work fitted with its predecessors; I couldn’t shake the sense that I was wrenching open a chasm in the midst of the comic. While its been a cumbersome improvised evolution, there has been a progression of style throughout the twenty current pages which I think has been for the better.
The art’s become crisper and more cohesive in appearance, with a far greater consistency than the initial pages too. The specifically hand drawn touches I used to apply such as heavy hatching weren’t bad in and of themselves but they seemed an increasingly poor fit given Branch’s tone. Cyberpunk is a typically cold genre and while the warmth of traditional art might benefit a different story or look, here it seemed to be working against what I’ve been trying to establish.
As I’ve explained extensively before, I may have some issues with making art digitally but the end results are far more satisfactory to me than their hand drawn equivalent and in the end that seems to be a greater priority. There’s nothing stopping me from drawing for recreational purposes outside of the project and I’ll still be sketching the rough pages no matter what; occasionally digital methods can be a drag but no one ever said this would be easy (least of all me).
More than anything else though, the sensation which plagued me reverting back to my fineliners was of taking a step backwards, losing progress and a danger of alienating readers. I’m hoping most will be able to overlook the slight tweaks to the art style early on as the quirks of an artist in development, however, if I begin jumping back and forth between methods I’m worried the effect created will be a great deal more irritating; fracturing the comic’s sense of continuity and the credibility of its story world.
Digital love? Not quite, there are still areas of production which have me tearing my hair out but overall it seems my initial hunches were right; digital colour AND linework is the way to go and in the long run I feel certain Branch will be bettered by it.
And yes, to back up all that ranting the next page is almost done. If it isn’t finished before the weekend I then I personally give you permission to tar, feather and run me out of town!*