All Good Things… (Part Three)

The final piece for summer.

I have wanted to end the Summer Vacation block with a composition like this for a while now. I always mean to get around to doing more color, and never do, mostly because it’s a huge chore. I like the way this came out, more for her posture and expression than the color, even. There’s a real feeling of a kind of sadness present, which is what I was after.

I also incorporated a bit of the visual process used on the non color, or color tinted material of the summer. To close things out on that retro vibe. I like the way it came out, but given the effort it took, this is going to be one of those “process” pieces, where I show the stages of the piece in progress, as I discuss things related to the process or not, as the case may be. For those you you readers that DON’T like the process art posts, good news…I actually took out stages, to make it more brief.

Even I thought it might be boring to see that kind of evolution over too many steps.

Long after doing all the digital steps, I got the idea of using my graphics editor to make a single image, that would illustrate the process from pencils to final, left to right. Thankfully, I remember that as an idea, and I’ll be doing that in the future.

I actually really liked the unprocessed color image, and that almost became the lead image for the post. It was my real commitment to the visual lexicon of the summer posts that kept me from doing that, but I felt like the unprocessed color image deserved a look:

The difference is one of texture, nothing else.

Some choices had to be made in the color stage. For instance, her “survival jacket” is red, instead of blue. I felt better about how that would look on the page, and felt it was a sort of callback to the uniforms of the Original Series Films. However…that left me the problem of her shirt. I had wanted it to be red, since she has arguably been wearing red all summer. As I approached having to color it…I felt that there was too much red, so I went with switching her to a gold shirt.

That decision was more palatable when I decided on the “mission patch.” In the Original Series, each starship had its own logo, the familiar delta shield/arrow of the show being the “mission patch” for the Enterprise. Instead of the Enterprise logo, she has the stylized Martini Glass logo that was actually inspired by one of the suggestions for the stolen ship’s name. I felt like she would have upgraded her shirt, since she just stole a starship of her own in yesterday’s post.

The jacket was a bit of a hassle to draw, despite looking terrific. It just has a ton of little details on it. I’m trying to decide whether she will be keeping it for a while or not. I call those “creative decisions.” The point of this whole set of paragraphs is mostly to go over those “creative decisions,” as well as explaining some of them. It’s an odd process.

To be honest, I liked the inked image so much, that I almost just stopped there.

The inked image.

I like the inks for their simplicity. I think the pocks that she is standing on are my favorite part…rocks are hard to do because they need to look…well, random. You have a ton of cracks and shadows that need to be there, and it’s just hard to do. In this case, all of the shadows came out great…really uniform in color and pen strokes. Even the shadow of her left leg, in that “Captain Morgan” pose.

Black and white inked art is always pretty elegant in its directness. At this stage, since I try to do one color at a tine, and then do blending, I actually considered a “Sin City” approach, with just one color. Obviously, I didn’t go that route, partially because I think Frank Miller is a tad over rated these days, and did not want to Feed the Beast.

The difference between a pencil sketch and an inked final image is really clear upon inspection of the initial work:

The original pencils.

Obviously, pencils have a softer tone, less bold definition than the inks do. Until you do that kind of side by side yourself, it’s really not as clear how much inking brings to the table. It’s a big deal, and adds a kind of quality that we are used to in the graphic presentation of comics.

Anyway…that’s the final piece for Summer Vacation. The summer has had a lot of action, in terms of the strip, so it seemed just fine to have a quiet moment. I imagine that she has stopped the new (stolen) ship someplace, near an uninhabited planet, or an asteroid, and is taking just a moment…a solitary moment, thinking about what lies ahead. She’s going back to Earth, and the Edu-Mountain, and all of the problems those places have, the kinds of things she’s been trying to ignore all summer.

I’m not sure what she thinks of all that.

Heck…I’m not sure what I think of all that.

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