The Hewll


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

(Sing to Denim and Leather)
Markers and Pencils, brought us all together! It was you that set the spirit free!

Okay so it doesn’t rhyme that well. Still, the idea is there. With all the full-color printing and web publishing out there I’d think there would be more full-color comics made these days with just color markers and pencils. When Deadline went full color in the early ’90s, it was amazing to watch Jamie Hewlett just go bananas with the color art. He utilized every tool in the box to create art on a board (check out the crop lines on the image second from the top). It’s funny how this fresh approach is sort of out-dated in the current Photoshop era. Anyways. Go to the art store you lazy bastards, buy a new set of markers and a lay-out pad and turn off the computer.

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21 Responses to “The Hewll”
  1. JTM says:

    Does this stuff read? I just scored a Dark Horse TANK GIRL for 25ยข and the thing was unreadable, beautiful but unreadable. Nice chicken fat but there was no flow.

  2. Frank Santoro says:

    well, yah, but who cares…

  3. looka says:

    HAW! His stuff makes me laugh like back in the old days – so AWESOME!

    Funny you should mention these, there is another one on Rufus Dayglo’s Blog:

    Also makes me think of Simon Bisleys Dredd work from back then. Not quite marker, I know, but all crazy color on his, urm, looser pen and brush stuff.

    Besides: I ain’t computerin’!

  4. Anonymous says:

    so good.

  5. Frank Santoro says:

    yah, yah, I know, Tank Girl’s are impossible to read in spots but Hewlett just looks like he’s having so much fun that I don’t mind.

    There”s a series that ran in Deadline called Fireball 500 that was unbelievably beautiful and vulgar and over-saturated with color. Like Hanna-Barbera’s Wacky Races on acid. Didn’t make a lick of sense but, man, was it pretty to look at…

  6. caligulaa says:

    hey Frank, I usually am tempted to agree with you, but I’m also wondering why you seem to get angry at certain things. I can understand you getting mad at Photoshop, but I think it would be interesting to hear you really articulate why, because though I could be totally wrong (you may have said this before, but I dont recall it and want to know) I wanna know exactly why…And why Jamie Hewlett using markers somehow makes him more respectable.
    Now, obviously, if you were to argue from the perspective that Photoshop is marginalizing the creative application of color into a boring, everyone-does-it-this-way manner, I would agree…But who really uses Photoshop poorly? IMO somone who knows how to use color can do it by hand (gouache, watercolor) and that will translate just as clearly into using and applicating color in photoshop, and maybe it’s because I don’t see as much bad comic work as I do good, but I don’t see anyone who colors their comics in photoshop and think “wow, they should have watercolored this…”

    I dont think I’m being exactly articulate.
    a) why do you feel Photoshop is so bad?
    b) what do you consider a good understanding of color?
    c) and if the work (in terms of colorr) somone makes is good then what is wrong with how they choose to apply color? (I mean, Jamie Hewlitt+markers may be good but why does that somehow make him better than like Nick Bertozzi’s photoshopped dualtones of The Salon?) I personally dont think anyone who screenprints a comic knows anymore about color than somone who photoshops. Now, if it’s about ‘the hand’, well, then I suppose these questions dont really matter.

  7. Frank Santoro says:

    you’re kidding, right?

  8. caligulaa says:

    also, for the record, I dont think you’re condemning all uses of photoshop or something, but you seem to really bring the hammer down on it more than other things.

  9. Frank Santoro says:

    I know you’re not kidding. The short answer is “the hand”. And beyond that I’m not interested in making you understand why I have particular tastes. That’s “valuation”…you said “respectable”. I didn’t use that word. I simply wondered aloud why there are not more “hand colored” comics.

  10. caligulaa says:

    “t’s funny how this fresh approach is sort of out-dated in the current Photoshop era. Anyways. Go to the art store you lazy bastards, buy a new set of markers and a lay-out pad and turn off the computer.”

    I donno, it just seems like you think one approach is better, rather than just personally enjoying the look of the hand. I guess what Im trying to get at is that if somone knows how to use color then I think itll show no matter what media.

  11. Frank Santoro says:

    well said.

  12. Frank Santoro says:

    okay, wait, I got it. I do place value on good coloring. How it’s done interests me. I think, for example, Kyle Baker’s coloring on the computer is exquisite. Do I wish he did it all by hand? No.

    I really like Ghost World’s colors. I think it’s really interesting that Clowes used rubylith for his separations. I think I value that choice more. As a cartoonist, artist, who grew up in the pre-photoshop era I can appreciate the effort. I also know with that choice come certain laws. A certain craft. An ability. With Photoshop, the playing field is level’d. There are new and interesting choices. Choices that provide for a broader color essentially. But, it’s like watching a basketball game on tv instead of in person, or something like that, y’know?

    For me, I’m just still playing around with markers and separations, tho. Those are still interesting choices for me. Photoshop makes my work harder, in my opinion. Believe me, I’ve TRIED to make coloring Cold Heat easier. Ask Jon Vermilyea. Things take longer but I get the effect I WANT. Not one I’m just satisfied with. That’s all personal taste so it’s dicey. I like saying “this is better” because to me it is better. I dismiss Photoshop as a choice for me. And I’ve met enough people who are clueless about the history of color printing that I get “sensitive” when folks try and “convince’ me that “it’s not Photoshop, it’s the colorist”…yah, I KNOW. Kevin Nowlan explained that to me years ago.

    I still think the “old” coloring systems are better. I think most color comics today look like crap, honestly. Is that Photoshop’s fault? I dunno. And I don’t really care all that much except when someone fucks up a reprint of some artist I like or something. You’re right that good coloring will come through but the choices are still limited to what the computer can do… which is there’s nothing it can’t do, which is TOO MANY choices! haha. Thats why rubies are so cool cuz it’s the limitation that shapes the work and makes it beautiful. But that’s me. I’m showing my age. I don’t even really like it when Jim Rugg imitates old comic book coloring. I like his choices but it still looks “off’ to me. If he made all those seps by hand it would inherently look different and I think better. There are simply different choices being made with hand seps or hand coloring.

    Like I said, I love Kyle Baker on Photoshop and he even told me “Get good on Photoshop”, so, I know, I’m gonna figure it out someday and I’ll probably change my tune but until then, I’m still going to marvel more at Jamie Hewlett coloring his drawing with a set of Berol Prismacolor more than I am someone messing around with some filters. One’s hard Bop, one’s hard Pop.

  13. caligulaa says:

    ok. thanks a ton, Frank. I now feel less embarassed about what I think may have sounded long whinded and dumb. I understand it really all comes down to taste and etc but I just hear you bring up certain things in like the Inkstuds interviews and I just want to wrap my head around them better…Most cartoonists would never even get this indepth about their process and I am always interested to just get slices of more information. again, thanks for humoring me.

  14. Frank Santoro says:

    it’s cool. thanks for challenging me without sparking my, uh, anger on the subject. it’s good for me to think about all this stuff and have to articulate it…

  15. knut says:

    Frank, hand colored or hand cut? If you could only have one?

  16. Frank Santoro says:

    hand cut, actually.

  17. knut says:


    Isn’t it a crying shame that it has become nearly a lost art? I mean, with mainstream comics you have this particular aesthetic that has been in place for about 50 years and in a short amount of time in rapidly disintegrates.

    Comics don’t look anything like comics anymore! I definitely think that many of today’s alternative comics speaks to that aesthetic. It’s certainly one of the major factors that gravitates me towards them.

    Yuichi Yokoyama feels a lot more like Dave Cockrum than Steve McNiven does. It’s a bizarre actuality if you think about it.

  18. Frank Santoro says:

    with “cut” seps you could still do textures… full color “hand” color can be too much if there isn’t flat, cut color to balance it out.

  19. Frank Santoro says:

    No one’s gonna comment about SAXON?

    You’re all a bunch of pussies.

  20. caligulaa says:

    oh, frank (donno if this will get noticed), I was in a school library here and was reading some of the Fantastic Four reprints- I can’t find a picture online-and I get what you’re saying. Oh, I think it was also a reprint of Kirby’s New Gods or something I was reading too. I was really psyched about the books when I picked them up because they had some sweet pictures that were from the original newspapers on the inside covers and stuff (like the recent big Kirby book) but the coloring in this is really agonizing. I’m not sure if they did it in Photoshop or whatever, but seeing a badass blown up version of an original newsprint version of The Thing next to the lifeless, cold flat orange version on the page next to it was awful. I felt like I was reading an entirely different story than if I had the originals, and that a whole dynamic aspect had been removed.

    I still think it’s up to the colorist, I just think this is a good example of what you were getting at though.

  21. Pajamahouse says:

    I only have maybe 1 or 2 of the Fireball segments. I would love to check the rest out in any form at this point. They were really great.

    I really wish I bought Deadline more consistently back then.

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