Page 13- Action, Style, Motion, Camera Angles and Fluid Motion.
This page is something I am really proud of in the original execution, and I am really happy with the inks which took the pencils to a new level. In particular the head shot panel – keeping track of a shattered skull is not easy! The final panel with the blood arc from the face is also a highlight for me in finding motion in still life.
I also really kept the camera moving from an odd yet complicated overhead establishing shot- to the smoking bandit’s “chest up shot” to Elijah’s dive under a hail of bullets- to the Chinaman really getting his run on in the top center panel.
Story wise-’ this page is maybe 5 seconds of action, but it’s a great quick run to page 14…..
Page 12- Changes Changes Changes- from the Chinaman in panel #2 being almost totally changed to Elijan next to him being signifigantly altered… At least the decapitated Injun is still in the front row! This page was a tough one- part of using odd angles (like panel two- ugh!) to have unique visuals makes getting it all right that much tougher, but this page turned out well all the same when the inks dried! And I used a large black area in panel two on the bottom of El Alacran’s sombrero- which for me is uncharacteristic on a character, but this worked for some unknown reason. I just love the showdown in panel 3 being foreshadowed- now this was also a nod to page #2, panel 1 (see single panel below final inked page)- where Chinaman’s shadow is alone 10 pages earlier, now he is teamed up with his former enemy, Elijah Holman- thus two shadows, and a different (armed!) hand in the top foreground of Elijah shows that the new unlikely partners are ready for some deadly action with El Alacran’s band of killers!
Page 11- 50% of Painted Ladies of San Quentin- in the bag… The page has three action packed panels- the biggest challenge- getting INJUN done just right- I changed his body, I changed his face, and I changed his head- and it all worked. Dude looks intense, just like the hand to hand killer I wanted him to be, and Chinaman, dude is a stone cold killer with a sword- I love how we just see him motionless after the quick decapitation in panel two. For me this page just worked- and the tweaks on the face in panel one with the change in torso layout and waist height made it work, and panel two had a few tweaks to get that scream being “cut off” just right -no pun intended! The final panel’s silent recognition of the two former enemies while INJUN just takes that kinetic energy falling off the page sets the stage for the next act with El Alacran’s Men….
Pencils, progress inks, corrections on inks and final inks included below.
This page had several challenges to bring it to inked completion.
#1- getting the space right- where is INJUN in realtionship to El Alacran, to Elijah to the Chinaman- the top panel lays that out well and then shows us El Alacran coming into the scene.
#2- Getting the El Alacran Gang done right- there are a slew of small changes from pencils to final inks, but it looks solid and kep tthe character designs and overall menacing look good witht he larger pinup panel at bottom.
#3- Inks- Lots of overlaying textures and shapes in the bottom panel- it was a tough row to hoe, but the overlapping elements work to build a 3-D space while not having any visual issues- primarily eliminating tangents- what is a tangent- well Ryan Pancoast gives a great explanation here.
Overall- I felt the inks worked with the pencils to keep the style theme and mood together, and the page also kept the story moving ahead-
Page 9 – 100% done and ready to color….
So another insanely complicated piece to ink fraught with tough spots – Injun’s left hand still haunts me… but the final product nailed it- from the characters far off in the background, the tough to ink tassel leather pants, the rubble on the demolished building, it all worked. And we moved the story, added some tough and different angles, and went from closeups of Chinaman and Elijah to some wide angle shots- a really hard page, but it paid off artistically and in moving the story forward appropriately. I changed the wood rubble to a rope in the final inks, thanks to Dave Sharpe for the push to do this- nice change, it works.
Included are pencils, and a middle ink, with only basic lines, no shading or rendering for comparison.
Page 8 of PLOSQ- 100% inked and ready to go to color…
Still on a page a week schedule, and this page was ambitious, maybe one of my most ambitious pages yet- the angles, shading, stark changes in perspective, motion and close ups (really digging the fist and outfit of Chinaman in Panel #1!) really have this 3 panel set moving and pushing the action between Chinaman and Elijah, and introducing INJUN, my one man killing machine! Enjoy the inks, and prior pencils and lets keep this story moving to completion!
Page 7 of 22 is now inked and in the can. The big changes were in the bottom panel- altering the cowboy hat to the correct height, giving Elijah more “anger” in his eyes, and increasing the size of the gun/hand- all three edits really improved the dramatic impact of that panel as you can see from pencils to inks in the two images below. Lots of linework to keep the old world feel in the textures of the inks as it relates to fabric, leather, metal etc.
Im realizing as I ink this story, that it is really intimate and alot of small interactions with some well fleshed out characters, and less “large scale” like last year’s “Through the Eyes of Grizelda” which had alot of crowds and masses of background characters.
The action pinup page of “Painted Ladies of San Quentin” in full inks!
The big changes were the hand , and horse’s eye location (anatomy) and the gun (Technical Corrections).
The fun inking parts were the Chinaman’s textured clothing, and the close up cross hatching on Elijah’s arm as we get a POV of the Gunslinger in action for the first time. The up close foreground cross hatching which was a fun effect I hadnt done before, and I will definitely use again! The story here is in the action, or a picture is worth 1000 words!
And in this case, one big word- BANG!
Page 5 is now 100% inked- with changes on 2 of 4 of the panels. Panels 1 & 2 were originally to close out the flashback by showing Elijah looking at Jessica while passing out- this received some fairly constant criticism as a storytelling device that didnt work. Local author Abby Assetto pointed out that in the later parts of the story- we see an emotional response from Jessica about the Sheriff getting hurt/killed and that we never established a romantic emotional relationship with them, so I killed two birds with one stone- eliminating the two “eye closing” panels and adding two new ones to show a sexual relationship with Sheriff and Jessica, and also the type of relationship- combined with the hit to the head, and Elijah thinking Sheriff would help at the burning building he now sees that the power behind the Sheriff pulling his strings is Jessica… this is a mini-reveal, Elijah thought he was good- and symbolically, the hands are digging into him like a spider…. while also giving evidence of a physical intimate relationship. It just worked- thanks Abby. The last two panels had that great old time engraving look are a great segueway into page 6- the shooting pinup!
Below is the final page- the non shaded inks, the corrected pencilled panels and original pencils.
Page 4 of 22 is now 100% inked- this page had some great texturing, with an experimental textured technique that pays homage to the incredible pen and ink techniques of Edward Gorey since I am a big fan of his parallel line style, I wanted to put my spin on his style of penwork, I think it succeeded in giving this panel a unique look to the rear parts of the shadowed characters. Stipling and linework added some really detailed facial work on panels 2 and 3 to the foreground characters. Finally a gradation in the stipled background to focus on the action in panel helped highlight the original pencil work. I was going to use a manga style “kinetic” background but went in a more traditional direction in the style of the woodcut/old time art of the rest of the story I have been going for since the cover artwork.
Now the biggest issue of this page was Jessica in Panel #3- I struggled with this, and Nate Stemen and Joe Freistuhler tried to tell me it was off, and while I tried to fix it, I didnt get it, and my good friend Dani Kaulakis really called it out, so I had to do some surgery with Kristen at Jaru to do a new piece of art and then superimpose it over panel 3 to get it right – the original inked panel #3 Jessica was too far gone, but I think the new piece is killer and I’m glad I did th work to change it- thanks Dani and Kristen!!
Im including the original pencils- to the bad first ink on panel #3 and the whole repair process to the new page- enjoy the process!