Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Eddie on the zip 

Eddie Campbell is blogging about screen tones. I've had a love/hate relationship with the stuff for years. While the traditional Wally Wood approach to zip never seemed a good match for my line, I've always adored what Eddie has done with those little dots. Guy Davis's "Baker Street" and Doug Wildey's work were inspirational too. When I started Whiteout, screen tones enabled me to get, as Eddie says, light, air and atmosphere into my art, and was particularly suited to communicating the dry, stinging air of Antarctica, where old snow is constantly blowing around. They also brought some of the tonal richness of charcoal drawing to my comics page in a way that still had the crispness of a comic. For the first time, I had comics pages that looked like my scketchbooks. I loved the tonal variations I could get by scraping at it with a knife or buzzing it with an electric eraser. Then again, for two years, I went to bed every night with little slivers of the stuff sticking to me. The stuff got everywhere. I'd find bits of zip-a-tone stuck to the cat's face, floating in in my Cheerios, in my wife's hairbrush, in the lint trap in the laundry- everywhere.

In a month or so I'm going to finally get started on the third Whiteout book, and I can't wait to start playing with screen tones again. This time, I'm going to be doing the tones digitally and no since I'll no longer be restricted to the shapes I can get with an x-acto knife, I'll be able to really get "painterly" with them.

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