Saturday, May 08, 2010

Dino Spread Saturday

Spending a quiet, snowy May Saturday working on a big project I've been putting off for months. This is (or soon will be) a big 2-page spread of dinosauria for our upcoming graphic novel, Evolution: A History of Life on Earth.

I've been dreading this page just because it seemed so daunting -- 95 unique species will be represented* -- but now that I've started I don't want to stop. Even with 8+ hours of the NPR fund drive in the background it's turning out to be a pretty fun day.

Here's the whole page, for scale. The sheet is 19x24" and I'll probably push the inks to the edge just so I have more flexibility when cropping the picture later.

Whereas the rest of the book is being inked with Pentel Pocket Brush Pens on thin copy paper, I'm going back to my roots with this drawing: good ol' Windsor Newton Series 7 #1 with india ink on bristol. I haven't done a dip brush in a while and it feels great. The brush itself seems thin beyond belief, and the old anxieties about knocking over the water cup or letting the bristles dry out are coming back, but it's worth it for the thin, non-feathery lines that the brush delivers.

That's all I'm going to show for now. But trust me, we'll be posting much much more about Evolution once we get closer to the publication date.

* It's not too late -- if you have a favorite dinosaur that you want to see in the spread, let me know in the comments section!


Anonymous said...

That's wonderful, Kevin. Can't wait to see it! As for a favorite dino---there was one in THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK (the book, not the movie) that was essentially a giant(er) T-Rex that could mimic it's surrounding and was more or less invisible. I'm sure you can work that in there somewhere.

Kevin Cannon said...

Hmm... I've already got a giant T-Rex in there. How about Jeff Goldblum instead?

Anonymous said...

This is really cool work. I am fascinated on what you normally use. I am impressed with your linework but I thought it was a pen or nib. Do you actually use cheap brushes and use them as pens sometimes? Why and when? Can you post more about that and in what cases (or at what point) you would choose that instead of W&N series 7?

Kevin Cannon said...

Thanks, Max. We use brush pens most of the time for two main reasons. First is that we can cap them easily and don't have to wash them out. When using a W&N (or any standard brush) you have to really commit to a long inking session. But Z and I are always juggling so many different things that it's nice to be able to use the brush pen for five minutes and then go and do something else without worrying about drying out the brush hairs. The second reason we primarily use brush pens is that there's a real limit to how much detail you can get with them. That sounds counter-intuitive, but it helps in keeping us from drawing too many fine details that will just end up getting lost when the art shrinks. For instance, a lot of the details in this dino spread will be lost in reproduction, but I want the original to look nice, hence the use of the W&N ... On another note, we use the brush pens on a certain kind of xerox commercial laser paper because the ink dries immediately. We've tried using brush pens on bristol, but the dry time is so long that we end up smudging the art constantly. ... As to your pen/nib question, we don't use nibs but we do use micron #.01 for fine detail work. ... You're right, this topic deserves its own post!

Anonymous said...

I know you have a T-Rex, but I was more hoping for an invisible one. It's SCIENCE, dammit!

Chris P said...

looking wonderful so far!
can't wait to see how it turns out.
awesome post as well about the brushes and pen nibs.

Kevin Cannon said...

Thanks, Chris! Deinonychus has been added to the list.

mrmonkey23 said...

Fantastic! Esther would find it a terrible omission if there was no ornithocherius, THE KING OF THE SKY.