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Flying dog: the less publicised early years

Here’s today’s cartoon.

This one presented a lot of challenges. With the basic idea I had to find a way to make Flying Dog a wimp, but it’s hard to do without the idea that people are about to die horribly in a fire. Sarah saw it and said I hadn’t got that across well enough initially and so I got the mouse to say it had called 999. If I’d designed that in earlier it probably would have been better placed on the page.

Compositionally, I think it would have worked better to have the title at the bottom so you’d see the scene, read the words from Flying Dog and the mouse, and then get the title of the scene. I was trying to incorporate it into the picture but I don’t think it really works there – too many things fight for your attention at once.

The final challenge was the technical one of drawing it and making it look right. Check out that perspective on the house! I really struggle with this but it’s getting better. The colouring doesn’t come out terribly well on the scan which is annoying because it’s quite subtle. I erased the background on the speech captions after scanning, but I couldn’t get a similar effect on the title, whereas the original does have a lighter background there to pull out the text. I could probably do with either buying or working out how to mix a more dog colour for the dog. I like dogs in blue, but I think it detracts from the outfit here.

Nib and ink on bristol board with ink wash colouring.

And an added extra:

This was an experiment to see what would happen with nib, ink and markers. The result: smudging. Hmmmm.

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Dog yoga

Here is today’s cartoon. I’ve been trying to learn about nibs and ink and bought a collection to experiment with. I’ve never used nibs like this before and I really enjoyed them.

Yes, I went to yoga today.

Details of the pic: Pencil on Bristol Board (A4). Penciled first and then inked with a couple of nibs. I then coloured it with ink and brush. I had to try some correction stuff with opaque white – it didn’t work very well, but a good lesson to learn.

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Here’s today’s picture.

I did the lettering with a Rotring M nib, the brush bits with the brush pen and used various widths of fine liner for the rest. Coloured with markers.

My brilliant brush pen doesn’t play well with my markers, which is a real shame and leads to some smudging. I probably should have used a different pen for the main lines on the cartoon, but I find it hard to resist the brush pen… I also did this on marker paper, but it would have worked better on bristol board, I think. Bristol board is better for erasing pencil and is just far more robust all round.

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More on the flying dog

I was thinking about a couple of things today. I started on ink techniques and using a brush for outline and colouring. That resulted in this.

My problem is I’m very impatient, so I didn’t let the outline ink dry properly before starting on the colouring. That resulted in the grey bits. I also didn’t think about the lights in the windows in the skyline at first, which is why the ones on the right don’t have any. I think it might have worked well to not have a black line around the moon, also.

After that I did some reading about inking techniques and thought more about the width of the line and using hatching to create shaded areas. That resulted in this.

I did this in pencil first and then used my brush pen for the main sections and a couple of finer pens for the other areas of black. Again, impatience got the better of me and I tried to erase the pencil lines before the ink was dry. That meant the drainpipe went very smudgy and I had to try to rescue it, so it has more happening on it than I’d planned and than I think works. I was trying to work out how to make sure the cat is probably seen in the frame. Partly, it’s ok because it’s well placed in the picture, but mostly I think it’s the lack of anything else in the background to pull the eye that allows it to be seen. Not sure. I tried editing the picture on my computer to reduce the black on the drainpipe. Do you think it’s better?

I think I prefer it with less drainpipe. And here it is with an additional shading layer, which I think makes it better. I initially had the door the same shade as the walls, but when the door in the alley is darker it pulls the eye a bit more and creates more depth in the alley.

I’ve a lot to learn…

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Competitive blue dogs

These are my favourite sorts of dogs to draw right now. The one on the right is drawn using a Pentel brush pen, which is just lovely, and then coloured in with a Copic marker. The one on the left is drawn with a Rotring artPen, which is what I used for the cats earlier in the week but doesn’t work so well with solid colour here. It’s coloured in with a Tria marker. I like the Tria markers, but they have a design flaw which means some of them dry out. As such, I’ve been considering moving to Copic. Blue is the natural colour for my dogs.

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Experiments with watercolour (and using up an old pad)

Here are today’s dogs. I had an old pad to use up, which led to some annoying results with some smudging. I also had a look at a cartoon book about how to draw dogs, and tried to put that into practice.