Roughs to pencils to inks to colour

Page 74 of Satin and Tat is the page that will never be finished, clearly – I’m still part way through it. You can see why this project is taking a while. This week the delay was mainly because I got the word through about my commissioned piece: they were happy with the inks and I could progress to the final step, the colours.

Accordingly, I spent most of last week on that, then had my usual tizz around colour profiles (will this ever not happen), and sent it off last night.

Having fretted over the whole script-to-roughs-to-pencils-to-inks-to-colours process (see recent blog posts in which I moan that this isn’t quite how I work) I have to admit that of course, the whole thing has ended up looking far more polished and professional than my usual work.

That feels nice, but I would also say it’s less ‘me’ – which rather unfortunately implies that the essential ‘me’ factor is untidiness and a chaotic working process. But never mind that, I shall take a moment to be pleased with myself for following instructions and getting it in two days before deadline.

I can’t share it until it’s published, under the terms of my contract, so I will have to dig out an old picture to accompany this blog post.

Having had so much time to ponder this approach, which is clearly the ‘industry’ way that has been honed through the years for maximum efficiency (and, for the big publishers, to allow teams to work on a strip, with one person doing line and another the colour, a third the lettering, etc) I realise that one advantage is, there’s very little room for everything to be derailed at the last moment.

One thing I always hated about commissions is that period of time between sending off your artwork and hearing back about it: it made me really anxious, probably something that was also born of my own inexperience and the fact that, at that time, my artwork wasn’t actually accomplished enough.

But there’s no room for that here: every step is approved, or requests for corrections are sent through, and you don’t feel silly or like you’ve wasted a load of time going down the wrong route, because adjusting a single step is so much more trivial than if you had sent in the entire finished strip.

I’ve also now been informed that the next call-out for the Nib is live, and as per my plan to keep pitching, I will put in for it. Of course, if I’m successful that will steal still more time from Satin and Tat. Time is always the issue. Thought it’s worth my remembering that they pay, and so there would be some laxity for me to take time off the day job and still be no worse off financially.

I listened to Eleri Harris talking to Dan Berry while colouring this week: Eleri is Deputy Editor at The Nib and was full of good insights. She also made the good point that you can subscribe to the Inkwell, the comic’s subscription program, both to support her and presumably also to provide the funds that pay a whole cohort of comic artists from around the world that they feature in every issue. I’ve been a member for a while and it’s nice to get that chunky magazine through the letterbox every quarter.

The only other piece of comics news I have this week is that through said day job, I found out about an organisation called Artcry, who offer rapid funds to artists responding to events in politics and society. That is, of course, right up my street and my mind did start racing.

The work has to be public and free, and open up dialogue with the audience. I am still pondering.

Published by Myfanwy Tristram

I am an illustrator, situated in Brighton on the south coast of England, and with a special interest in comics and graphic memoir. I also work for a non-profit which encourages people to be active in democracy and to exercise rights such as the right to information through FOIA.

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