Wednesday 19 September 2012

What to expect...

 This is the first of a couple of blogs I'll do about what you can expect from the second Volume of Don Quixote. First of all there's the cover (above) which is dark. Doug from SelfmadeHero hates this cover because he says it's hard to sell black or white covers. In future I'll try to make his job easier (see the cover to the US Complete Quixote at the bottom of this post)

Why did I do that cover? Well, I'm a storyteller not a designer or marketing man and so I can't help but think about covers as symbolising  something about the book itself. In this case the relationship between  Quixote and the world is summed up pretty well: he is connected to the real world, tenuously, by the rope and he is making a leap of faith into the unknown that is idiotic and courageous in equal measure. When I drew it it reminded me of those images of spacemen in orbit that always look like embryonic babies, all very 2001 (The Kubrick version not the 9/11 Kylie Minogue version). That babies/death/infinity thing is the way to sell a funny book I decided.

In Volume Two Quixote looks much the same. He had to. In comics we rely on a recognisable silhouette (or distinctive features or colouring) because like letter recognition to a child it is essential for reading. Comics are there to be read, comics where you spend ages working out what's going on in the lovely intricate pictures and wondering who is who are never a smooth read.

Here are those silhouettes at work, a couple of scribbles setting off on another adventure. Yes, once again this book is about those two idiots riding their useless mounts along dusty roads in the baking sun.

The difference here is that things are a bit darker. The book ends in death. He pops up throughout the book like signposts, or omens or whatever.

Darker book. Darker cover. And as with any book about death... hilarity ensues.

There are campfires in Volume Two. They were very popular in Volume One and setting aside their primal significance in the art of storytelling  they allow me to draw some shadows.
I like drawing shadows. But when I started drawing Quixote I knew I'd be colouring it as well, so made a decision to draw the lines and use two or three tone flat colour for the shadows. It's better for me to be able to draw for the colour rather than use the colour as some kind of fanciness that I frilly the picture up with after it's done.

Couple of splashes of sunlight on a swarthy face tells us so much. Alas there are moments in Volume Two where the colour goes a bit hallucinatory. The symbolism of having Quixote fight this chap (pictured below) is as mind-boggling as his suit of armour suggests.

But generally I still try to keep the colour simple, picking out the shapes the reader needs to identify at speed and bringing a temperature and hue that reflects the time of day or mood or whatever.

 So, plenty of fun and japes (and death) to come in Volume Two, plus Lions and Weddings and puppet shows, spanked arses, cat scratches and caves. Deep dark caves.

More on what to expect from Volume Two in the next blog post, but for now here's that dark cover to The Complete Don Quixote which will be released in the US next may through Abrams. Link to the SMH catalogue here:

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