Thursday, August 21, 2008

how to make a monroe...

... an adventure in navel gazing!



there seem to be a whole lot of process tutorials and "how to"s floating around the blogoverse right now and as i wouldn't want to deny anyone the chance to "share my soul" (black and prickly thing that it is) here's mine:

step 1: get a script at the worst possible time in your otherwise cluttered schedule. the best time to get one is when you're two weeks late with your secret afterschool job, and your child, your wife and yourself are sick. this script is by the lovely and talented mr. tony barbieri (as are they all). once the script has been vetted by MAD's editorial department, it goes to the art department where the equally lovely and talented mr. sam viviano breaks it down into blank panel layouts, rough letters, and panel descriptions. basically a comic strip with no pictures. on any other project i'd bristle at this, but as the deadlines tend to be pretty tight, sam knows what he's doing, and this is the way EC has ALWAYS done it, i let that go. i actually have a tremendous amount of leeway in terms of layout and action if i feel that it flows better a different way. i do my first doodles at this stage (usually as i'm reading it)...

you'll note i took out all the dialogue. that's 'cuz i don't own it and warners likes to sue.

step 2: trace off step one with one of those fancy blue pencils that no longer has any earthly purpose in today's world onto the second set of pages the beguiling and whimsical mr. sam sends you (the ones with nothing but the boxes). start drinking...


step 3: slightly buzzed, crawl to a house of ill repute better known as a copy store, blow everything up to 165%, piggy back home on the back of a helpful hobo, and trace that off tightening stuff as you go...



step 4: drunk yet? well, you're gonna wanna be. grit your teeth and curse the stars, it's inking time! dip that brush in and slap it on. this is actually the most fun part of the job for me. typically i'll go through and ink all the figures and important/fun bits in one big initial pass. the brush is a raphael 8404 #2 and the ink is the basic pelican drawing ink A.



step 5: after that it's time to fill in the rest with a brush, and mix of pitt and staedtler felt-tip pens. it's at this stage that the real hardcore cursing starts. though, much of it slurred due to the roughly equal amounts of scotch and allergy medication in my system...



step 6: this is the stage where i used to do colour, applying watercolour directly to the finished boards. that is now, mercifully, someone else's job: the svelte and cherubic mr. carl peterson, who does it with his computer. (meaning he uses his computer to do the colours, i'm not suggesting it's got any extra tubes or anything.) to keep the painterly look of the strip that i was striving for when i did do the colours, i apply a couple of layers of ink wash tones. then one last pass with some white gouache the bring out details or correct any mistakes that i notice.


so there you have it. now you have all the tools and know how so that you can make your own monroe.

...but don't. 'cuz warners will sue you.

3 comments:

Carl Peterson said...

Hey Tom!

This is Carl Peterson, your humble Monroe colorist and fan. On Saturday I was looking for reference of your watercolors when I stumbled upon this blog. Good stuff. I've learned a few things I'd like to try on Monroe. With a new set of lines before me and a fridge worth of fresh booze, my colors should look as good as yours in no time.

ANYWAY, if you want to see MY process or more importantly, critique the results, let me know. I think it took me some time to develop my "watercolor-y" look, but 495 is pretty good. And of course I'll be refining things as I go. Hope you approve.

-Carl

tomfowler said...

great to hear from you carl!

got my copies of 495 last week and they look great.

i've been really happy with the results from the beginning and it just keeps getting better with every strip. if you want to get in touch by all means shoot me an email.

Dell 1320c toner said...

Well, Tom I must say that this is fantastic. I need to learn it, but I don’t think that I will succeed. You did a really god job, and it is shown in the results. There is nothing to critique here. I am more in to sculpture than paint, but I still love it. How do you learn it? Are you using a book or something or it is a gift from above? I am interesting to know it, so I will be very thankful to you if you will answer me. Thank you for great inspiration, and raise a smile on my face. Keep on the god job, and I can’t wait for more. Good luck.