Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blast from the Past #339: fanzine drawing

I am pretty sure this was drawn in the early 1980's, very likely for one of the fantasy fanzines I occasionally did stuff for. It's interesting for me to look at now because it may be the ONLY existing example of my work using a shading technique I experimented with back then.



It was a derivative of presstype -- you know, those sheets of letters which you could lay down over a layout and rub with some kind of burnishing tool to transfer the letter you chose to the surface you were working on. Hmmm... does anyone still use that stuff? What with the ubiquity of computers and graphics programs which make doing text a breeze, it may be that presstype has gone the way of the dodo. Maybe not -- I just haven't seen any in stores lately. (Of course, I haven't been LOOKING for it, either.)

Anyway, this stuff used the same technology as presstype, only instead of letters or numbers, it had tones. In this case, it was a middle-range grey tone made up of dots. As you can see, I used it to give some tonal value to the rocks in the drawing.

As I recall, it was fun to try, but I quickly realized that it wasn't for me -- and if memory serves, one of the reasons for that was its cost. I think it was more expensive than the shading films I used at the time. In any event, I think this was the only time I used it for an illustration job. -- PL

7 comments:

Miserable Dreamer said...

When I was a kid, back in the early 80s, my dad (who had been a signmaker and is currently an artist) was convinced this was how you guys shaded (or "toned") the original TMNT books. I remember telling him it looked more like something had been brushed onto the paper. He was insistent.

It was great as an adult to be able to wave the internet in his face and tell him I was right! That brings the score to me: one and dad: one million!

Wasn't that stuff called Letraset or something? Dad used to have stacks of it around his studio.

mikeandraph87 said...

Having more time to just draw have you thought about experimenting with different drawing and shading techniques? I must say a recent experiment with the Christmas cards was something you weren't used to but turned out terriffic.

B.Thomas said...

The creature in the illustration slightly resembles the monsters from the children's book ''Where the Wild Things Are.''

usagiguy said...

I remember using those rub-on patterns. I also used cut out shading sheets. I used them very sparingly, though. They were expensive, especially on a college student's budget.

Guy Davis used the cut out stuff until very recently when he could not find a source for the shading sheets. He reluctantly switched over to computer shading.

PL said...

"Miserable Dreamer said...
When I was a kid, back in the early 80s, my dad (who had been a signmaker and is currently an artist) was convinced this was how you guys shaded (or "toned") the original TMNT books. I remember telling him it looked more like something had been brushed onto the paper. He was insistent.

It was great as an adult to be able to wave the internet in his face and tell him I was right! That brings the score to me: one and dad: one million!"

Glad to have been a small part of your victory! You know, years back, I was baffled by the Duo-Shade effect. I saw it used in things like the "Buzz Sawyer" comic strip and in certain editorial cartoons, and I remember thinking if these artists were cutting these brush stroke-shaped pieces out of shading film, they were almost preternaturally skilled at it.

I can't recall exactly HOW I found out what the real technique was, but when I did, it was a big relief.


"Wasn't that stuff called Letraset or something? Dad used to have stacks of it around his studio."

I am pretty sure Letraset was one of several companies that made similar rub-on graphic products. -- PL

PL said...

"usagiguy said...
I remember using those rub-on patterns. I also used cut out shading sheets. I used them very sparingly, though. They were expensive, especially on a college student's budget. "

Tell me about it! I remember I actually once thought I would make Xerox copies of whole shading film sheets, and then use the paper copies to cut pieces out of, using rubber cement as the adhesive. I think I tried it once and it was a ridiculously grueling task and not worth the time or effort.

"Guy Davis used the cut out stuff until very recently when he could not find a source for the shading sheets. He reluctantly switched over to computer shading."

Having used both techniques, I have to say that I can't imagine why Guy would feel reluctance to make the switch... unless it had something to do with the fact that when you use the film, it actually becomes part of the original artworrk. With the computer, it's just a digital enhancement to the art.

The last few years of doing the TMNT Volume 4 comics, I switched from using Duo-Shade to doing tones in Photoshop, and I loved it. The possibilities are virtually endless. I loved the fact that you could take ANY grey scale image or pattern and convert it seamlessly into a dot pattern. Wicked cool! -- PL

PL said...

"mikeandraph87 said...
Having more time to just draw have you thought about experimenting with different drawing and shading techniques? I must say a recent experiment with the Christmas cards was something you weren't used to but turned out terriffic."

Thanks! Yes, I have thought about it, and I think in the coming months and years I will definitely get back into trying things other than just pencil and ink. -- PL