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.
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.