cheer up, Chris Martin

The Photoshop era begins here! In the wake of the collapse of Corel Painter X, which I used up until the comic just before this one, I needed something else to draw on. So I downloaded another “extended trial”…okay, yes, “pirated” if you prefer, of Photoshop CS3. It worked marvelously well out of the box. Actually, for quite a while I held that the Photoshop-era comics had my favorite line style ever.

I should try and explain that. Over the years I’ve spent a surprising — or possibly not surprising — amount of time fretting over exactly how I want my lines to look. In real life, I like drawing the best with a regular Sharpie marker, like the kind that people use to label their burned DVDs of Buffy or whatever. With those I can skip between light touches for detail and bold, thick strokes for bodies and otherwise. They’re not super hard on the edges, and if used properly the very ends of strokes can be pleasingly tapered.

The challenge, once I got an actual art tablet rather than a finicky touch-screen, has been to try and emulate the look of a sharpie drawing. And as a matter of fact the Photoshop era probably comes closest. But looking at them now, they actually seem too fuzzy, almost out-of-focus compared to my current work. There are still some things I like but I tended to aim for the “thick” side of things and I’m glad I reined that in. (Who knows, give it time and I’ll probably be saying the exact opposite again) [November 16, 2011]