Up All Night With Nowhere To Die
Finding a new sketchbook is a personal war based almost exclusively in fetishistic futility.
I, like most illustrators, have a very specific set of criteria associated with the tools that I utilize in my work. I use a specific type of pen, the Staedtler pigment liner, I use a specific type of paper, and for more expressive areas I use a japanese brush pen. These are the tools that I use. It’s just how it is. These are the instruments that allow me to create in the most effective manner. Illustration is a never ending battle. oh, sure. It’s a simple enough idea. You draw a bunch of pictures on a page. In reality it’s a language. The size of the panel, how much space in between each panel, the number of panels, and the composition within each panel really matter. If you don’t speak it, it shows. Everyone should make comics, but when you’re just learning the language, it shows. That’s why when people from outside of the comics industry come in and create work, more often than not, it’s terrible. Just because film and comics share common narrative elements doesn’t mean that they’re the same thing. Additionally, direct panel for frame narrative adaptations are often so bland and unexciting because of the same principle in movieland. But let’s get back on topic, once an illustrator figures out what the three or four weapons he or she needs to succeed in the Thunderdome that is making comics there’s no time for ‘experimentation’. It’s time to make comics.
A sketch book is essential for making comics. I use my as a journal/ideas folder/character design file/thumbnail registry. For the past five years or so I’ve used a sketchbook that could only be bought at Barnes and Noble. It was make by the American Standard Press company. It was a beautiful construction of paper and glue and leather with sheets so hard and smooth it was like drawing on glass. I’ve been working in these things for a good long while, obviously. And on my last trip to restock can you guess what happened? The company doesn’t make them any longer. This is an artists worst nightmare. The fact that a tool, that was taken for granted, has now been removed from my arsenal is quite vexing.
After a few days of hunting I finally settled on a Moleskine sketchbook, which is the first time I’ve ever used the company’s product for any serious amount of time. So far the book is working fine. The pages are slightly too thin for my tastes. The ink from my pens bleeds through and can be seen on the backside of the paper. This is negligible, though.
The interesting thing about this Moleskine book is that it’s bound at the top, like a journalist’s notebook. It’s both slightly alien and intriguing. It’s forcing me to come at my thought-drawing composition from a different perspective.
Until next time, friends.
Hollywood, Ca 2013