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Behind the Scenes: Lynch & Lucas « John W. Allie

Behind the Scenes: Lynch & Lucas

In terms of the sheer amount of time spent on each page, Lynch & Lucas is probably the most labor-intensive comic I’ve ever done, so I thought it might be nice to do a quick overview of where all that time went.

The comic’s text comes from this short interview with David Lynch. My first task was to get a transcription that I could work from. First I thought I would have to transcribe it by hand, but then I remembered that YouTube generates a transcript automatically! (Click on the “…” icon and choose “Open transcript”.) It wasn’t perfect but it was more than good enough for my purposes. I printed it out and reworked my script on paper. If you watch the video you’ll notice that I rearranged the order of some of the sentences, but other than that the whole thing is more or less verbatim.

Next I had to figure out how I was going to draw the characters. Drawing likenesses is not one of my strong suits so it took some experimentation to come up with the best way to do it. Generally I just redraw the person over and over again until I hit on a simplification that seems to work. With George Lucas it took a few tries, most of which looked nothing like him at all, before I got a result that seemed usable:
George Lucas sketch process

Note that I also switched to a brush pen before doing the final drawing there. Maybe that helped get a good result; who knows. In any event, I thought that one brush pen drawing ended up being a better likeness of Lucas than most of the appearances in the final comic. Oh well!

David Lynch was next up. Since the comic features both his younger and older likenesses, I had to figure out how to draw both. I started with his current look.

David Lynch sketch process

That final drawing on the page I thought was a pretty good approximation, so I revisited it with the brush pen:
David Lynch brush pen sketch #1

A pretty bad drawing honestly, but it’s all part of the process. On the same sheet of paper I began the laborious process of figuring out how to draw Lynch’s bizarre hair. This was a process in its own right. I adopted a sort of evolutionary model and drew the hair over and over again, each time adjusting my approach slightly to move in the right direction:
Figuring out how to draw Lynch's hair

When I was satisfied that I’d captured the essence of the coiffure, I did another brush pen study:
David Lynch brush pen sketch #2

From here it was a relatively simple matter to figure out how to draw the younger Lynch, whose hairstyle was different but still remarkable in its own right.
Young David Lynch sketch

My initial sketches made the hair a lot rounder, but then I switched to a more abstracted, angular look that I thought worked better graphically. Sometimes a less realistic look is actually more recognizable.

Finally, time to start making a comic! For The Non-Seen my page layouts usually go through a few iterations, but for whatever reason, in this case I was more or less satisfied with the first treatment, so I didn’t do multiple drafts of the layouts for this. Here’s page 2, which we’ll be looking at for the rest of this retrospective:
Lynch & Lucas page 1 thumbnails

Figuring out how to draw George Lucas lying down in his Ferrari was a challenge, as Lynch’s description didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but I think I ultimately worked it out. Here are the rough pencils for the page. Some parts are hard to see, as most of it is done in very light pencil. I use darker pencil to work out areas that seem to need additional definition prior to inking:
Lynch & Lucas rough pencils

Here’s the page after it was inked and lettered, but before I’d done most of the spot blacks and corrections:
Lynch & Lucas finished inks

And here’s the final linework as scanned:
Lynch & Lucas finished linework

At first I tried just diving straight into the color process with pastels, but pastels are labor-intensive and unforgiving, and that first attempt didn’t work out so well. So before doing any more pastels, I worked up color comps on the computer:
Lynch & Lucas color comp

Here are the final pastels (on tracing paper) overlaid on the linework:
Lynch & Lucas pastels

And here’s the scan of the pastels. Note that the color values shift quite a bit as the result of the scan:
Lynch & Lucas pastels scanned

And so we reach the final part of the process, digital adjustments (I exclusively used Krita for the digital work). The two main components of this were dodging and burning and some minor color touch-ups.

Here’s the page without any dodging and burning applied. Mouse over to compare to the final version:
Lynch & Lucas prior to dodge and burn

And here is the image prior to the color adjustments. Again, mouseover to compare the difference:
Lynch & Lucas prior to color touchup

Which brings us, at long last, to the final product:
Lynch & Lucas, page 2, final

And so ends what was supposed to be a quick, fun little project that ended up taking about two months. It was a good experience though! Updates to The Non-Seen will resume soon.

Click here to see the whole comic from the beginning!

Posted on July 7th, 2018. Filed under Artwork, Comics, Process. Tagged as: , ,

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