“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and somthing else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”—Chuck Close (via sandyhong & @emilycarroll)
I drew Batman as a warmup thing yesterday because I got all excited about the announcement about the next Chris Nolan Batman movie. I have a weakness for Batman, and for melodramatic genre fiction generally. But I am not the best at drawing superheroes.
I like Catwoman but not Anne Hathaway, she does not seem like a very interesting choice… but I don’t know enough about her for her to be an entity in my mind other than Boring Pretty White Girl. I’m really interested in how Bane will work into all of this… he’s sort of a tacky character, usually, but I think could be done in an interesting way. And the first two movies have very successfully worked within limited themes (overcoming and inspiring fear in Begins, anarchy in Dark Knight), so I’m optimistic about how the two can be fit into the movie. Though I guess Dark Knight would have been better without Two-Face even in it.
In conclusion I am a terrible nerd but that does not change the fact that Batman is the best.
Finally finished this drawing! See it larger. It’s Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, a central character of China Miéville’s novel Perdido Street Station. I highly recommend the book, it is fantastic in every sense of the word! I think I’ve been talking about it incessantly and for that I apologize. I’ll move on to another of his books very soon…The Scar has been recommended to me a few times.
PSS is a very visual book, and one that deals at length with some pretty outrageous creatures and inventions. After several false starts, I decided to draw something that focused more on the feel of the book than on any representation of any of those visual elements specifically. I almost feel that rendering the Slake Moths, or Mr. Motley, or the constructs would put too fine a point on them, and spoil the strange, psychedelic nature of them— for myself and for those of you who haven’t read the book yet!
This is a warm-up drawing from a couple of weeks ago that I finally colored! It’s a character of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, the first book of which I’ve been listening to recently. Really heavy, believable fantasy… I wanted to do something with the costume that didn’t immediately suggest Tolkien Tolkien Tolkien.
BE AWARE that the program I recorded this with has, because it was a trial version, covered a couple of minutes throughout in static, rendering a bit of it nearly unintelligible. But most of the recording is ok! And someone from SPX got the whole thing on video so hopefully we’ll be able to see that, too.
This is a panel that I’d like to do multiple times! I even feel like the five of us could have talked much longer on the subject. So hopefully we can run this panel at other conventions in the future!
GOSH I have not updated this in a while. Moving to a new place is distracting. I’ll get back to this blog, I promise. Above is the view out the window of my little drawing-room, into the ‘porthole’ that runs down the middle of our building for heat regulation I guess.
The following is an excerpt from an article by Jason Michelitch. The excerpt deals with the growing idea that comics are an intermediary medium, inferior to film. This is something I’ve mentioned before and bears repeating, I think!
But anyway the rest of the article (the first part) is basically a completely unrelated rant about how the movie Inception is representative of the downfall of the movie industry or something? I really liked Inception, so ignore that part. I really wish the last bit was published on its own, so that’s why I’ve put it here:
Over the last decade, there’s been a fractured but widespread push to make American comics more like film. Cinematic storytelling has always loomed over comics as an influence, but from 2000-2010 it became more and more pervasive. Younger creators looking to distance themselves from the embarrassing history of superhero comics marketed their comics as “paper movies” in an attempt to align themselves with a more acceptable-for-adults popular visual medium in the minds of potential readers. Major comics companies saw more and more properties successfully go through film production and became eager to produce the next wave of trademarks for sale. Think: how many times have you heard the phrase “Comics are ready-made storyboards” in the last ten years?
Every time you see mediocre new comics with some celebrity’s name over the title, every time you see laboriously photo-referenced art pre-casting popular actors as characters, and every time you read a comic that feels like someone’s failed movie pitch, remember: these are the conscious and subconscious effects of becoming Hollywood’s farm team, and they should be fiercely guarded against. The reduction of comics to motionless cinema is a mental disease borne of self-loathing and envy, and should be resisted at every level, fought off like a thief you find poking around in your head in the middle of the night, pilfering your favorite dreams.
Hey I hope you’re all aware of Aaron Diaz's excellent blog that started recently; he’s been talking about a lot of stuff about comics and narrative art, and he is a Smart Guy who Gets It. The following post might be seen as a response to his post, Show vs. Tell.
A little while ago on twitter I said something to the effect of ‘Saying that writing is more important than art in comics misses the point,’ and a lot of people replied to that, agreeing and contesting and wondering what I meant, etc. So I’ve been meaning to organize my thoughts on this and put them here, lest my twitter account turn into nothing but endless bitching about specificities of the comics medium that basically nobody cares about but me.
It’s easy to see comics as a sort of half-and-half medium: a fundamentally incomplete thing, made of Pictures plus Writing. I don’t think this is the case: comics are as ‘incomplete’ as any narrative medium, because no medium can convey a story as a fully experienced, believable thing (I think that film’s superficial ‘realness’ lends to the idea that it is the highest and best realization of a story possible—certainly it is at least the most profitable, hence the growing influence of big-budget film adaptations of comic book stories on the recent SDCC). But the tools that comics have to convey story (still* images both sequential and discrete, and often text) are as capable, though in fundamentally different ways, as the tools at the root of any narrative medium.
I think that a central part of making comics successfully is eliminating the divide between Writing & Drawing/Words & Pictures— more precisely, revealing that divide as artificial. That sounds like a way over-intellectualized approach, but I guess it’s sort of extrapolated from how I try to approach comics at every level of making them:
From the start, from the earliest stage of planning a story, it’s helpful to be aware of the medium for which it is intended. I’ve written a little before about my idea of a story’s native medium, and this correlates well with McLuhan’s quote, ‘the medium is the message,’ which Aaron mentions. If you’re making a comic, you should know what a comic is, and how you can use the medium to your advantage: how you can rely on images and the flow between images in the place of text, how you can use the two together or against each other, etc. In planning Vattu, I’ve tried to keep all of my notes visual and verbal: writing is efficient for working out some kinds of ideas, and drawing others. It’s a visual story, because it is a comic. And it’s a comic because it is a visual story. We’re extremely limited in what we can do within the medium, so let’s play to its strengths.
I think the assembly-line trend that still dominates much of mainstream comics goes against this effort to eliminate the Divide, and contributes the idea that comics are composed of two discrete elements. Often (usually?) several visual artists are expected to draw the pictures to match the writer’s script. Often there is little communication between writer and artist(s); the artists are seen as producing images to “go along with” the writer’s story (as opposed to producing the images which are the substance of that story). And the writer’s name is biggest on the cover, because the writer is the boss. This results in a comic that can be very well-drawn and well written, but where the division between writer and artist is painfully, distractingly obvious. At least, it is to me! The drawings might not fit the tone of the writing, or the writing might be at times rendered redundant by the drawings, or a creative and well-made story is rendered bland and unreadable by the schematically-drawn, airbrushed shit that I guess is supposed to pass for a “house style.”
But dividing the task of comic-making among separate people of course doesn’t mean you’re making a broken comic! I have never worked with anybody on comics, but I would guess that the fundamental element that’s necessary for it to work is communication— Assuming a writer-artist pair, each should be aware of what the other is doing, what their strengths are, how they work, and the shape and fundamentals of the medium. The writer knows what the artist can convey in a character’s body language and expression, and can edit their dialogue to work in tandem with those visual elements.
So ANYWAY— saying that writing is more important than art in comics misses the point. The art IS the writing, and the writing is the art. The whole point of comics is to make something that’s greater than the sum of two different media— something that is a completely different medium from both. A comic where a division is clear, where the art is used as a supplement to the writing rather than as the material of the story, and where the question of ‘which is more important’ becomes relevant, is a poor use of the medium.
Working on a couple of different articles on worldbuilding stuff, will probably post one on using language in that context soon!
* Animation in comics shows up in webcomics, but this is still the exception to the rule. I think animation in comics contradicts the medium and how it is read, and can weakens and distract from it, regardless of the technical quality of the animation itself. In any case I think it’s a separate issue from what I’m talking about here! Might write more about this later, if I can figure out if I genuinely take issue with it or if I’m just afraid of something new and difficult to make!
Above and throughout this post, preliminary artwork for Vattu.
Where do you get your ideas? is the question I have heard more than any other question, and other comic people I’ve talked to about it have gotten it a lot too. After writing the following I sort of realized it is the best I can do at an answer:
So finishing OoT, and gearing up to start drawing Vattu, and trying to solidify several nebulous ideas for another project into something workable, have got me thinking about ideas and how they work.
Between Rice Boy and Order of Tales I think I’ve gotten a sense for the process by which I work from idea to product, wide to tight. The experience of finishing the actual Work (years-long, grueling and usually boring, at the very least) and seeing it line up well with the Idea (easy, fun, and completely untainted by reality) is kind of interesting, and has only really happened for me with Order of Tales I think.
The little idea-seeds that start everything aren’t often very clear or very detailed, and if I try to articulate them to anybody else I realize they’re usually uninteresting outside of my own head. It’s a vague sense of the way that a story or a character or setting should seem: not specific enough to record straight to paper faithfully, but specific enough to know a direction, and to know when you’re off track. I think the major bottleneck for people asking the HowDoYouGetYourIdeas question is this: realizing that anything is fair game, and essentially training yourself to funnel your observation of the world into idea-generation. I do not know if that makes sense but that is what I do most of the time.
There seems to be a sort of purity in the idea-seed, which can be lost as it’s worked over and developed. For example! My ideas for things usually start with some mood or visual aesthetic; much less frequently with a discrete concept. Koark started as a sense of a tall, mysterious person, obsessed with fictions, visually dramatic but with a sense of awkwardness that sort of disarms the self-importance of him. I found myself looking back at that seed throughout my development of the character, and throughout the story. That seed is what got me interested in the character, and what got me interested in making OoT at all, so I guess I figured that there was something essential there, and I made it a point not to get too far off-track.
But getting off-track can be useful, too, can’t it? It’s easy to get stuck on something, or to get too attached to a character or idea or passage of the story. It doesn’t really help to invest these things with too much importance before they’re realized; I think it’s good to remain open to different arrangements for as long as possible in each successive stage of making the thing. Having somebody you can go over stuff with while it’s still embryonic can be helpful— I find myself making a lot of basic assumptions about the structure of a story long before it’s worked out tightly enough to make such assumptions, and it sometimes takes someone else’s input for me to realize I’ve been making them at all. If that makes any sense! I guess this is something that editors are for but I have never had one; I talk about stuff I am working on incessantly with my girlfriend Lela and she is very helpful.
Ok. It’s important to know that pretty much everything starts vague and simple, and when we say that we love the IDEA of a story, it’s more a testament to the skill of the creator in realizing that idea than it is to the quality of the idea itself, I think. I try to err on the side of underestimating the value of ideas, because it’s easier to have them than to realize them, and we shouldn’t get excited about them and burned out before we’ve started the actual work!
I want to write more stuff about comics. Maybe we can consider this Part 1 of a thing. Let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to read.
So I finished Order of Tales a little while ago. Didn’t realize how much work went into it until I was done, and now I am relieved to take a couple weeks off from drawing! 744 pages drawn over 2 years, and about another year before that of writing. Very happy with it, very happy I carried through to what I feel was a much better ending than Rice Boy, very happy I’m improving by any metric that I care about. But I’m sick of thinking about it for now so ANYWAY—
I’m starting a new big Overside comic on July 26th, called Vattu. I guess I’ve been talking about it a lot in other places on the internet. Have been doing a lot of planning for it over the past several months and I am very excited to start. Have some other non-Overside stuff I’ll probably be able to start before the year’s over too, which will be really fun to do!
Moving to Brooklyn soon, and when I get there I’ll probably have to be locked in my room drawing comics all day! This is not a bad thing.
This is a Pierson’s Puppeteer, which is an alien from Larry Niven’s Ringworld, which I have been listening to while drawing recently. I’d heard a lot about the book before reading it and was very excited to start it, but it has become almost difficult to sit through.
Ringworld kind of reminds me of Arthur C Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama and Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris- all three of these books deal with people trying to understand massive, mysterious artifacts in outer space. But where Rama and Solaris convey a clear sense of the enormity of the discovery and its strangeness, Ringworld dampens any sense of wonder by its bland writing style and frequent and embarrassing attempts at humor. There’s some pervasive sexism in the treatment of the main (only) female character, which seems particularly out of place in an invented setting distant in so many other ways from the 1970 America in which is was written. I really don’t like this book very much but I will probably finish it because it’s an audiobook and it is easy to listen to while drawing.
But anyway I wanted to draw this alien because I thought it looked cool.
Order of Tales, the enormous fantasy adventure comic I’ve been working on for two years, is nearly over. It is over 700 pages long and is the best work I’ve ever done. I’ll put up the last big chunk of it (over 60 pages) on the 5th of July. You are cordially invited to attend.
Finally finally. I’ve been too busy working on real stuff to do much freetime drawing.
This is the Balrog of Moria, and that under it is the Bridge of Khazad Dum. Very different from the previous drawings I think. As always, I’m trying to go just by the description of the text, but this one was probably colored quite a bit by the Balrog’s design in the Peter Jackson movies, which I think is pretty excellent. The book describes a large, man-shaped creature, with a ‘mane of fire,’ and what seems to be a kind of fluid, changing form of fire and shadow. The text mentions ‘wings;’ but I think does so metaphorically (“…the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings.”), and also I feel wings would clutter up the image and sort of dilute the design of the thing.
Next is the Orc Chieftain that leads an attack on the Fellowship in Moria (before the Balrog bit, actually), whenever I can get around to it. You can see all previous LOTR drawings in one place by tag, here.
Last weekend I went to Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC, the biggest and best comic convention around my area. Heroes 2009 was the first big comic show I ever exhibited at, in fact, so this marks one year of going to conventions! I hope to keep doing it for a while. And now I have a bit more experience and am confident in my assessment of this as a really excellent show, representing a wide variety of material very well, run by nice people who are honestly passionate about comics. Loved it.
Early on Friday I saw a Calabash and a T-O-E, wow wow wow—
These two were very nice and had such lovely handmade costumes! It is the first time I’ve seen anybody dressed as any of my characters so it was pretty mind-blowing and pretty much made the show for me.
I was flanked for the duration of the show by Paul
…charming gentlemen both. We of the webcomics universe were smartly arranged all together in a big central island, so I had the pleasure of talking to and commiserating with a bunch of webcomics pals; Joel, Kate, Meredith, Rich, Chris, David, Brad, Danielle, and Erika among them. It’s exciting to be a part of this webcomics thing; I think they (we?) are making some of the most interesting independent work out there right now. This is the future, guys. I am becoming more and more of an evangelist about online self-publishing.
Here’s a look down Webcomics Way:
And here is a T-Rex. Anthony draws a mean T-Rex, I tell you what-
And here is the first Spider-Man I have drawn in nearly a decade, for someone’s sketchbook-
And here is a colossus I drew for Joe’s sketchbook-
On Sunday there was a nice little after party at Heroes aren’t Hard to Find, the comic shop which hosts the show— a really nice shop, too! I got the first book of Lone Wolf and Cub (mostly because it was small and I am moving soon and trying to get rid of books) and read it on the way home and it blew my mind, it is so good.
So! A fine comic convention and worth attending if you’re in the area next June. Thanks to Shelton and Dustin and the many other people that put this thing together!
If you could do a comic biography of any person, living or dead, who would it be? (I'm curious, even if you'd never be interested in such a thing)
I’d like to do something (though it would probably be more historical fiction than biography) about a monk during the Byzantine Iconoclasm, or about a viking living in the midst of Scandinavia’s conversion to Christianity, or about someone during the Reconquista in Spain. These are all ideas I’ve worked on a bit but don’t have time for! I’m really interested in how individuals cope with these big cultural paradigm shifts, and I’m interested in religion, as a complete outsider to it.
I’ve gotten a few other questions in the wake of the Drugs-as-inspiration post; I’ll try to space out the answers and put up some actual drawings soon.
Did you have to use drugs to come up with the phenomenal flora, fauna and scenery of Overside, yet the magic and religion?
No no no no no. Ok, this question gives me a chance to complain about something that really bothers me. I appreciate the compliment and no hard feelings.
The notion that drugs are the only way to come up with interesting or “psychedelic” ideas is flawed. The notion that there is ANY SORT OF SHORTCUT to doing this sort of creative work is flawed. Assuming that an artist has to take some sort of shortcut to FIND ideas rather than coming up with them on their own and without chemical “help” discredits what we’re doing. Also I think this whole line of questioning (“where do you get your ideas,” “do you base your characters on real people,” “do you have to use drugs to have ideas”) ignores the fact that these ideas aren’t even worth that much- it takes much less to have a good idea than it does to put the hundreds of hours into executing it that it demands. No one cares about an idea until it is executed.
This being said, I don’t think that drugs are inherently off-limits as a source of “inspiration” or whatever. Everything we create is composed of elements from everything we experience and everything that goes through our heads, so it’s sort of artificial to consider drugs, if you use them, off-limits as a source of ideas. But taking this drug or that is no guarantee that you will have any ideas at all, and it’s nonsense to think that any ideas you do have will be inherently better than the ideas you have straight.
I have gotten this question before. It frustrates me that anyone would think I’m not capable of coming up with material with my brain in its normal place, and it frustrates me that people are taking acid or whatever in hopes of tapping into some magical font of ideas that is not there. Ideas are hard work, and actually making comics is a thousand times harder.
This is a cruddy photo of what the book looks like with its little jacket on and all. Without the jacket, it’s the same as the print on demand version— images of the Matchwoods in day (front) and night (back). I’m very happy with the cover design, and pleased that I came up with something that no publisher would probably ever have let me do.
The wordless cover bothers people at conventions, though, so I made the jacket to have a title, blurbs, and flashier images. I guess I will see if it works this weekend at TCAF.
Very proud of these things. The preorders are going out the door as quickly as I can draw in them and pack them up, which is not very quickly. I’m very happy about how well these are doing already, and about how much more sustainable this will be than having them printed on demand. I am a serious-business self publisher now and it will be a little easier to pay my rent.
If you don’t follow me elsewhere on the internet, perhaps you are not aware that I just put up a new short story.
Back from Portland! A very cool city with much of the hipness of Asheville, but bigger and more functional as a city. I did very well at the convention and will be back next year unless there is some catastrophe. Did not take enough pictures but here are some…
You can see that it’s in a sort of strange room for a comic convention— not terribly large, and with very low ceilings and awful acoustics. This did not, however, prevent it from being an extremely successful and fun convention!
And here is a picture for Brian's sketchbook, which is themed “Owls, dogs, owls & dogs, owldogs, and Lost.”
I really love Chicago. I didn’t do as well at this show as I’d hoped, and it was rife with the sorts of problems a first-year show might be expected to have (fortunately most of them invisible on the attendees’ end). But it will probably be an excuse for me to go to Chicago next year, and the convention will probably go much better next year.
Anyway I stayed with Spike and Matt and their ugly dog, along with Dave and Abby and Kel.
Her handsome apartment-
And the show floor, with everyone setting up on Friday…
Oh, it’s one of THOSE conventions:
I was in the Webcomics Pavilion area, which occupied three little aisles towards the back. Very cool that particular attention is being given to webcomics, though I got the sense that we missed out on a lot of traffic because we were all together in one area, and off towards the edge of the floor.
My half-table all set up for the first day:
I shared it with Dave Shabet. I was going to share it with Dave McGuire but he got sick and could not make it! He is feeling better now though. So many Daves.
Across the way were Chris and another David. I read a whole bunch of Chris’ comic the Book of Biff during the convention, and good lord but it is hilarious.
And here’s a Frank and a Becky, who recently released a very handsome book called Tigerbuttah. They shared a table with Spike who had her new fourth book of Templar, Arizona (I got caught up on Templar on the flight home and will say again that it is one of my favorite things being published online right now. You should really read it).
And hangout times.
Here’s some handsome originals Dave drew during the show-
I took a bunch of pictures and will put them online when I am able to input them into the computer, with a writeup of the convention. It went pretty ok! A little poorly-run and not extremely profitable, but very fun. Now I am at Spike’s place with her boxes about to leave to the airport.
Chief among my successes this weekend has been making friends with Spike’s freakish neurotic rat-dog.
Finally Boromir! I redrew him several times, particularly to figure out his face. He is dressed roughly as described when he’s introduced in Rivendell: in rich clothing, a fur cloak, wearing a silver collar with a white stone set in it. Tried to give him his own color scheme that’s separate enough from the rest of the fellowship’s. And there’s some of Gondor’s five-pointed stars on him, but nothing more than that, as I don’t think he would’ve wanted everyone to know the son of the Steward is out and about.
I am on my way to Chicago for C2E2, which is a comic convention. Join me, won’t you, on this grand adventure into the wild North, as I weave a thrilling tale full of poignance and genuine human emotions. The first of these emotions is “FEELING LIKE A ZOMBIE IN THE AIRPORT AT FIVE IN THE MORNING”
"Hav-a-look" at these handsome postcards what showed up in the mail today just in time for this convention:
Saruman the White with Palantir, ok? Ok. I played around with some complicated forms for his staff, but I think a plain, white stick looks absolutely excellent. I’ve been trying to get Boromir right but I’m stuck.
Updated Order of Tales today; chapter 12 is finished, 600 pages in total.
Following, some pompous rambling ideas about narrative media.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot, in a sort of over-simplified and competitive way, about how comics compare to other narrative media. Comics are as capable of telling stories as prose, verse, film, or video game, but the domain of narrative technique covered by each of these of course varies. This is why, I think, a perfect adaptation between media is impossible (as perfect translation between languages is impossible). People making stories must play to the strengths of the medium, then, right? Any story could be told as a comic, but not in the same way, with the same emphases, or necessarily as well as it could be told in prose or in film.
Reading Perdido Street Station is making me think about this. The way it’s written is so elegant and strange, and so tied to the English language and the author’s use of it, that the book and the invented setting of the book seem completely tied to the medium. I keep thinking about drawing something from the book but I don’t think I could do it. It couldn’t be adapted; it IS the book; it is the way it’s written. Visual representations of it would be too concrete, and would lack the voice of the book, which seems to be some elemental part of the story and its characters.
It reminds me of looking at a comic like Bone, and seeing the characters and the world of that comic, and being unable to imagine them existing in a world not made of Jeff Smith’s drawings. The world of Bone is made believable and real, but in such a way that it is tied fundamentally to the most basic aspects of how each image is drawn. The atoms of the world are in how he draws; how he renders the rhythm of the story.
I think this about my own comics, too, though I don’t mean to say I think I’m good enough for it to carry over into anyone else’s view of them. Overside is less a setting than it is the comics that take place in it— I can’t really wrap my head around Overside stories rendered in prose, or in film, or in video game. I have made these stories and their setting with comics in mind. I try to use the medium such that the stories seem tied to it; such that they could be rendered faithfully in no other way.
Where I am working, until I move. Trying to be more diurnal lately; It feels like I get a lot done when I work until 3 in the morning, but it turns out I don’t. Easier to be distracted at night. Above; working on the next short story. And up on the wall are images of Cat Rackham, the Bottle Woman by Dylan Meconis, and Bone.
Can’t keep up with this thing daily, apparently. I’ll be putting up more LOTR stuff soon; I have been engrossed lately in Real Comics Work.
Radagast the Brown, Gandalf’s friend who appears only second-hand in LOTR. Does he show up in any others of Tolkien’s works? I haven’t read anything but LOTR and Children of Húrin and the Hobbit long ago. I like the character anyway.
Rather than skimming my copy of the book for reference for these drawings, I’ve downloaded an audiobook of the whole book, and I’ve been listening to it while drawing comics. I forgot about audiobooks; they are really the best.
Elves elves elves. Descriptions of them tend abstract and super-reverent, so I find I’m making up a lot more about them than I am other middle-earth peoples. This is kind of a weird drawing; I’m not sure I like it.
Glóin, father of Gimli, and the first dwarf to show up and contribute much to the story. He’s also one of the dwarves that went with Bilbo in the Hobbit.
Similar to the elves, I’m trying to make dwarves have specific traits to differentiate them from just differently-sized people. Ears are similar to elf ears, but tend larger and stick out from the head instead of against. Nose, like elves’, curves parallel to plane of face, but is large. Head generally sort of pinched short and wide. Eyes smallish, squinty, and dark; no whites.
Glorfindel! First elf I’ve drawn (though not the first that appears— I guess I skipped the elves from Woodhall). He appears briefly, taking Frodo to Rivendell, in a role given to Arwen in the Peter Jackson movies, which I think was a good decision. And he’s around during the Council of Elrond, I think. I’m going to try to give the elves of different places clear color-coding in their costumes. Rivendell will probably be predominantly oranges, yellows; Mirkwood green and brown; Lothlorien white, gray, maybe blue.
What I’ve come up with for the way elves look: Face conforms more closely to a single curved plane, pointed chin. Nose curves to be roughly parallel to plane of face. Big eyes. Ears extend against head; no earlobes, they appear to form a contiguous line with jawline. Upper lip doesn’t have that indention-thing. No facial hair or eyebrows. Body generally stretched out, thin, smooth. Hopefully a little weird, a little inhuman, but still with the elegance they’re clearly seen to have in the text.
Next will be Glóin, father of Gimli. Stuck on Elrond right now or else he’d be next.
How long has Overside existed in your head? Is it like Spike's Templar, which she's said has existed in various incarnations since she was in middle school? Or did you have the idea fairly recently, and it just sort of spiraled into the rich, beautiful universe it's becoming as you tell your stories?
Overside started when I started Rice Boy. There was no overarching idea for it and not much internal logic to it until the story called for it. Various elements have been in my head for a while, but nothing specific.
Never really the most compelling characters to me, I guess? Merry’s on the left, Pippin on the right. For costumes, between Pippin, Bilbo, and Frodo, I’ve tried to make a unified style, because they are all from Hobbiton (and I guess also they’re among the upper class there, too). Merry’s clothes are of a different style, which might be that of Buckland.
Done with hobbits for now. I might do another Frodo, later on.
Man I am obsessed with this. I really need to get back on track with actual comics work.
Tom Bombadil and Goldberry. These two seem a bit out of place in LOTR, and to me contribute to a sense that the hobbits’ trip up until Rivendell is very simple and episodic, not quite serious and involved in the larger plot, yet. I really like Tom, and the contrast he provides to the dark and dramatic goings-on. Goldberry, like most women in the book, is not afforded very much importance after she’s introduced.