Shades Of Grey

Hopefully my foray into the realm of pro wrestling didn’t turn off too many people.  I probably won’t do it that often, but if I do it will be in separately categorized posts, so you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to.  So with that being said, onto comic book related business.

If you’ve read Black Snow at any length you’ve probably noticed that it is purely in black and white, or it was at least.  That was until Issue 6, when I decided to make a color cover.  I had done a bunch of color art for the website, and was so excited by it that I really wanted to incorporate it somehow into the comic book.  Thus we have a color cover.  The practice of a color cover with black and white content is nothing new, fairly common place really, but it was a very exciting leap forward for me.  I plan on continuing with that style in all future issues as well.  Something else happened in Issue 6, something you can probably see right away.  I started incorporating Photoshop into my work.  I used it to fill in my  blacks and whites, add the text and those fancy looking drop shadows.  Those shadows, while very critical to creating my new more polished style, also introduced the first not purely black or white element of the content.  We had grey.  Not in a especially significant way, but it was there and gave us something new to work with.  If you look closely you’ll notice that I change the size and darkness of these shadows depending on the situation.

Then on the top panel of page 22 I used grey in a more significant way, by creating a gradient from white to black in the background of the panel.  I loved the way it turned out.  Why did I suddenly do this?  It was something I had been thinking of for some time, and I was spurred on a bit by my color and gradient work with Day Camp.  I also wanted it to make this particular panel stand out.  I really wanted to emphasize the isolation that Brad feels, and call attention to this often overlooked character.

I also felt like I had explored what I can do within the confines of pure black and white for a long time now, and this was just a natural progression.  Pages 25 and 26 are full of these gradients, but not just from black and white, but from different variants of grey.  We also see are first solidly grey background.  I did this for a few reasons.  1. To capture the emptiness of the bar.  I wanted to make it clear it was late and all the other characters were gone.  2. I wanted people to know it was a dingy place.  O’Reiley’s is not a particularly nice, and I’m not sure if that has come through clearly in the past.  Sure, it’s a fairly friendly establishment, but it’s also a depressing bar where societies outcasts go to fuel their alcoholism.  3. Page 25 is a bit ambitious and complex in it’s layout, and I use the gradient in addition to the characters’ poses to guide your eye from one panel to the next.  Sometimes I have a lot of dialogue and story to cram onto a single page, so this addition of varying shades of grey is a useful tool for creative presentation.  4. I wanted to visually depict Angel’s mood.  Black Snow, and most of my work for that matter, is more about conveying feelings than true depictions.  I take a somewhat expressionistic approach to my drawing, and to me it’s more important to show what a location feels like rather than looks like.  This approach also extends to my characters.  They are not always meant to look realistic.  This is most prevalent in my backgrounds.  In case you ever wondered why I use all these weird shapes and colors, now you know.  There are more reasons, but those are the main ones.

So look forward to seeing more grey in the future!  Will we ever see color?  I don’t know.

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