Talking WIth Yale Cohn is a show I taped the other day with my good friend Yale. He’s done a local show for years, and I welcome any time I get a chance to talk about comics. For some reason I forget how old I am until I see myself on camera. Maybe Grecian Formula is in my future…
These past few months I have been working on a very ambitious project, a long graphic novel called The Fabulous Flocks. It’s based on the true story of three Georgia brothers who get their start as moonshiners, risking their lives driving loads of illegal homemade whiskey between rural stills and Atlanta in souped-up Fords. Their passion for cars and love of speed naturally evolves into auto racing, and it’s on the red mud tracks of Georgia and the packed sand of Daytona that the racing becomes serious. Soon, these three brothers are embroiled in intense rivalry with each other and the world at large as they strive to be the best in the world. The story is fraught with tragedy, excitement and romance as the brothers grow older and wiser in the dangerous new sport that takes America by storm.
I am loving drawing and writing this novel and am pouring my entire heart into it. I have always loved drawing the 1930s and 40s, especially the cars of that era. The novel is full color and is drawn principally in digital format, although I have done some pen and ink for it as well. The first chapter will be available for free download on its own site soon. I am averaging about a chapter a month, so I hope to be finished by the end of this year.
This appeared in the January Little Village Magazine in Iowa City. You can see the whole issue here
One of the conundrums I have faced is the problem of retaining the quality I get when drawing comics by hand (and the fun, for that matter; hand-drawing gives me an emotional release that I just don’t get using a tablet) and the convenience and ease of editing I get from digital creation. I recently picked up a scanner that can handle 11 x 17 panels, so I have been experimenting with some different techniques. I am working a new comic about three Georgia brothers who start as bootleg drivers and wind up as NASCAR racers in its early days, so there are a lot of really exciting and challenging things that are going to some up. I want to draw this in a detailed pen-and-ink style but with washes of color for mood and tone. It’s going to be different than anything I have done before and requires a melding of the two mediums.
For this panel, I started by drawing on bristol from photographic reference. I then scanned the drawing in, knocking out the background white so that only the black lines remained. I then did a Bob Ross-style stippling in Photoshop to add a watercolor texture and some depth. I then added another layer for the wash color and used the burn tool to create shadows on the building, etc. When I add the characters on a another layer it will allow me to reuse the same backgrounds rather than needing to redraw them in every panel. Initially, there will be a lot of work, but in the end it should go pretty quickly. I’ll be putting examples up as I get them done.