Monday, July 13, 2009

dots and grey

I always wanted the Marquis to be a black and white book (with certain spoiler scenes for those who haven't read it, in values of red/orange). For the original series collected in the new Marquis: Inferno I did all the grey tones by hand using Chartpak shading film~ laying the different textures and values down on the actual artwork and scraping off highlights with an xacto or with whiteout. Yeah, it was time consuming and tedious~ and later on it was harder to find the actual tone screens to use.

For the new Marquis stories I learned how to mimic the tone screens in photoshop, something I used to swear I'd never do~ but I was won over by how much time it saved and also it made it easier to change my mind if I didn't like the look of a certain tone screen. In the old days if I wanted to change something, I'd have to peel it off the actual artwork~ and Chartplak didn't give up without a fight and usually took a bit of the inkwork with it!

The Marquis and the Coachman was a good test to see how the digital versions of the tone would match the original Marquis pages~ I did the test panel (above top) and was able to match all the old screens used, but it didn't sit right with me and the artwork seemed dated and off. So at the last minute I decided to start doing the cleaner photoshop greys (above bottom)~ and will go this route for the remaining Marquis books!


  1. Very interesting to see the comparison Guy! I always thought the old zip-a-tone added to the artwork in a textural sense and never considered that it would actually make the artwork look dated. Considering the time period of the book ... is a 'dated' look really bad? LOL ya know what I'm saying? :) Either way, I know I'm going to love this stuff. I'm an old school purist just like you who has sworn that I would never use Photoshop in any process for my original artwork, but slowly, it creeps into your system and takes you over! LOL

  2. Ah yeah!
    I love both the old and the new look. Normally I'm all go for classic filmtones, but the new/updated version has the same good feel as the first one.
    It's great that you handled the digital tone-ing with the same care and detail as the film. That's something I really miss with most digitally colored Comics as a reader - the haptic quality of the look. Mr. Stewarts great work excluded for sure. I'm thrilled to see the artwork on the paper - will it be glossy or a uncoated, natural paper?

  3. Oh, by the way:
    Seeing the COACHMAN step by step post below somehow made me think of the TERMINATOR and ALIENS stories by you. I know those have just been released in the Omnibuses, but a "GUY DAVIS ACTION COLLECTION" from Darkhorse in BW paperback with these two stories would be just great!!

  4. Cool ol'comparison, what proccess do you use digitally? i'd love be be better at digital art! do you still ink traditionally?

  5. Both look great! Could you spend a little bit of time talking about your technique of how to apply tones digitally? I find stuff like that fascinating.

  6. I am not sure if this would be the appropriate venue for something like this, but I have a question about the tone application (I wish I could just edit my first comment to include that, but I did not think of it until now). Could the zip-a-tone sheets be scanned in at a high resolution and then somehow using masks/layers applied to the digitized artwork? I am not asking because I did not like the result of the digital tone application, I did like it, but I was just wondering....

  7. Thanks everyone for the comments! The sense of texture is definitely something I want to carry over to the new way I do the greys. I think what sold me most of the digital route was that I could get a lot more feeling of depth with the backgrounds and also the snow itself.

    Hi Alex~ I actually did the digital version at top the way you mentioned, with scanning in the sheets of tone I had at a high dpi and adding them as layered files and erasing away the highlights before flattening the whole image. Sure thing, I'll make a blog post about applying the digital tones on one of the Midwife pages when I get to that stage.

    Hi Looka~ the Marquis:Inferno will be on the glossy stock, the same paper as the BPRD tpbs! But no plans for a Guy Davis Action Collection ;)


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