Month: July 2009

Page 10 – and I’m taking a break

Well at last, Nighthawks has reached the same page length as the Card Players when I finished it, and it’s about 2/3 rds of the way to completion. I lost steam sometime last week when I felt somewhat bored with the diner as well as the story, but in the past week, the momentum has picked up again. However, there won”t be any more updates for a week – until August, as I will be away in Karlsruhe and won’t have time to devote to Nighthawks, although I may bring along a sketchbook if I run out of other things to do.

I’ve also been looking at Peter Kuper’s books and had a first look at his adaptation of Kafka’s surreal short story, ‘Metamorphosis’. I had admired some of Kuper’s magazine illustrations before realising that he had taken on Antonio Prohias”s work on Spy Vs Spy, a strip that fascinated me when I used to read MAD magazine as an impressionable adolescent. The gags were never that funny but it was something about the stark, black and white drawing that I found compelling – as well as the looser theme of espionage, a subject that has intrigued me since early childhood. When I return from Germany, I will make it a point to search for some of Kuper’s books.

Music to draw to, Glenn Gould playing Brahms’ Intermezzos.

Motivation

It has been a relatively unproductive week. After inking my third page of the Nighthawks, I decided to revamp the dialogue completely and turn it into a letter format, i.e the narrator is writing a letter to his sister Sally. It resolves several problems I had with the unravelling of the plot towards the end, and I have persuaded myself that this is the way to go. I’m still not too satisfied with the rather casual style of drawing and inking I’ve employed  here though. Perhaps this is my most natural style – as opposed to the Card Players – and I’ve never particularly enjoyed drawing backgrounds, and stark, flourescent-lit diner backgrounds are especially difficult to conjure up in one’s mind, especially in an era which one has not personally experienced. Perhaps my next story should be set in a later time period, something more contemporary and familiar. At any rate, I am struggling to finish this story within ten pages, this one might drag closer to twenty, and most of the scenes will be banal diner ones. I hope it will still hold a reader’s attention though…. I have been taking a break from working on this comic, reading Proust – Vol IV and thinking about re-designing the ArtemisDraws website with a bit of Javascript. And I’m up to my 4th page of Nighthawks, and still rewriting the script as I go along.

The diner opens…

The first page of Nighthawks is up. I ended up inking it all yesterday and put it online today. The font I’m using is Sunday Comics BB, downloaded from a free font site. I’m quite pleased with it, it seems to suit this story just as well as the ‘Chronicles of a Hero’ font suited the Card Players. I’ve tweaked the script a bit to fit the drawings. The challenge right now is to limit this story to under twenty pages, and I’m still unsure of which plot to use. Anyway it’s the weekend, and I may not work much further on this for the next day or so.

Nighthawks

This is the second painting which I am weaving a story around. It is quite a predictable choice – Hopper’s paintings, in general, are predictable choices because of their intriguing cast of characters often give rise to the inevitable questions of who and why. I also thought that a rather cliched choice would also make the scene more instantly recognisable, which is one of my primary intentions in making this series of short story comics. So many questions remain; what style to use, whether to use limited colour or to stick to my usual sombre monochromatic palette, and so on. I’m currently scripting the story and it will be longer than the previous Card Players, although I want to draw the line at twenty pages. I do not want it to drag on into one of those interminable projects which I’ll tire of before finishing. The burning question is, can I hold the viewer’s interest for twenty pages if most of the action goes on in the protagonist’s head? The trouble with the sort of comics I like making is that I am more interested in interiority than in external action.

Nighthawks - Edward Hopper

I started sketching out the first page today and inked two of the panels. Sadly, the heat and eyestrain are both conniving to make me abandon this work for the next few days, I do not feel very inspired anyway and just feel very lethargic.

Wikipedia has provided some useful basic information. Edward Hopper’s diner, now demolished, once stood in a place now called Mulry Square, at the intersection of 7th Ave S, Greenwich Ave and West 11th St in New York City. It is easy to take a virtual trip there using Google Streetview, and the sad, vacant lot is presumably where the diner once stood