Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Mezzotint

It's not everyday you get to tell people you worked on a project like this. I was contacted by SelfMadeHero some months back about working on an anthology they were putting together. Given the particulars, I jumped at the chance. Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, Vol. 1, a collection of four stories by M.R. James, is adapted by Leah Moore and John Reppion. The other artists on this project are Aneke, Kit Buss and Alisdair Wood.

First up is the cover image for the title I worked on:

Secondly, working on this comic was a relatively unusual process for me. Given the writing's fidelity to the source material, two challenges came up from a visual standpoint:

1) Designing a layout that respected a wordy narrator, and:

2) Taking a group of stuffy, early-1900s academics (who love golf a little too much) and making each character look memorable.

Bellow are character sketches of our protagonist, Williams, and some of the fine gentlemen who help him solve the horrific mystery at hand:

The most unusual aspect of the process on this comic was that I started by designing where all the text went and finalized that before doing any drawing. For that, I created layered spreads on Photoshop. This allowed me to move things around and simply replace the artwork under the text at different stages of completion. Bellow are examples of roughs (scribbled directly on Photoshop), final pencils (back on paper), and the final inks and colors (I ink directly over the pencils and then color it digitally):

It's worth noting this was the smoothest working process I've gone through on any project, ever, and I'm particularly proud of how it turned out. It's rare that I can look at a comic months after the fact and not find something terrible to lose sleep over. I do hope however, that its horrors haunt readers into losing countless nights of sleep.