Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The Cerebus Oversize Project #3: The Six Deadly Sins - "ENVY"

This is the closest I came to achieving the kind of pen-line I wanted to be working in.  Just started inking and got into a "zone" and got all of the pen lines to look pretty much the way they did in my head.  Which almost never happens.  The cobblestones aren't exact (very difficult to do angled cobblestones receding in a natural perspective), but the densities and textures represented by the pen lines are really quite balanced and really quite exact.  

Can I kvetch a little more?  So there I am in my hotel room, first time in California, within shouting distance of the beach, coming into Hour number Three or Four of signing these plates that were supposed to be shipped to me and one of the Schanes Brothers shows up with CAPTAIN VICTORY No.1 by Jack Kirby, hot off the presses.  Pacific Comics' first comic book.  And they're all doing victory laps around my hotel room and now I'm having to not only sign these plates that were supposed to be shipped to me, I'm having to pull and turn them because my portfolio is suddenly WAY down on their list of priorities behind them making comic-book history with CAPTAIN VICTORY No.1. 


Paul Slade said...

Just to add a small kvetch of my own, has anyone noticed the fleeing thief has a right foot on his left leg?

Tony Dunlop said...

Wow. Those stones are almost Gerhard-esque. Very nice. I'm pretty sure I've never seen these plates before.

Dave Sim said...

Paul - yeah, I did that a lot. :)

Tony Dunlop - I think Gerhard would disagree with you. Except in the sense that both inking styles consist of lots of tiny little lines.

Each artist has their own idiosyncratic mental "translation" mechanism, particularly the translation -- or Translation -- of three-dimensional colour realities into pen-and-ink line densities (you'd probably want to capitalize it because what you are starting FROM is so different from what you're translating it INTO). I showed Gerhard a LOT of different guys' work in books in the studio. Not to get him to "draw like this" but to show him examples of "less is more", using white and black as a colours, spotting of blacks. All the "tricks" you need in comic books because you're drawing so many more pictures than an illustrator is.

I've never really republished the plates because they were designed to be oversized at the reproduction stage. They're closer to square than rectangular, so if we ran them in CEREBUS there'd be lots of space at the top and the bottom. The same thing if we'd done them as Bonus Prints.

One of the things I don't know is: do people want to know what the EXACT dimensions of the originals are? That's an individual preference thing as well: some people are going to want them "size as" and some people are going to want them enlarged.

Dave Sim said...

One of the differences in terms of possibility with TCOP is matching the size of the reproduction you do (if you're determined to put them on paper) to the storage space you have available. Instead of having to FIND a space that fits them.

The back of a closet or the bottom of a drawer come to mind. It doesn't give you INSTANTANEOUS access to them, but if you have them in the bottom of a drawer that otherwise just has, let's say, a few sweaters in it, that's PRETTY CLOSE to instantaneously accessible. Then you would just reproduce them to fit the storage you have for them.

It would be pretty easy to build a folder out of corrugated cardboard and duct tape with "clearance" on all four sides.

The only experience that I had with poster-sized pieces was the Frazetta posters they did back in the 1970s. They didn't fit anywhere, so they just ended up rolled up in the back of my closet getting more and more battered. If I'd had the option of printing them out to fit my storage, I'd probably still have them today.

Dave Kopperman said...

What's most impressive about this particular one (apart from the really lush line work and perfectly-placed blacks) is how INSTANT our understanding of the story is, with just one word to guide the reader. If you stop to think about it, the story is fairly complex: Cerebus has robbed someone of a (no doubt precious) objet d'art and is making a frantic getaway when he passes another thief with a much more impressive haul. You don't need to have read a single issue of Cerebus to feel his buyer's remorse - or is that "robber's remorse?"

Not only is this a great illustration with some impressive chops and a fantastic design that directs the viewer's eyes perfectly, it's also top-flight cartooning. It's incredibly rare to find those all in a single drawing.

Okay, rant over.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

While we're kvetching, what's with the canted street? Some municipal engineer better get sacked for that!

-- Damian

Jeff Seiler said...

Gee, Dave, that foot is almost as bad as drawing the wrong ear excised from Cerebus' head!!!

Travis Pelkie said...

For one of the weekly updates, is there any chance you (or Sandeep, or someone) could hold up the originals so we can see how they look? I was just thinking about how I don't really know what original art looks like as an "artifact", a piece of original art.

al roney said...

@Dave - I'd like to know what size the originals are, along with any other info you'd like to share.

Tony again said...

Well, mine is a highly untrained eye...without having any idea what's involved in producing the image, the texture reminds me a lot of especially the earliest Gerhard issues (in the 60s if I recall correctly), and especially in the courtyard where Pope Cerebus terrorizes poor Posey.

Dave Sim said...

Dave K - It's definitely one of those times when your admiration for Sergio Aragones just SOARS! Trying to WRITE a picture that won't have ANY words on it. I had all of this "carpet" to put it on and all of this time to come up with six of them. ENVY. How do you just SHOW envy? Imagine the cartooning chops you need to do all those MAD magazine "marginal thinking" cartoons every month for however many years!

Travis P - Uh, if I REMEMBER on "Friday" -- I'll be recording it tomorrow -- I'll hold up one of the SIX DEADLY SINS plates.

al roney - That's something we'd have to "double back" on and should have anticipated: incorporating the dimensions into the CLICK ON window. Dang. This was supposed to be all done.

Tony - It's POSSIBLE -- Gerhard would definitely have seen the SIX DEADLY SINS originals at 47 King West when he started on the book -- but unlikely, I think.

Dave Sim said...


Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Tony: Gerhard said he was unhappy with those pages -- something like "I'm still drawing bricks; I have to learn to draw a wall." Perhaps he saw the Deadly Sins pages and tried to emulate Dave's style, and hadn't yet become Gerhard in his own right. It's interesting to see not only Dave's cartooning improve as the series progressed, but also Gerhard's drawing.

-- Damian