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  Dithering and the Golden NostrilMay 09, 2013 1:35 AM PDT | url
Added 1 new A* page:Back to my old ways of falling behind schedule as the week goes on, so I've only got one page in today—and I thought this would put me back on track for two tomorrow, but it took me a long time to do because I ended up redoing it. Well I'm just going to cut out the gym tomorrow, so there, I'll still get two done, hah. : P Anyway here was the pre-redo version:
Can you tell what's wrong with it? The eyes and the nose/mouth are facing different directions: the eyes to the left, the nose/mouth straight ahead. This kind of angle shift happens when I spend too much time fussing over individual features; it used to happen to me a lot more than it does now, but now it's more sneaky and subtle and awful. : P So I ended up redrawing just about all of the face except the tip of the nose and the nostril on the right. That nostril was gold!
I keep feeling like I'm always wasting a lot of time during the day, flipping around the internet or whatever, but I dunno, maybe that's necessary; I mean, when I intentionally shut off the time-wasting things I've been doing, I then find myself just inventing new ones instead. So maybe my subconscious is just really resistant to turning each day into a pure drawing grind, and maybe that's for good reason; I do think that you need time to reflect and inspire yourself when working on a primarily creative endeavor; if I didn't take time to look around at other things then maybe I'd just be crunching along with pretty much the same drawing style with which I began A* years ago—then again some might say that would be a good thing!
Ah well. Anyway one thing I've been looking around for is other art drawn in a sort of similar way to how I've ended up drawing a lot of these pencil pages. I can't say I've found anything online that has really struck me in that way, hm wait aside from this Mucha sketch and this illustration from Punch—tried to track down the "EH" artist for that, but the only E.H. I could find listed as an artist in the Punch Magazine wikipedia page didn't look to have that style—but I keep thinking of the linear shading Alex Raymond did in his Flash Gordon, particularly later on. I don't have a great example of it in the book I have to take a photo of, but he also did it from time to time for effect in his later Rip Kirby strip, for instance in the strips in this photo I posted back in December:
I didn't consciously set out to ape that type of shading, but it just seems to come out more attractively for me than cross hatching.
Oh another thing I dithered around with today: dithering! See with all these shading lines, the comic image file sizes can start to creep up higher than I'd like—don't want them to take too long to load for readers to read briskly. I'd been switching some to lossy jpg format instead of lossless 256-color png, but even those jpgs were getting big, plus I noticed in a jpg version of today's page that individual little dots can turn into big blurry blogs in jpg. So for today's page I converted it to a 16-color png instead, which is much smaller in file size than even those blobby jpgs, and quite a bit sharper—very slightly sharper than the 256-color version, but about half the file size.
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