Each day of the Fringe 365 Project is usually a stand-alone picture, but for days 69-71, I decided to finally take some time out to deal with a pressing matter: how to keep focused on a single style in multiple takes on the same scene.
Last summer, I foolishly embarked on a Fringe webcomic without having really given much thought to style. I had the whole story planned out, but I hadn’t given much thought to how it was going to be drawn. Mercifully, the 5th season of Fringe finally showed up and shut the door on the story I’d been planning (not that I had the time management part down either).
When doing sequential art, it’s really important that everything look coherent and unified. You also want the visual style to be right for the story you’re telling… and you also have to be able to live with it for as long as it takes to tell your story.
For these panels, I tried hard to pay attention to making clean lines first (I said, “tried”). The rough drawings were done in Procreate; frankensteined together in Sketchbook Pro; then transferred to Sketchbook Ink for what I euphemistically refer to as “inking” but is really just tracing. Then it was back to Procreate for grayscale shading, with the coloring to be decided on.
In thinking about how I might want to draw the Alternate Universe, I thought back to a picture I did back in the first month of the Fringe 365 project that I rather liked. This one consisted of a simple line drawing with minimal shading and flat color, with a bit of painting in the background, and the Lenslight app came in handy for some extra lighting:
I had also been reading Shawn Martinbrough’s How to Draw Noir Comics (which inspired this drawing of David Robert Jones), and the same week as 69-71, I did a picture of Walternate in his office accompanied by a quote from the episode “Worlds Apart,” one of my favorites. That picture was intended to be black and white only, but I was curious to see what Lenslight could do for it. The result gave me more ideas about how to combine black and white (not strictly “noir,” but sort of noir-ish) with gradients of color.
All of the color in the 69-71 panels shown above, then, is created largely with Lenslight renders, with only a small amount of coloring done in Procreate (faces and clothing). This is not “noir” at all, which isn’t appropriate for the “rainbow” theme, but I like the idea of keeping the colors dreamy and the shadows strong, so more experiments will be forthcoming.
I like this style, it’s not time-consuming, and if it does happen that I do an Altverse web comic (and I have some fun ideas for a storyline – think “Fringe meets The West Wing”), I may very well use it.