Thursday, November 12, 2009

Age of Bronze #30 pencils


Here's a penciled page from the issue of Age of Bronze that I'm working on.

Age of Bronze is TM and copyright © 2009 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.

15 comments:

MrGoodson2 said...

Damn. Such amazing draftsmanship. Thanks for posting.
Do you do character sheets for your recurring characters?

Jeff said...

Sweet! Do you shoot photo reference??

Tom Moon said...

Really beautiful drawings Eric, even in their rough state. I would be interested in not only your drawings and sketches, but in hearing about your approach to building dialogue, character and storyline as well.

Please keep posting. It's just the kind of inspiration some of us need.

rickart said...

You've got that right, Tom! This is a spectacular post, and a terrific "behind the scenes" peak into your process.

I'm also interested into the answers to Ellis' and Tom's questions... oh, and Jeff's, too, I suppose... ;)

ericshanower said...

Thanx.

Yes, I do character sheets for almost all the characters. It's the story of the Trojan War, so the cast is immense. You can see that I have to write the names of a lot of the minor characters in the margins. That's so I can remember who they are when I'm inking and doing the costume detail.

I don't shoot photos. I do a lot of posing in the mirror. I'm constantly trying to make sure the characters don't look too much like me.

It's really complicated to talk about writing the project. I'm inserting as little storyline of my own creation as I can, just trying to incorporate all the extant Trojan War-related stories from Homer's Iliad on down. Many different versions of the Trojan War contradict each other, so this makes for some fun work for me, trying to fit them all together and still make sense.

I have tons of notes and outlines. For each issue I consult them and write a more detailed scene by scene outline for the next part of the story. Then I write the script, consulting references along the way. I write all my own dialogue, but sometimes it's heavily based on a previous version. The page here is based on both a scene in Geoffrey Chaucer's peom Troilus and Criseyde and William Shakespeare's play Troilus and Cressida, supplemented by John Dryden's reworking of the Shakespeare play. Of course I had to rewrite the medieval and Renaissance dialogue into a more modern style, but any reader who cares to compare the published comic to the source material would be able to trace a lot of my dialogue to my sources.

It's not always that tight a relationship, though. Sometimes I have to expand one line in a source into a whole scene. Other times the opposite. It varies radically all the time. Keeps it interesting, though.

Tom Moon said...

It's not only a beautiful comic but a very scholarly piece of work as well, sounds like.

Anonymous said...

Looks great Eric. I like the subtle expression of the female in the lower left panel. What pencil do you use? Do you ink onto the art or or ink it onto another sheet.

Tom Carroll said...

Awesome work. I relate most to your discussion of research and writing. I find that quite fun, like fitting together a jigsaw puzzle so it makes sense on the pages when they're done. Great job, and a great explanation.

MrGoodson2 said...

This will be great for College students taking the Greek classics.
How's your fan mail flow? Is a lot of it from the College kids?

ericshanower said...

Pencil: Staedlter F - this has varied quite a lot over the years. I seem to go through cycles of using different pencil softnesses. Also depends on the humidity.

I ink directly onto the paper. I pretty much only draw on Strathmore 2 ply Bristol, vellum surface for a little tooth, 500 series which is 100% cotton so it should last for decades.

I don't know the demographics for the readers of Age of Bronze. I've had feedback from college and university students, but I have no idea whether they're a majority of my readership--don't seem to be, but I really have no idea. I don't get much fan mail any more. Every once in a while the first volume is on a college or university syllabus. What I'm waiting to see is whether Age of Bronze gets into those venues more when I get to my adaptation of Homer's Iliad. Still a few years away from that.

MrGoodson2 said...

I've got the 3 volumes on my Amazon wish list. I'll celebrate my new job, when I get it , by buying them.
Saw on facebook that you're on the NY Times bestseller list. So you could retire if you felt like it. Right?

How many pencil pages do you do before you ink?

ericshanower said...

I pencil 20 pages (generally) before I ink. That's the number of story pages in an issue. I'm still pretty rigid about the old assembly-line system--script-pencil-letter-ink.

rickart said...

So when do you do the cover in that sequence?

Kali Fontecchio said...

Whoa, perspective!

ericshanower said...

I do the cover whenever I can fit it in. No particular schedule, just if the cover needs to be in for Diamond Previews, I've got to make sure I make that deadline.