Forming is the first real dedicated comic I’ve done in color, so when starting out I decided to go the traditional route of outlining in black. This decision was mostly based on fear and familiarity. The thought occurred to me that I could attempt to pull off a more painterly approach, but as I was already jumping into unfamiliar territory I opted to play it safe.
After a few episodes I gained a moderate confidence with maintaining consistency and memory of color ratios. Whereas early on I was constantly stressed about how much raw umber I had mixed with green the previous week (and so on). Also, after a few episodes I began to get this nagging feeling that the black lines were like the bars of a prison; that they were a lazy default that I took for granted. So here and there I’ve worked in panels with no black lines. I use the technique mostly to mark a difference between material reality and mystical or psychedelic experience. But even then, the black outline of the grid has prevailed. Mostly because I want to maintain an aesthetic unity from episode to episode: the look of Forming, which was established in the first episode (I wont get into my strict adherence to “the grid” in this post).
Lately, while working on pages I find myself repulsed by the idea of inking over the paint. But I’ve sort of resigned myself to maintaining the look for a good while, and then making another shift when I get going on a new project some day. Either that or slowly working in new stylistic ideas with each episode until it no longer resembles itself, but without shocking the reader. The secondary motive for starting this webcomic was basically to get my color chops up, so in a way maybe I should just be pushing it out of my comfort zone every week. There is something to be said for consistency though. And also there is something to be said for my weekly peace of mind.
On another note, I will be attending two comic book events this month. First is the Philadelphia Alternative Comic Con on September 13th. More info here. Then I will be attending the 2nd day of SPX in Bethesda MD (Sept 27th). I won’t be there the first day because my band is going on tour until the 26th. I’ll be at the Bodega table hangin’ with Randy Chang. Hope to see you there!