Friday Fixup: PXD

Ok, art on this friday fixup is by a chap whose name is PXD (or Pete).

My general (unasked for) advice on names is this: use your real name, because whatever funny name you come up with now – before you’ve a published history WILL become your name.

My real name is Paul Holden. For publishing purposes (and because I was working with a guy called Paul Holmes who couldn’t quite grasp there were two Paul’s in the store I worked in) I started using my middle initial “J” (for Jason) for publishing, this was fine, real world, home: Paul. Online, publishing: PJ (actually my first published work is under Paul J Holden, PJ Holden scans better)

But then those world’s meet and suddenly every day you’re going “Yeah, PJ is fine. Or Paul, or Jason, or Peej. Honestly, I don’t mind”.

Frank Quitely’s name started as a joke, but of course, that’s how Vincent is no known.

These choices you make when you’re first starting out end up sticking with you for a long, long time.

(I say this because I had to check around to see what Pete’s surname was, but he seems to go by PXD too, so sorry Pete – hope I’ve credited you correctly!)

Ok, on to the art!

Pete’s page to the left, my edit to the right.

I’m not gonna talk about the lettering, but I will link to these, please go read ’em!

Ok, on to notes.

Panel 1:

Let’s stop being so shy, good big close up of our car, frames the house nicely and makes the entire thing a little more ominous. You’re always trying to fool the eye into thinking a 2d flat rectangle is a window into a 3d world, so anything that can add depth really helps that – close things look big BUT the reverse is also true : big things look close – so make something big and something small and it really gives us depth. And really push it – push it so far it breaks, then pull it back so it’s not broken but still a big contrast.

Panel 2: How wide is that door? That’s a wide door! I moved the door in a bit, added a little shadow behind the back of the door (helps frame it up a bit more) and added a little bit of texture to the unadorned wall.

Panel 3

I tried and tried to make this panel work as a straight on but it always felt odd, and the reason is she’s talking to the dude at the door, she’s facing the dude at the door, and suddenly we’re staring straight at her, from his pov – but it didn’t feel right at all, felt like we should still be observing this as a third person – so just came in nice and close to her face and repencilled her. I appreciate this is an older lady, but I think you’ve got a lot of lines on her face which are really unnecessary (I’m often guilty of this) Here’s your drawing of her face cleaned up, still older but prettier, I think. I also shrank her eyes – now you can argue this is a taste thing, but I think on your characters I’m seeing lots of eyes that are just a smidgen too large. For years and years I struggled with drawing eyes – how can you draw everything you want in an eye in the tiny space of where the eye is? IMPOSSIBLE. Couldn’t figure out how artists like Adam Hughes could draw these incredibly beautiful eyes (still can’t, if I’m honest) while I kept drawing eyes that insisted every eyelash, every wrinkle, every light red vein in an eyeball is seen. Draw less, I think is the answer. Make the lines you do draw do more.



Panel 4:

Mild perspective inside rooms are my kryptonite, I really struggle with them. (So did Mignola til that clever bastard figured out you don’t need to do it).

So what I did was a constructed a very simple version of the room in sketchup – took literally 2 minutes, dropped some figures rotated the camera until I got it more or less as it should be and then edited it based on that. I think the real problem is when you’re doing this kind of indoor perspective shot is you want to make it easy so the vanishing points end up very close together, and overlap (where the object in front hides part of the object behind) is a real pain (cus you’ve still got to figure out where the stuff is and then you don’t even draw it – it’s a blorping nightmare) so let us resolve this together – let us from now on map a very simple room (this sketchup room? two walls, a floor, no ceiling and a a simple bed that I duplicated) in sketchup and use that as the basis (you can print out a sketchup model and use that to trace over, you can export-import the 3d into clip studio to digitally trace over or you could just build the model and play with it so you get a sense of what a box room perspective looks like and then just draw it)

Pete linked me a second page, which I’ll not have time to add notes to except this: draw backgrounds! By forcing a black panel border you’ve taken away the ability to leave a panel borderless (and borderless panels also mean you can get away without background!) so you’re sort of going to have to give every panel a background (oops!) Not to worry, 90% of backgrounds are really shorthand reminders to the reader of where the location is – set in a library? then a wall of books will do. Set in a garden? a nice bit of frilly linework that looks enough like a hedge to pass will do. Cheat. I’m saying cheat. But don’t skip it.


Anyway, apologies PXD I feel like I’ve been unduly harsh,  of course, all of this is subjective and the advice skews heavily to my taste in things, so you are free of course, to tell me to stick it up my blorp.