Monthly Archives: January 2015

Page 28.

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This is page 28 of the story The Best Iraqi Ever.  When I originally wrote the story in a sketchbook, this was two pages, but clearly there’s no reason to break up the exchange like that.  I’m inefficient enough with page space as it is, since I feel more comfortable drawing one scene per page than doing elaborate, Bill Watterson-style multi-panel jobs.  I’m going to have to work on that, but for now, I’ll settle for getting four sentences on a page.


Page 27 and Experimenting with a Different Style.

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This is page 27 of my current short comic story, “The Best Iraqi Ever,” which is about a time I accidentally hit a water pipe in Iraq with an excavator and had to track down a crazy person to fix it, which turned into a sort of bizarre Wizard of Oz type of afternoon.  This is a fairly dull panel, and arguably could have been done in a half-page, or by putting the whole conversation on one page and breaking it up into irregularly-sized panels.

Anyway, to make up for that, here’s a page drawn in a different style.  The next book that I’m going to write — look for it to be complete in roughly 2026 — is only tangentially related to the Iraq War and so I have to draw people in civilian clothing and with more facial details, so that you can tell them apart.  So, I’m experimenting with somewhat more realistic styles.  Not sure which one I’m going to settle on, yet.

This one was drawn entirely with the Corel Painter charcoal tool, with differing opacity levels and line widths, and erasing around the edges to get, say, eyebrows and mouths.  This is a lot the way that one draws with real charcoal, using one of those narrow little erasers.  In contrast, the panel above uses the pen tool, with a consistent (5pxl) line width, for the outlines, and then uses a watercolor layer for the inking, to make it look at least a little like an ink wash over pen.  Of course, in the end it’s all just black and gray pixels on a screen, but the difference in technique might interest some people.

Club TX Charcoal Scene

While the artwork came out OK, the character design did not.  The woman on the left has a haircut like Barbara Bush, and it adds about 40 years.  I could have done better with the clothing, too — making it drape and fit more naturally.  Practice.


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Page 25.

Back for 2015, with Page 25.  The goal for the new year will be to get this story, which is 52 pages, done by midsummer, and to get started on the other major story of this book, which is entitled “Haunted Country” and will be roughly the same length.  Those two plus a couple of shorts, to be decided upon, will make up the next full book and/or be done separately as mini-comics, with the whole thing complete by probably the end of 2016.  After that, I have a full novel, only tangentially related to the Iraq War, that is in the process of being written (the story is outlined, but I only have about 45 pages laid out) and which will run to about 450 pages — so, that’ll take a minute*.

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*And by “minute,” I do mean literally a decade. Expect publication Summer 2026.