Posted by on Oct 7, 2010 in Blog | 1 comment

Before I started this graphic novel in the spring of 2009, I had been very much of an “it’ll do” artist. If a bicycle looked enough like a bicycle to where somebody reading my comic could tell it was supposed to be a bicycle, I had done my job. I even think I was still quite guilty of this lax attitude in the earlier pages of this comic. (What is up with Theo’s drum set on Page 5? NOT one of my better efforts!)

But after reading (and re-reading and re-re-reading) Scott McCloud’s Making Comics (Talmud to the Understanding Comics Torah), I came to the fairly obvious realization that you should know what the thing you’re drawing looks like. This revelation was later reinforced in 2010 by boatloads of advice from the artists at Periscope Studio.

Generally, a greater specificity of research can compensate for shortcomings in your art. If you just draw “a van”, it will come out looking like a white potato on wheels. If you draw a mid-80’s Ford Econoline (as I did), it will end up looking like “a van”. Set out to draw an Arizona Cactus Finch, and you will end up with a passable-looking “bird.” Draw an Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro 4-string bass, and hopefully people will pick up that it is supposed to be a guitar.

Of course, I don’t live in New Mexico – I can’t sketch an agave plant from life, or conjure up the look of a Las Cruces water tank from memory, and that’s where Google Image Search comes in. I’ve done thousands of image searches online and will do thousands more before this is all over. It’s a little tricky, because if your drawing looks too much like a photograph, people will know. Especially if it looks just like the number one image result for that particular search term. (Unless you are deliberately looking for the most ubiquitous, iconic image, like the portrait of Malcolm X.)

I’ve already downloaded quite a lot of images for parts of the comic which I’ve drawn but which you haven’t even seen yet, and some in preparation for parts I haven’t even drawn yet. Here’s a sneak peak to confuse you and whet your appetite for more SNitLoE!