Friday, November 11

Finishing Spider-Girl

I traced the original foreground and background layers onto one artboard with a lightbox and held my breath for a week, waiting for the mindless mistake that would make me start the final version all over again.

It came more than halfway through the inking. See that tallest building behind Spider-Girl? See the section under her left arm? I inked that full black. It was a flat block of black. As soon as I held the page at arm's length and looked at it, I knew I screwed up. And I had only two options: Start over or salvage in as efficient and clean a manner as I could imagine.

Instead of starting a new artboard, I decided to draw lines in white using acrylic paint. Because it would cover black ink, I knew it wouldn't be as bright a white as the uninked paper. But I could layer that paint, even though it might get bulky. It would accumulate like a stalagmite off the page, and that would be tricky for whatever framing her parents wanted. 

So I put down the lines using my smallest acrylic brush and my beloved rolling ruler, making the lines as slim and straight as possible. When they dried (and they do quickly, even on day-old ink), I used the ruler and my thickest Micron pen on either side of the paint lines to cover it with ink, leaving white lines approximately as thin as the original black lines. That paint takes on a bluish hue over the black ink, but the lines are so small that the slight color helps sell the illusion of distance. I also used the paint to thicken the white border separating Spider-Girl from the background, making her pop forward more.

There are still some things I'd like to change, but I think it came out well. It's clean, and I like the variety and arrangement of the buildings. I think I managed to use her requested spider-pose well. I tilted the background intentionally to balance the pose and create a sense of movement, and I left the space over the buildings blank as a negative-space balance. Had I drawn clouds, I would have reached for my .005 Micron, a pen whose nib could split atoms.

I hope they like it.

And now onto the next piece.

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