Saturday, April 21, 2012

Before I Go Any Farther...

Here's two versions of the same three panels on Page Three of the graphic novel. I'm bored with Tom Lyle, so the first version is very traditional (and a bit heavy-handed) work by myself over my pencils.

It's serviceable, but I'm just not feeling any real "guts" to this style. It seems safe.

So, in class on Thursday I started trying some other things. My fellow classmate (odd to say that, since he's also a former student and teaching assistant) Phillip Sevy and I talked quite a bit about options that are different, but not TOO different.

Thus, the next version.

It's done with a much smaller "brush" and a scruffier rendering style that I think adds some energy to the piece.

Am I correct? Am I nuts? Did I not push far enough?

Let me know what you think.

I'm really trying to do something a bit different.

Now, just to tell you: gray tones will be added to this page eventually, so the pages are "inked" on layers and some of the background will be all dot screen.

It looks kind of cool. I'm also going to make all of the gray tones (when they get converted to halftone screens) into a sepia tone and the original foreground elements will stay black.

I have a very rough sample of what that might look like here.

This was done using the older version of the "inks", so it would be different on the final.

Also, on panel one I did NOT finish doing the layers that I wanted, so it would NOT be all sepia after the branch in the foreground.

I only took two hours to produce this. It's an exercise for class and it DID convince me that I should seriously consider making this a two-color project. It could work.


Don't hold back (but don't be mean.)



Lee Harris said...

I really like the smaller brush version. It has more energy and tends to be less stark than the previous version. I am not quite sold on the sepia background/black foreground thing, it just looks kinda weird to me. I just don't like it.

Whit Leopard said...

I agree on the smaller brush version. I think that you added more energy to the piece and it helps move the eyes a bit more with the extra details you were able to put in. Definitely the more successful out of the two.

That said, I actually like the sepia look. I think it is definitely something uncommon and an interesting way to tone the comic. It also adds a cool effect so it is definitely something I would like to see more of.

Sam Reveley said...

Hello Professor Lyle!

I like the smaller brush version as well. It does seem to add a bit more variation and liveliness to the character. As for the character design of Tom Lyle, I think the glasses work great but the shirt could be a bit more different from the brother character. Right now, they look sort of like the same shirt and it might help to distinguish the characters from each other if they are wearing different ones. Finally, I definitely like the two tone for the depth it creates, but I would use a different color match up. I think its almost braking the fashion rule that says you can't mix browns with blacks and that's why it looks a bit off. This is cool, Professor Lyle! I really like how you actually use shot angles in all your panels. I've been trying to do the same thing in mine after taking all your classes.

Glad to be reading your blog!
Sam Reveley

P.S. If you ever get the chance, I have a new comic on my website I'd love your opinion on. Its at and its the colored one near the top.

David Balan said...

Combine the two approaches.

Each has its strengths, but also its weaknesses. The first is clear and bold, yet the second speaks of more "energy" or vivaciousness. But it also could come off as timid or obtrusive.

Instead of just doing one or the other, why not combine both approaches to get more variety? For example, keep the bold lines on the major features of the face, but on things like laugh lines, hair, and the irises or eyelids of the eyes, use the smaller brush. Similarly, use that small brush to do the bark or leaf texture, but get heavy on the rock. I think a change in style corresponding to a change in object, texture, or size (as dictated by composition) could be really cool.

Thing is, it'll take more time. But that's my two cents!

Phillip Sevy said...

Success! I really like how the second one turned out. From a distance (shrunk down), it doesn't look too starkly different, but once you get the full image it definitely has more energy and humanity to it, plus it's more graphic and slightly gritty. Heck, I'd even let go further and keep pushing the rough since you're so smooth normally.

I think you could even increase the brush size and make more bold strokes for your foreground elements/objects.

Lindsey Miller said...

I enjoy the smaller brush stroke more, it definitely has more energy to it and the textures are much clearer. I can differentiate between the trees and characters easier. I may be alittle biased because I love duotone comic pages but I really like the black/white and sepia tone experiment.It makes it pretty unique and the light direction is easier to identify coming from the fire as well.
Yay for student-lyle!

Kate said...


I feel like the odd man out, but I rather like your old school style of inking on the first piece better than the experimental second. This isn't to say you shouldn't keep playing around with it, maybe you could find a nice middle ground between the confidence of the first and the energy of the second. My bottom line with inking is always the confidence your lines portray as opposed to just trying to do something different. I think the first piece is exemplary of all the confidence you've stored up over the years from being a professional artist while the second one doesn't seem to suit you or the piece as well. Like I said, definitely keep toying with it--especially since you're a student now (hahaha).

Also, I too really like the tones you've proposed--I think they are downright cool looking.

Dr. Kara said...

Heya Tom!

I agree with Kate with I like the first piece more, it just seems to have more depth to me. Though the smaller brush definitely has things going for it.

My big thing is with the Sepia tone, it could be the small screen I'm looking at it with but it really messes with my eyes. I think it would be interesting not as a tone but as a flat color? I definitely like the two color thing you have going on though.

:) Stay Awesome

Tom Lyle said...

After looking at the art for a while, I too had the thought that maybe the sepia should just be a solid color instead of toned. But ... I still might use tones in the sepia. Just more solids as the base color.

As I said on FB ... I understand and maybe I need to push it more. I'm going to play with this all in class tomorrow.